Home / Railway Gallery / Standard Gauge Heritage Railways / East Lancashire Railway / ELR 2018 / Non-event visits to the ELR in July 2018 [70]


With my services required elsewhere on the second weekend in July, I decided to pay a quick visit to the ELR on Friday the 13th, for no other reason that to get a shot of a diesel loco hauling the Dining Train, which is something I'd only ever seen once before. The reason for this was the steam ban that had been in force that week due to the high fire risk in this area (who would ever have thought that would happen in the normally rainy East Lancashire?). The railway had announced that due to some overnight rain they would be attempting to run steam again from the following day, so it was the only chance I would get to do this unless the heatwave continued and the ban was re-implemented once again. The loco hauling the Dining Train was Class 40 'Atlantic Conveyor' 40106, which would have been well worth going to see anyway.

I visited again on Friday 20th of July, mainly because the forecast said that we would have a drop of rain that day, and considering just how little of it I've seen in the past 3 months I wasn't going to miss that opportunity. There was no Dining Train on this day, so instead the little GWR 813 was hauling the service train, while Witherslack Hall was taking a Footplate Experience ride.

Another quick visit on Sunday 22nd of July, this time Witherslack Hall was pulling the Dining Train and 37109 was on the Diesel diagram.

A short visit as I was passing through on Saturday 28th of July some some spots of rain at last, but typically, it was only after I'd left that the heavens really opened and I ended up missing out on a nasty thunderstorm.

Back again on Sunday 29th of July for what would probably be the last of my many visits this month, and conditions couldn't have been more different, with the awful heat and blistering Sun having been replaced with something that looked more like the normal default East Lancashire weather. What a pleasant change, I was at last able to have another good long walk down the line and even take a few shots from the middle of the swamp near the bypass - just like the old days!:-) The only downside was the Dining Train, which caught me out by being hauled by the recently returned 'City of Wells', which unusually was facing south rather than the more usual north. Oh well, at least it gave me a chance to photograph it from an angle that was never possible before. The day ended with my favourite conditions - a sunshine shower, these always give a mixture of a bright front end and a dramatic sky, and when they do occur I always like to take advantage of them. One good bit of news though, my boots were sufficiently soaked enough to stop them creaking as they did throughout the drought and heatwave, they were fairly driving me up the wall. Never in all my years of hiking have I ever had a pair of boots that were so dried out that they did this, well this is rainy East Lancashire after all, and such things are very rare here - what a strange year this has been, especially for us 'Crap Weather Photographers'!:-)

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