Still no snow so far this winter, instead January started pretty much the same way that December ended, with grey, wet and miserable conditions, typical East Lancashire weather in other words. During my first visit of the month on Sunday 6th of January the services were running on a 'Blue' Timetable, which meant that there was a spare path in the morning and afternoon, but as the Dining Trains don't start running until later in the month, that meant that there were a couple of long gaps to fill, which I did by having a wander around the area, and photographing some old relics from the former Fallbarn Signal Box on the old Bacup Line, which was closed during the Beeching/Marple desecration of our railways in the 1960s. Locos in service that day were visiting GWR Tank engine 4270, and the DMU 104, but, as I failed to get a shot of this powerful little loco hauling the Santa Specials past Duckworth Lane back in December, I decided to squelch my way down there and try and get a shot of it arriving in there in the murk and drizzle.
With nothing much else going on at this time of the year it was back to the ELR again on Sunday 14th of January, but the big attraction this time was the return of one of Ian Riley's overwintering Black 5s '44871', which is usually out on railtour duties. Normally this puts in an appearance or two on the Santa Specials, but didn't this time, so it was good to have it out hauling the steam diagram on the service trains. The DUM's had also been changed as well from the previous week, with DMU 104 joined by DMU 122 this time. The weather was well and truly of the East Lancashire variety once again, and was even greyer, wetter and more miserable than it was the previous weekend. Not that I'm complaining of course, and as per usual I was as happy as a Sus scrofa domesticus in excrement at having such wonderful crap weather to play in! :-)