RECENT UPDATE NOTIFICATIONS:


I usually post out update notifications to registered users whenever this site is updated, but once these are done there is no record of just what I had posted, so I thought an additional page recording the previous ones might be in order, and here it is at long last. I will no doubt be tinkering around with it and fine tuning it in the coming weeks, but at least it's a start.


SUNDAY 9TH OF AUGUST 2020:

Well after nearly 5 months of lockdown misery and without a whiff of steam in all that time, I was finally able to make a return visit to the East Lancashire Railway on Sunday 9th of August 2020, as services had at last been allowed to resume (a week later than planned) on the previous day. Although trains were running the service is still restricted at the moment to just three runs a day, with steam loco Standard 4 '80097' handling the route from Bury to Rawtenstall, and a DMU running between Heywood and Bury. Still, I'm not complaining and it's fully understandable that things have to be taken slowly at first to see how they work out, and after so long without seeing any trains at all, I didn't even mind that the day was fine and sunny. Hopefully I will be back again next week, and this time I might even take a ride on one of the services:
To view the images taken during my long awaited return visit to the East Lancashire Railway in August 2020 click HERE:



SATURDAY 1ST OF AUGUST 2020:

Well today I should have been celebrating the fact that the ELR had just reopened again, though with just a limited service, but after nearly four and a half months without a whiff of steam or diesel, I was more than happy with that, but sadly, and in spite of Rossendale having one of the lowest Covid infection rates in the area, we are being restricted again along with many other areas, and I will have to wait at least another week now I'm sad to say!:-( Well at least I have been continuing with my daily walks, but there are only so many wild horses, calves, wind turbines and landscape scenes that you can photograph without repeating yourself, and I'm badly in need of a return to steam trains and diesel locos once again. I have added my latest images to the 'Alan's Lockdown Walks in July 2020' gallery, which can be reached via the link below, and it looks like these will be continuing for some time to come. The one highlight of the month was managing to catch a shot of Comet Neowise, though this proved somewhat challenging, mainly due to the awful weather, which meant that I couldn't even see the sky, let alone the comet until Monday 20th of July, buy which time it had dimmed quite a bit and required a long exposure. I'm not complaining though, at least I did manage to get a few shots of it, just as well as I doubt I will still be around when it next appears in 6,800 years time:
To view the images taken during my 'Lockdown Walks' in July 2020 click HERE:



SATURDAY 27TH OF JUNE 2020:

Still no railway action as yet, though I did succeed in getting some shots of two freight trains and a passenger train passing through Rochdale by using my very large (and heavy) 500mm lens from the top of a local hill - some 3 miles away, now that is a bit desperate I admit, but I was just keen to see if it was at least possible to do this. Since the daylight hours are quite long at this time of the year I have been making almost daily 'exercise' walks up to the local hilltop, and I can honestly say that I'm probably fitter now than I have been in years, and certainly almost back to the level of fitness I had before I suffered a nasty back injury that had limited my walking activities for quite a few years. Since I was feeling so good, on Monday 22nd of June I decided to make a long overdue visit to the Crook Hill Wind Farm which straddles the Lancashire/Yorkshire border and is about 4 miles from here.

The walk went by a fairly circuitous route which took in no less than 11 hills, and the return route was made using the Rossendale Way, The Rochdale Way, The Pennine Bridleway, and the Long Causeway Pack Horse Trail. In total this was around 10 miles, and whilst the walking itself was no problem, taking all of my camera gear with me did make things a bit more challenging, and walking up steep hills with all that lot on your back certainly gives you a good cardio workout. My main reason for tackling it at that time was to find out what the two mobile cranes were doing at one of the non-working turbines (sadly one had departed by the time I got there, but heading up there on the previous days had been impossible due to the threat of thunderstorms in the area). It was very windy up on Crook Hill (which is no doubt why they built it there), but this prevented me from using my tripod to get some 'motion' shots of the blades, and using my 500mm lens was not possible as changing lenses in that wind would have risked getting dust in my sensor. In spite of all that the entire walk was very enjoyable, and I of course did a photo documentary of my day out, and you can find the link to this below. As I've been making almost daily walks I decided to lump all of these into one gallery called 'Alan's Lockdown Walks', and the link to this is also shown below. Hopefully the ELR will reopen sometime in July and it will be great to get back to some rail and bus action once again.
To view the images taken during my 'Lockdown Walks' in June 2020 click HERE:, and to check out my visit to the Crook Hill Wind Farm click HERE:



SUNDAY 17TH OF MAY 2020:

Two months on, probably the longest I've ever gone without photographing a train or a bus, and it's starting to affect my mental health I think, as I carted my giant 600mm lens (Big Bertha) up to the top of one of the local hills in the hope of getting a shot of a train passing through Rochdale some 2 miles away. It would have worked too, the only downside was that it's always a bit breezy up in the high spots, and when you are using a very long lens you do need it to stay still and not shake about if you want to get a usable picture, but rest assured, on the first really calm day we get I will be back up there again trying to at least catch a service train passing through the town, which probably shows you just how desperate I'm getting. I bought the big lens mainly for wildlife and aircraft, but I'd never thought of using it for Landscape or Street Photography, but it proved to be very effective for both, and I got some interesting and unusual angles with it. I've probably photographed most of Whitworth many times in the past, but doing it with a different lens was a lot of fun, and with no longer being restricted to just one hour out for exercise I had quite a few enjoyable hours with it. I've probably worn a groove in the ground between my front door and the Trig Point on top of Rushy Hill, but as it takes me 20 minutes to get up there and 20 minutes to get back, I never had quite enough time to try out anything experimental till now. I've placed most of the recent images in the 'Visits to Whitworth' gallery, even though they show a number of places from well outside the area - well the logic behind this is that I was in Whitworth when I took them, and they constitute the view from the village. Clearly I'm getting very desperate now and badly in need of some railway shots and a few Greggs pasties, and I would dearly like to stand at the end of the platform at Rawtenstall Station, even if it was just to take pictures of the water tower.
To view the images taken during my sanity saving exercise walks around Whitworth click HERE:



WEDNESDAY 1ST OF APRIL 2020:

Well I'm still here, but like many other people I'm hating the captivity and being locked in, and even worse, being deprived of my beloved steam trains and buses - the withdrawal symptoms are just terrible without my weekly fix! At least I am able to get out for a few 'exercise' walks, well living on the edge of open moorland does have its advantages, though the photographic opportunities are a bit more limited so I haven't been doing too many of them. Well just to keep my hand in here are a few from a walk I did up to the top of Rushy Hill on Wednesday 1st of April, a day I chose specially because it was the first one that wasn't bright and sunny (well you wouldn't want me posting anything that wasn't wet, murky and miserable now would you!). Stay safe everyone, hopefully some sort of normal service will return again before too long. I hate to think what my absence has done to Gregg's profits, their staff won't be getting any bonus this year if things don't change soon!:-)
ClickTo view the images taken during my 'Get me out of here' exercise walk to the top of Rushy Hill on Wednesday 1st of April HERE:



SUNDAY 15TH OF MARCH 2020:

Sunday 15th of March 2020 saw me back for a few hours at the ELR, though mainly to kill a bit of time until I could make the short trip from there to nearby Accrington to catch the Branch Line Society's 'The Eric and Ernie' Railtour, which was due to pass through the town around 1524pm. Afterwards I headed back to the ELR just in time to catch the last service train of the day arriving there. Will I be out anywhere next weekend? It's hard to say at the moment, will there even be any events taking place or any services running with this current and unprecedented (well in my lifetime at any rate) pandemic taking place, and even though there haven't yet been any cases reported in East Lancashire, I suspect that we will see some if not all postponed or cancelled. I'm fit and healthy for an old dodderer and have the immune system of an Aberdeen Angus, but you can't take chances with these things, so I may well find myself with nothing to photograph other than the landscape and the nearby moorland and wildlife for the next few weeks. Stay safe everyone! :-(
ClickTo view the images taken during my visit to see the 'Eric and Ernie' Railtour HERE: , and also my visit to the ELR 'HERE':



SUNDAY 8TH OF MARCH 2020:

Sunday 8th of March 2020 saw me back at the ELR for Day Three of their Spring Steam Gala (I would have been there on Day One as well if it hadn't clashed with the KWVR event). I made a short trip down to Bury to get some shots of the visiting (but non-running) Pug '51241' from the Ribble Steam Railway, another Horwich built loco, which was on static display in the Bay Platform outside the Standard 4 Shop, and then it was back to Rawtenstall again to get a few shots of the rest of the locos, including the visiting GWR Pannier Tank '6412' which had arrived from the South Devon Railway for the event, and which I hadn't seen before. Two days there would have been better, let's hope that common sense prevails next year and they don't put it on the same weekend as the KWVR event yet again!
Click HERE: to view the images taken during my visit to the ELR Spring Steam Gala:



FRIDAY 6TH OF MARCH 2020:

Friday 6th of March 2020 saw me over the other side of the Pennines for Day One of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway's Annual Spring Steam Gala, which was very enjoyable, it was just a pity that the ELR have chosen to hold there Gala on the same weekend now otherwise I might have gone back for Day 2 as well (and probably the Dewsbury Bus Event on the Sunday), but yet again Network Rail had scuppered that plan with more engineering work, which they now seem to do every year around this time. After all the storms and flooding which had battered the area in recent weeks, this day was almost Spring like, and though not too warm, was quite pleasant in the Spring sunshine at times. The Home Fleet were out along with visiting GWR 'Prairie' Tank 2-6-2T no.4144.
Click HERE: to view the images taken during my visit to the KWVR Spring Steam Gala:



TUESDAY 3RD OF MARCH 2020:

What a busy but enjoyable week I've had, Tuesday saw me over at Liverpool to get some shots of the UK's brand new aircraft carrier 'HMS Prince of Wales' which was on a 7 day courtesy visit to the city, and this also gave me my first opportunity to have a ride on one of the new Class 802 Transpennine Novas (and very nice it was too). I had planned to go on the Sunday, which would have given me a lot more time there, but thanks to Network Rail closing the local line for some engineering work a midweek visit was the only option. Hopefully I will be able to visit LIverpool a lot more often this year, with so many cruise ships now visiting there I'm never likely to be short of interesting things to photograph.
Click HERE: to view the images taken during my visit:



SATURDAY 29TH OF FEBRUARY 2020:

Saturday was a slightly odd day, I had decided to take a trip over to Accrington to get some shots of the 'Cotton Mill Express' railtour which was passing through there at 12:47, and then catch it again later as it passed through Rochdale Station at 17.30. Things didn't quite go to plan though as good old Murphy had decided to play a few tricks on me, but at least it was nice to see 'Galatea' again, even if it was pretending to be 'Alberta' and sporting a different number as well as a different name that day. I had planned to go out on Sunday as well, but Mr Murphy had other ideas, and so for the first time in a very long time I spent a Sunday stuck here at home. Next weekend should be a bit more interesting with two Spring Steam Galas in the area (why do they do that when there is beggar all on the weekends before and after), and there is also a bus event at Dewsbury, but yet again Network Rail and its damned engineering works are going to prevent me from getting there yet again as they seem to do every year at this time.
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



SUNDAY 23RD OF FEBRUARY 2020:

Was it really one year ago that we were having a mini heatwave in mid-February with blue skies and sunshine, how different this winter has been, or should I say good to see things back to a more 'normal' wet and miserable once again. Not much was going on this past weekend, though we're almost into March now, so the event season should really get going then, but it was a choice between staying at home or going to the ELR again, and staying at home was never going to win that one. Nothing special was happening, but no Black 5 this week, just 2890 on the steam diagram and 52322 on the Dining Train, with D1501 doing the diesel stuff. In between trains I had a stroll around Rawtenstall and took a few shots of the monthly 'Farmers Market' in its new (temporary?) location at the Cricket Ground, and some of the rubbish in the river that had recently bee washed down there. Next weekend promises to be a bit more varied, weather permitting of course! :-)
Click HERE: to visit the 'Non-event visits to the ELR in February 2020' gallery:



WEDNESDAY 19TH OF FEBRUARY 2020:

There were some 'Midweek' services running again on the 19th/20th/21st of February as it was a half-term holiday for many schools. I decided to go along to the ELR on Wednesday 19th, mainly because the forecast was for heavy rain, and of course the midweek Dining Train was running, but unlike in previous years when the Dining coaches were usually added onto the back of the service train and just ran between Bury and Rawtenstall, now it was running in its own path as a separate service. This one was hauled by L&Y 2860, and the main service was hauled by Ian Riley's Black 5 '44871', which again was stranding in for City of Wells.
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



SUNDAY 16TH OF FEBRUARY 2020:

Sunday 16th of February saw me over at the ELR yet again, but the forecasts of another weather battering, this time from 'Storm Dennis' didn't fully materialise in this area (sadly the folks further south weren't quite so lucky), and it wasn't a bad day other than for the odd shower or hailstorm. Ian Riley's Black 5 '44871' was again standing in for City of Wells, and as I hadn't had a ride since late November I thought a round trip to Heywood and back behind it might be in order. 2890 was again hauling the Dining Train and Class 45 '45108' was working the diesel diagram. Hopefully next weekend will be a bit more interesting, and with the schools on half-term holiday this week, I might even get out for a few of the midweek services as the Midweek Dining Train and Driver Experience runs should be taking place.
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



SUNDAY 9TH OF FEBRUARY 2020:

Sunday 9th of February will be long remembered in many areas though mainly for the wrong reasons, as it was the day that 'Storm Ciara' hit the UK and caused severe flooding in many areas, particularly the areas around the River Calder, and even around some parts of the River Irwell. Things were a bit grim in parts of this area too, though mainly just in some of the lower lying areas, but generally we got away with it, and as an hilly area where it's often wet and windy pretty much anything that can blow away already did that in previous blasts. Well I wasn't planning on staying at home when there were interesting photos to be taken (someone has to record these things), and I also spent some time at the ELR, though services were disrupted for a while and it did look like they might be cancelled at one time due to some slight flooding of the line down in the Ramsbottom and Bury areas, which caused the 12.35pm train to arrive an hour late and the Dining Train to be turned round at Ramsbottom. Thankfully it did clear up in the afternoon, and as the waters receded, services ran normally again till the end of the day thanks to the hard work of the railway staff, and it wasn't anything like as windy as I'd feared it might be, in fact it felt quite pleasant when the Sun came out. The only casualties I noted that day were a tree near the Duckworth Lane foot crossing and the roof of the Ground Frame Signal Hut at Rawtenstall Station, which was blown off earlier in the day. The forecasts are saying we might have another lively weekend next week, so unless I find anything more interesting to do I'll probably be back out there again. I know, I must be barmy, nothing new there then! :-)
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



FRIDAY 7TH OF FEBRUARY 2020:

At last, the first 'proper' event of the year, the ELR's two day Winter Diesel gala, which took place on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th of February. I just went along for Day One this time - well I have photographed the home fleet to death in recent years, and it's usually a bit quieter on the Fridays which suits me better now that I'm retired. A great selection of heavy metal on display though and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it was a bit too sunny for my taste at times. This collection of images shows the 9 locos that were running in various configurations of single, top and tailed and double-headed that day.
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



SUNDAY 2ND OF FEBRUARY 2020:

No events taking place this weekend, so it was just a day over at the ELR again, though a surprise visitor that day was Ian Riley's Black 5 '44871', which wasn't down in the roster, and is usually off hauling railtours somewhere or taking tourists along the West Highland Line these days. Always nice to see it in action, it was once a regular sight at the ELR, but only seems to appear at Steam Galas these days as it's usually in great demand elsewhere. The L&Y 2890 was on the Dining Train again, and Diesel services were hauled by Scotrail 47765.

Next weekend, well Friday and Saturday at any rate, sees the first event of 2020, the 'Winter Diesel Gala', and which features 9 of the home fleet, and yes I will be there for it! :-)
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



SUNDAY 26TH OF JANUARY 2020:

Well after a fairly miserable 4 weeks battling a virus I picked up on Christmas Eve, I was finally back to full fettle again by Sunday 26th of January, and looking for a good soaking in some proper Windypics weather, and a good walk down the Irwell valley for the first time this year, though an extremely muddy path put an end to the latter idea, and instead I had to stay around the Rawtenstall Station area and get all my photographs from there. At least this week the Sunday Dining Train was back in action again after its post Christmas break, so no empty spare path during the afternoon, and two steam engines out - L&Y 2890 on the steam service, and L&Y 52322 on the Diner. The diesel services were hauled by Class 50 50015 'valiant'.

After a really good deluge up until around 2pm, it then cleared up and we were treated to yet another spectacular sunset by the end of the day's services, though with the days lengthening fast now, I won't get too many more options to catch these with a train parked in the station or arriving and departing. All in all and enjoyable day and nice to be back to full health and back to my usual active self once again.
Click HERE: to visit the gallery:



SATURDAY 18TH & SUNDAY 19TH OF JANUARY 2020:

I'm still suffering with this damn chest infection that has plagued me since Christmas, but in spite of it turning cold again over the weekend I was determined not to remain stuck indoors, and again dragged myself off over the Pennines to Leeds where another 'farewell' railtour, this time the 'DRS Class 20 Farewell' tour was arriving during the early afternoon. Although I wasn't up to gadding about as much as usual and still felt like crap, I still think that there is no better medicine than being outdoors in the fresh air doing something that you love.
Click HERE: to visit the DRS Farewell Railtour gallery:
Sunday saw me up at the ELR again just for a few hours during the afternoon, well the A4 Pacific 'Union of South Africa' was running again, and having missed it once when it was on the Mince Pie Specials, to have missed it twice would have been sacrilege in my book. Things were running a bit late, but in spite of promising myself I wouldn't do, I ended up staying right till the end to get some shots of the Class 45 arriving in the fog bank which had just rolled in and spoiled what looked like another really impressive sunset. I really do never learn and clearly I need to have a refit of my common sense department one of these days I think - it's no wonder I'm not getting any better yet! :-D



SUNDAY 12TH OF JANUARY 2020:

This must be my quietest week in a long time, but I did at least manage to get over to the ELR for a few hours, if only to get a bit of fresh air. January is always a bit of a dead month, but hopefully what I have planned for next weekend will be a bit more interesting, that is if Rosso Buses and Northern Rail don't prevent me from getting there that is.



FRIDAY 5TH & SUNDAY 7TH OF JANUARY 2020:

Still not much going on at this time of the year, but at least I managed a very short 'photo walk' on Friday 5th of January, and a few hours at the ELR on Sunday 7th. I have uploaded a few images from both to the various appropriate collections. I haven't made any plans for next weekend as yet, must see if I can find somewhere else to visit in the next few weeks, there doesn't seem to be any bus or rail events before mid-February.
Click HERE: to visit the 'New Year, New Line Photo Walk' gallery:



Click here to go back to the home page

Last updated: 27th of January 2020.