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.


Still no trains running until early December (with luck) so it was a mixture of Lockdown Walks around the area, and a few odd shots here and there during my trips out to buy essential items Like Greggs pasties etc.), thankfully I always have a camera with me, so I do still get the odd shot when I'm out and about. This latest batch can be found in various collections, and clicking on the 'Recent albums' or 'Recent photos' links on the left-hand side of the page will take you to them.


Well sadly this will probably be my only visit to the ELR in November 2020, and whilst services had been restricted to just 3 runs a day, with the odd steam hauled Dining Train as an extra, thanks to the government's latest lockdown there will be no more services running until at least the 2nd of December, and it's even likely that there won't be any for the rest of the year unless things improve rapidly. I really hope that is not the case as I'm not sure I could stand going that long again without a whiff of steam, the previous 6 month lockdown was sheer hell and even a limited service was better than nothing. Anyway, at least there were some trains running on Sunday 1st of November, or to be specific, Class 47 'D1501' on the service trains, and the Standard 4 '80097' on the Dining Train, but best of all, and for the first time since Storm Ciara back in February, the Weather Gods took pity on me and gave us a good soaking with the remnants of Storm Aiden, and yes I was very happy and running around like a dog with two tails. I have decided to bring in a new rating system for such crappy weather, based on the number of people who tell me that I must be barmy to be standing out in that stuff taking pictures, and even looking like I'm enjoying the experience (well I am of course), so based on the four people who said that to me on Sunday this was a four star rated dowsing, and at least helped to deaden the pain of not being able to see any trains for the rest of the month.
To view the images taken during my one and only visit to the East Lancashire Railway in November 2020 click HERE:


Friday 30th of October saw me back for my final visit of the month, and yet again it was for a midweek service, which also had the Dining Train on the back of it. This time though it was just the Standard 4 '80097' that was hauling it, but I did get a few drops of rain, and with Midweek services having been about as scarce as honest politicians this year, I was just happy to have had three visits in one week, because the way things are going we could well see the railway closed down again before too long. Sadly the DMU Event which should have taken place the following weekend has now been cancelled, understandable though, as packed DMUs would not be a good thing at the moment in an area which is seeing the virus spreading at an alarming rate. Will the Santa Specials survive then? hard to say, but I hope so because photographing that and the Christmas Dining Trains was something that I was really looking forward to.
To view the images taken during my final visit to the East Lancashire Railway in October 2020 click HERE:


Another 'double' write up this week, and this time covering my two visits on Sunday 25th and Wednesday 28th of October. I was very pleased that the stations were now open again as there would be no Dining Train out on the 25th, and that meant there would be a very long gap in between the services, so I would be in need of several visits to the station buffet to keep me going. The reason for the lack of a Dining Train was that this would have normally been a 'Day out with Thomas' weekend, so one wouldn't have been booked as is usually the case on event weekends. All services were DMU hauled again, and with no Diner running and only three services that day, there was little point in me heading down the line to get any shots from there. I was back again on Wednesday 28th of October, this time for my very first Midweek visit of the year (well there haven't been any so I hadn't had any choice in the matter), and would you believe it, it was even in the gloomy and miserable conditions that I'm so fond of. Not only was it gloomy, but just as the Dining Train/Service Train arrived, and hauled by a double-header consisting of Standard 4 '80097' and 7F 51456 at that, it started to rain, even though none was forecast. So why wasn't I doing cartwheels around the platform them? Well no rain had been forecast for that day, and I was trying out my new camcorder for the very first time, and that is not weatherproof, and I don't yet have a rain cover for it. Clearly the weather gods were again having a laugh at my expense, and I had to quickly shove the camcorder under my jacket and switch to taking photos with the weatherproof DSLR once again. A very enjoyable if somewhat short visit, and it was just a pity that it didn't take place the following day when the weather really was Monsoon like. Maybe Friday will be better, I aim to be up there again for that one, when the steam hauled Diner is out and about once again.
To view the images taken during my fourth and fifth visits to the East Lancashire Railway in October 2020 click HERE:


I thought I might as well do a 'double' write up this week, as there wasn't really enough info to justify one for last weekend. The Class 47 was running on the diesel service, and L&Y steam loco '2890' on the Dining Train. Sunday 11th was a bit more interesting, but zoot alors, Rawtenstall Station was closed, as was Irwell Vale, due to Lancashire having been put in Tier 3 of the latest Boris Balls Up Banding. Now I could understand the Buffer Stops pub being shut, but I didn't see the logic of closing the station since trains were still running into there but not allowing passengers to board or get off there. I had to resort to walking down the valley to points further south (and without my usual numerous cups of coffee and lovely cheese & onion pies at that to fuel me), and got a few shots from there, but it all seemed a bit daft to me, especially as Rossendale only has about a quarter of the number of Covid cases as the parts of the line that were open. Thankfully now that all areas are in the same Boris Band it looks like the station will be open again next weekend - hooray!
To view the images taken during my second and third visits to the East Lancashire Railway in October 2020 click HERE:


Sunday 4th should have seen me at either the Ellenroad Classic Car Show or the Wirral Bus & Tram Show in any normal year, but as we all know only too well, 2020 is anything but a normal year, and it isn't over yet, so no telling what might come next. Anyway, since most other events in the area had been cancelled it was back to the ELR again for me for me, though much to my great delight, services were being hauled by a big diesel, none other than good old Class 47 'D1501'. Now you might wonder what was so special about that, especially as I've photographed it dozens of times before, but the fact was this was the first big diesel I'd seen in well over 6 months, so that made seeing it again a real treat! Also in service that day was L&Y steam loco '2890' which was hauling the Dining Train again. The one downside was that we didn't have anything like as much rain as they had on the previous day, but I was otherwise engaged or I would have been out there then as well and squelching around and getting a good old Lancashire soaking once again.
To view the images taken during my first visit to the East Lancashire Railway in October 2020 click HERE:


Sunday 27th should have been a special day at the ELR, with the legendary Flying Scotsman hauling the Dining Train, but due to circumstances this had to be cancelled, and that meant another very long gap between afternoon services and only 3 runs that day. Sadly, I wasn't aware that the newly repainted diesel D832 was going to be doing two runs up to Rawtenstall on the 26th or I'd probably have been there for its arrival, I just hope we don't have to wait too long to see it out again, I'm getting withdrawal symptoms due to lack of big diesel action. The service train during my visit was Standard 4 '80097' on what was a fairly quiet day. The forecast for next Sunday is some heavy rain at last, but have the useless gits at the Met Office got it right this time, and will I get a decent soaking to start off October and finally get to behave like a proper 'Crap Weather Photographer' again at long last? We shall see.....
To view the images taken during my seventh visit to the East Lancashire Railway in September 2020 click HERE:


Sunday 20th of September saw me back at the ELR yet again, well there not too many other places to go at the moment, but I always like going there so that's no great hardship, but my plan to nip down to Summerseat and get some shots of the Dining Train passing through the cutting didn't quite work out, and by the time I got to the station the clouds had begun to part and out came the bright Sun with that big silly and annoying grin on its smirking face again, which soon scuppered that plan. With the Sun to the south all you end up with is a silhouette or burned out sky, which is why I usually prefer crappier weather, which avoids a lot of these problems. Anyway, instead I just chose to hang around the Rawtenstall area and get some shots of the Standard 4 '80097' on the steam service, and '2890' hauling the Dining Train. Since the railway re-opened I've been very careful to avoid doing any rain dances as they need all the passengers and visitors they can get coming out, but I was beginning to feel that Sun was really extracting the urine, and so I shall resume my Navajo Rain Dances again this week - that will wipe the smirk off its face (not that the neighbours will be happy at the sight of me cavorting half naked around the garden again!). Watch out next week for something a little more watery, that is if the railway hasn't been locked down again thanks to all the irresponsible idiots in the area spreading this damn virus all over the place with their selfish and reckless behaviour. Don't think I could stand another 5 months without trains again, so let's hope that the useless gits in the government don't leave things too late again this time like they did back in February and March, this crazy year is still a long way from over yet, no telling what may come next...
To view the images taken during my sixth visit to the East Lancashire Railway in September 2020 click HERE:


Saturday 19th of September saw me back in Rochdale for the first time in over 6 months, and again it was to catch a railtour passing through the town. There should have been quite a few of these this year, but thanks to the crazy pandemic these were all either postponed or cancelled unfortunately. However, at least the A1 Trust's 'Ticket to Ride' railtour from Darlington to Liverpool Lime Street was running, and due to pass through the station at around 12.04pm, though it was around 3 minutes early on this occasion. The steam loco on the front was the mighty A1 Pacific 'Tornado' which at just over 10 years old, probably hadn't made that many visits to the town before. Weather conditions were not ideal thanks to a very stiff and cool east wind which made using my big 500mm lens impossible, and the bright midday Sun to the south didn't help much, but you have to work with what you've got, and I was just happy to see some mainline trains again after a 6 month drought. I also photographed a few service trains and some buses as well (no Trams though as they weren't running due to engineering works), and if it had been the damp or gloomy sort of weather that I prefer I would have probably spent a lot longer in the town. At any rate it was nice to get back to doing some more of my usual sort of photography, and if I can find a suitably gloomy day I must return again and finish off my gallery of images of the now finally opened new shopping centre.
To view the images taken during my vist to see the Tornado Railtour click HERE: you can find the other images in the 'Stagecoach Buses' + 'Visits to Rochdale' + 'Fire Service Museum', and 'Rail Passenger Train' galleries.


It was back to the ELR again for a sunny Sunday 13th of September, but this time for a train ride to Heywood, which amazingly was my first venture out of Rossendale since mid-March. Now normally I wouldn't dream of riding on such a warm and sunny day as I'd rather be out in the fresh air walking, but I'd made my mind up so that was that, and I must admit that it was nice to see a few of the other stations for the first time in nearly 6 months. At the moment there are no direct service along the full line, with just a steam service operating from Bury to Rawtenstall and back, and a DMU service running from Ramsbottom to Heywood, though these leave a reasonable gap at Bury to allow for extra cleaning of the coaches. If anyone has any worries about travelling on the railway at the moment I would like to allay them, as I felt well cared for throughout my entire trip and was well impressed with how the staff were handling things. Locos in service that day were Standard 4 '80097' on the steam diagram, the DMU (which shame on me I forgot to photograph the number) on the Rammy - Heywood route, and the L&Y '2890' on the Dining Train. Next week's plans are not yet finalised and will depend a lot on the weather, but hopefully might involved a ride down to Summerseat and a few shots from that location just for a change.
To view the images taken during my fourth and fifth visits to the East Lancashire Railway in September 2020 click HERE:


I had hoped to be spending the weekend at the Great Harwood Transport Festival and bus event, but due to an increase in Covid 19 cases in the Hyndburn area the events had been cancelled until next year, and with nothing else taking place it was back to the ELR again for me on Sunday 6th of September. As per usual they were running the restricted service with just 3 trains a day, but at least the Sunday Dining Train had returned again, so there wasn't the usual very long gap during the afternoon this time. Locos in service were Standard 4 '80097' on the service train, and '2890' on the Dining Train. I think I really will have to have a ride to Heywood next week, it seems like ages since I last saw a diesel or DMU, and that's the only way I'm likely to do that. A bus event would be very nice, but it's looking more and more like it might well be next year before I see one again, as I would expect the Coronavirus situation to get a lot worse and the restrictions tightened again as the winter months arrive here! :-(
To view the images taken during my forth and fifth visits to the East Lancashire Railway in September 2020 click HERE:


Normally a late August Bank Holiday Weekend would have all sorts of things going on, and the ELR would be running one of its numerous 'Day Out with Thomas' events, but in this strangest of years the usual is not happening, and we are all swimming in strange waters at the moment. As there wasn't much of anything else that I could attend it was back to the ELR again on Sunday 30th and Monday 31st of August, and even with just three runs per day it still proved to be quite an enjoyable visit as the small locos 'Gothenburg' 32 and 'Douglas' 2890 were running double-headed and hauling seven coaches, which made for an interesting sight. I had planned to visit the Great Harwood bus event next weekend, but due to the rising number of Covid cases in the Hyndburn area this has now been cancelled, so unless I take a trip over to the KWVR it will be back to the ELR once again.
To view the images taken during my forth and fifth visits to the East Lancashire Railway in August 2020 click HERE:


Yet another Sunday visit to the ELR again, this time on the 23rd of August, but I'm not minding this at all and just happy to be out seeing a steam train in action once again. The occasional big diesel would be nice to see, but this probably isn't going to happen for some time yet. Still, at least it did rain for part of my visit this time, so I was as happy as Larry, wheoever Larry is (I never did find out). A train ride might have been nice, but as it's just advance booking at the moment and I can't guarantee that my bus will turn up and get me there on time to catch one, I will probably have to wait until it's again possible to book at the station once more. On this occasional the Standard 4 '80097' was doing the duties with a 7 coach load allowing the passengers to spread out a bit. Most of my shots where taken around the Rawtenstall area, as with only 3 trains a day and very long several hour gaps in between each of them (to allow regular cleaning to take place at Bury) there isn't too much point in me walking down the Irwell Valley to some of my usual haunts at the moment.
To view the images taken during my third visit to the recently reopened East Lancashire Railway in August 2020 click HERE:


It was back to ELR again on Sunday 16th of August for my second visit since the reopening, and much to my great delight the loco in service on this day was none other than the recently restored L&Y 2F '51456', which was featured in the final episode of the recent 'Steam Train Britain' series on the Yesterday TV channel (and which included a very brief 5 second cameo appearance by me, but if you didn't know me and blinked you would miss me thankfully). With a 4 coach load on it looked really impressive as it arrived, and even encouraged me to take a walk down to Townsend Fold to get a shot of it passing through on the next run. Lovely Jubbly as Del Boy would say! :-) I also took a few other shots from around the area, you know the sort of thing, pubs, shopping trolleys in the river, cricket matches, well basically any old rubbish that took my fancy:
To view the images taken during my second visit to the recently reopened East Lancashire Railway in August 2020 click HERE:


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:


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, by 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:


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:


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 500mm 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 3 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:


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!:-)
To view the images taken during my 'Get me out of here' exercise walk to the top of Rushy Hill on Wednesday 1st of April CLICK HERE:


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 3.24pm. 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! :-(
To view the images taken during my visit to see the 'Eric and Ernie' Railtour CLICK HERE: and also my visit to the ELR 'HERE':


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, and I know from talking with other enthusiasts that I'm not the only one that finds this very irritating and pointless.
Click HERE: to view the images taken during my visit to the ELR Spring Steam Gala:


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:


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 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 5.30pm. 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:


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 been 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:


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 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 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! :-)
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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.
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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! :-)
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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.
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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.
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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


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.


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.
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Last updated: 27th of January 2020.