It seems and feels like an eternity since I was last at the ELR and watching and photographing steam trains in action, but I'm pleased to say that on Sunday 9th of August that was just what I was doing, and apart from a few minor changes such as temperature checks and wearing masks when appropriate, it seemed just like old times again. The only thing missing was some really crap weather, but after nearly 5 months without a whiff of steam that was the least of my worries. The service should have commenced on the previous weekend, but due to the government's last minute reimposition of some restrictions throughout East Lancashire on the evening before it was due to open, I had to wait yet another week before I could resume my usual haunts around the station at Rawtenstall once again (and yes I did pay the local Greggs shop a visit, well it would have been bad manners not to!).
Although the trains are back the service is still very restricted to allow the railway to see how well things go, so there were just 3 runs that day with a 2 hour gap in between, with the Standard 4 '80097' running services between Bury and Rawtenstall, and a DMU running between Bury and Heywood. I chose not to ride this time as I wanted to get some photographs, but I might risk a trip down the line the following weekend. Great to have the railway back once more and to see lots of old friends again, and I just hope that the continuing selfish behaviour of a few irresponsible and stupid people in our society doesn't ever see the railway and many other places put back into such an awkward and financially damaging position again in the near future.