East Lancashire Railway (ELR) 6th July 2013
The East Lancashire Railway (ELR) held a diesel gala over the weekend of the 5th to 7th July 2013. It had been my first time to the ELR since resident Class 31, 31435, had moved to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway but I was soon sure nothing had really changed; other than the old cafe at Rawtenstall becoming a pub, serving plenty of hand-pulled beers.
For a diesel gala the line-up wasn’t too exciting with nothing really standing out from the crowd of locos working; DCR’s 31190 was for me the engine standing out in the crowd anyway and the only reason I went. Had it not been £26 for a day rover I’d have also gone on the Friday to do the 31 as well; as would others.
31190 performed well on the 0920 Bury – Rawtenstall, unfortunately though the driver seemed to think it was a different class of English Electric and attempted to drive it like most do when playing to the gallery; shutting off and opening it back up two or three times each time he took power. 31’s were not made to be driven like that and sound far better when left to their own devices on full power, to sort themselves out. These antics somewhat spoiled the first trip, despite ‘190 sounding quite good. Now apparently, the driver of the 31 was considering failing it at some point during the day as it was “low on power”. Personally I didn’t see anything wrong with it’s performance; it had just worked a train, uphill, with load 6 and a dead 50015 on the rear. It was a 31, which of course wasn’t going to break any land speed records while going uphill with that load, but it did sound crisp, get away once the first field divert came in and sounded far better when driven properly!
Thankfully ‘190 wasn’t failed and continued with it’s booked turns throughout the day, without fault. The highlight of its day was probably working in a pair with 73210, which nobody could figure out whether it was a first for a class 31 to work in a pair with a 73 or not……..
There was a notable fault to mention though in that 37099 (disguised as 37324) didn’t manage to make it off shed until the late afternoon, it’s turn being worked by Hymek D7076; which was the surprise of the day and provided plenty of clag and thrash.
The full gala line-up was:
31190 (DCR), 33109, D7076, 37324, 40135, 47579, 47596, 50015, 50026, 55022, 73210
31190 worked the following:
0920 Bury – Rawtenstall, 1056 Rawtenstall – Heywood, 1205 Heywood – Rawtenstall (to Bury), 1355 Heywood – Rawtenstall (from Bury), 1616 Rawtenstall – Heywood (in tandem with 73210 inside), 1725 Heywood – Rawtenstall (to Bury, in tandem with 73210 leading)