East Lancashire Railway (ELR) July 2014
For me the line-up at the East Lancashire Railway Gala wasn’t anything special at all but the fact that both A1A Locomotive’s 31271 & the Dean Forest Railway’s 31466 were visiting made it worth the trip over the Pennines.
It was touch and go whether 31271 would actually be ready in time for the ELR Gala and yet there it was, sat ready to go with the first train of the day to Heywood, having a windscreen wiper fitted to one end before departure and minus it’s “Stratford 1840-2001” nameplates. The latter were fitted during the morning and were now painted red instead of the usual Stratford blue.
31466 had worked very recently at the Nene Valley Railway with another A1A Locomotives Class 31, 31108 and after this gala it left only 31162 for it to become acquainted with!
Despite the timetable for both 31’s not seeing either go beyond Ramsbottom on Friday 4th until the late afternoon there was no shortage of thrash from either, even if they were only on load 3. The afternoon trip to Rawtenstall though had the locos in multi on a bigger load and even though it was raining there was again plenty of thrash on offer; and surprisingly no slipping on the wet rails!
The return trip from Rawtenstall had 31271 doing all the work with 31466 dead on the rear, which made for a cracking run up the hill towards Heywood; by far the best bit of noise the day had to offer.
A long day it was too with the 31’s T&T on the Friday beerex with Hymek D7076. The Hymek certainly being put to the test on the run up to Heywood; with 2 dead 31’s on the rear of the train. ‘271 & ‘466, still in multi, gave as good a show on the run up to Rawtenstall. A fitting end to a long yet enjoyable day.