10 - 11th July 2004
A Rare Weekend Pass Out!!

It's a long story, but a detour via Worcester to drop my daughter off at her cousin's for the weekend, allowed me to cover the two diesel galas at Barrow Hill and Bury.

I put in a report on Six Bells about the superb 2002 Barrow Hill gala and last year's 'First Born' event was excellent too, so with a further increase in the admission charge I was hoping for another repeat performance in 2004. A few days before the event seven scratches seemed possible, but then the inevitable happened: 47488 was reduced to static display, 37214 was labelled as stand-by only and 33111 was never really confirmed anyway. On arrival dud 66552 had materialised instead of the allocated 554, so I had to make do with 73119, D2868 and D2302 on its one journey of the day. There was little turnover of locomotives this year so I have to say that it was a disappointing event.

Feeling somewhat short-changed I headed for Wakefield (later discovering I'd missed 12082 which deputised for D2302) to join 67013 for the short hop to Leeds. Sadly I spent the remainder of the day unit bashing on a West Yorks Day Ranger and, once again, missing 37405 as it drew into Keighley d.i.t. behind 37411.

Seven o'clock next morning  and I was parking up at Bury's Bolton Street station. Again the admission charge had been increased but, with 12 miles of track and three separate sets of stock in continuous operation, there was plenty of traction variety. I began with a run to Rawtenstall then back to Heywood with 66565 (Webmasters note: thanks to Jonathan Wilcox and Selby for confirming which shed it was as Mike wasn't sure). DRS 37s 218 and 611 then took me to Ramsbottom where a change of stock gave a run back to Heywood behind 40145. Goyles 435 and an immaculate 271 repeated the Ramsbottom move, with Western D1041 returning me to Bury. Back to the original stock and Freightliner' s 66558 and 565 double headed to Rawtenstall and back to Ramsbottom for 45041 once more to Rawtenstall and return to Bolton Street. With services running about 25 minutes down (presumably because of double headers having to split then re-pair in order to run round at Rawtenstall), I flagged a run behind lone 37 087 in order to do battle with the Sunday afternoon traffic on the M6 and reach Worcester at a reasonable hour.

A bit pricey, but the East Lancs offered an interesting and enjoyable day's bashing with five new locos scored on the day.

Mike Searle

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