One of my Christmas presents this year was a half day photography course which would enable all the participants to “get up close and personal” with the Flying Scotsman as it was being prepared to pull those very lucky people who had managed to book the “luxury dining experience.”
I arrived at the East Lancashire Station (Bury) about 11.50 and found a group of like minded individuals, all clutching camera bags and all of a “certain” age (except for one young man in his twenties) with combined looks in their eyes of anticipation and nostalgia.
Amongst the group were “locals” plus one from Sheffield and one gentleman who had travelled up from Essex (that’s the kind of pulling power of the Flying Scotsman). We set off walking along the line, through the various sheds where trains and carriages were being refurbished and with plenty of photographic opportunities.
Eventually we arrived at the place the Flying Scotsman was parked, alongside the Lancashire Fusilier (presumably standing guard) and there was a hive of activity as preparation was well under way for that evening’s journey. It was very clear from the hive of activity in, and around the train that a lot of TLC was going into the preparation for the evening run
We were able to wander around (within strict health and safety guidelines) and shoot the train from most angles. During the best part of 3 hours we spent in the yard we were able to see the magnificent City of Wells train, the “local” train that does a lot of the journeys on the EL Railway (No 13065), a wonderful small steam train as well as a diesel (but we don’t talk about the latter!).
What an abundance of riches for a steam enthusiast like myself and other group members. We exchanged memories about being kids and which stations and sheds we had visited. It seems that all of us had been kicked out of various sheds at some time in our young lives because we were trespassing and being a real inconvenience to the workers (but isn’t that what kids so?).
I have to confess that as impressive as the Flying Scotsman is, my personal favourite is the City of Wells train in all of its green splendour and that wonderful Golden Arrow across the front of the train.
Despite having to contend with the cold and changing light conditions it was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding afternoon. Thank you to all the group participants, and in particular John Wild who was our guide and provided the historical background about the Scotsman along with stories of the “old days” of steam engines. Secondly to Tony Holt who was our photography leader / adviser who was on hand to advise and help. (www.northwestphotographycourses.com).
I think it is also worth mentioning that the staff of East Lancashire Railway who do a sterling job and do their very best to cope, even when things don’t run 100% smoothly.
Finally, a very honourable mention to all the volunteers who give of their time so generously and make the EL Railway such an excellent attraction to both locals and visitors from all over the north of England (they even let folk from Yorkshire vist!).
All in all, an excellent half day and with wonderful opportunities to photograph a variety of steam trains.
Just one note of frustration, whenever I see the Flying Scotsman on TV or in the media they constantly make reference to the National Railway Museum in York (where it will be going in due course) and seem to forget that the rebuilding / refurbishment has been done in Bury and that the trials will be done in Bury at the East Lancashire Railway!!!!!
Below are just a few of the 250+ photographs I took on my visit, I hope you enjoy them.
All photographs (c) Kindadukish