Monday, 18 January 2016


No apologies for a non-birding post.

We made it over to my Mother's in Bury around 7pm and took her out for a meal. I left the ladies in bed and was out of the house by 8am yesterday. It's OK looking at Google Earth but it still pays to get "on site" to suss out a decent vantage point to view/photograph the train.

I wanted to try and get some shots of the famous loco going over the River Roch on the Seven Arches. It took a while but I finally found a place to park and walked the short distance to the bridge...and waited. Many memories of my youth flooded through my mind as I waited in anticipation.

First came the Lancashire Fusilier...

The wait continued. Hope it's not broke down! I'd popped into the town centre just before 9 and it was bedlam I could see the train by looking over the wall by the station. There were at least a dozen coaches present. I reckoned there would almost certainly have been a delay with all the hullabaloo. Still Bud was getting plenty of exercise.

Then 2 familiar noises, first the eerie whistling noise of the train on the track. Then the puffing noise of the engine. Still no view because of the trees. Then, there it was...

A great personal moment to see the world's most famous locomotive going over a local landmark. Could have done without the diesel following but necessary as it heated the carriages apparently. A minor quibble.

Back home to meet the family for lunch. My eldest lad, his wife and mt grandson had made the trip from Leeds.

The next challenge was to try and find a suitable vantage point for all of us to see the train! Again, not easy in these "health and safety" conscious times. Many viewpoints that I remembered from my youth had either been fenced off or bricked up. The FS was doing 4 runs during the day from Rawtenstall through Bury to Heywood and return. Another issue was there was no turntable at either end so it was only facing forward from Rawtenstall to Heywood! It was scheduled to go through Bury at 12.50...facing forward. So off we set around 12.30. I'd tried the town centre bridges but the walls were too high. 

I then noticed a ramp to a car park.

It fortunately lad down to the track side. Perfect! Another enthusiast informed me that this spot was the site of the old Knowsley Street Station that I frequented as a young lad. Pass the tissues.

It wasn't the most salubrious spot for the family but they're good sports. My enthusiast friend also informed us that it was running late. No matter, we were wrapped up. It shouldn't be long. 

It wasn't...

Made up with this image. I couldn't have wished for more. In full steam coming out from under the bridge with the Whitehead Clock Tower in the background.

An unforgettable moment.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening...


Richard Gray said...

Great picture. Is the clock tower connected to your family in any way, or is that a coincidence?

Alan Whitehead said...

Cheers Richard. Good to hear from you. No connection as far as I know. Chuffed to have stumbled on that vantage point though. A great memory! Take care.

Dave Walker said...

Really good photograph Alan

Alan Whitehead said...

Cheers Dave. Appreciated. Sort of stumbled across the viewpoint! Hope to see you next week?