Friday 3 February 2012

6: Up in the Hills and Down the Coast

It's blog number 6 and the second this week! Well, remarkably the weather has turned out to be just as good as was forecast. Very unusual for it to coincide with me being able to get out and take some photos, so I made the effort and got out to a few locations I've not been to for a bit, and also one from a week or two ago. More of that in a minute anyway.

Today has seen major disruption on the West Coast Main Line after 90046 completely derailed on the Fast Lines at Bletchley during the early hours. I hope the driver is OK as it must have been a shock and I believe he was slightly injured. Running light engine he was doing up to 75mph when it occured. I understand that there is major track damage to the fast lines and to the Overhead wires. Trains eventually started running on the slow lines past it during the early afternoon.

I didn't get up until about 1030 on Monday, having finished a night shift, so headed over to the Ribble Valley north of Gisburn to wait for the cement train to Clitheroe, and the following coal train. I really should check these things, but it appears the cement has been retimed much earlier (it arrived Clitheroe about the time I got out of bed) and after about 90 minutes wait I got news that the 6M11 coal was 4 hours late. I found out this just after I got all excited seeing a train approach. It turned out to be just the Virgin 57 on the Settle and Carlisle route refreshing trip for Preston drivers.

No point me waiting there after that so I got in the car to warm up and decided, given the very cold easterly wind, to drive to Ribblehead on the theory that I could sit in the car and wait for stuff. I got a couple of unit pictures enroute and just arrived opposite Ribblehead station as 6K05 engineers was coming over the viaduct. As the other half dozen photographers were camped out on the hill behind I stood up there to await the Chirk Logs. It doesn't seem quite so bad in the wind somehow when you are stood waiting with others.

As you can see, the log train went by in perfect conditions. Most of the others left after this, but I took a gamble and waited another hour for the late running 6M11, which came across the viaduct in beautiful red light from the setting sun which was just reaching up the valley from Ingleton. A drive home down the valley towards Lancaster, then home for a late tea and a short night at work.

 I made the effort to get up (very) early the enxt day and drive up to the Cumbrian Coast for the 'Nuke-ex' (as apparently the DRS Sellafield workers train has been dubbed). Travelling by car rather than train meant I could leave home about 90 minutes later and reach Green Road in daylight. What a difference 3 weeks make (see blog number 2). Back then there was barely any light to photograph the train heading for Barrow, and even on 800ISO the shot was poor quality and grainy. However the sun came over the hill this week 10 minutes before the train arrived providing a lovely warm glow to the frosty conditions. Several days this week they have used 47810 instead of the ususal 37.

Once again I could listen and watch it for almost 10 minutes as it made its way round the Duddon Estuary, and like the other week it was only a 20 minute wait until the flask train to Sellafield appeared the other way, with the usual DRS ecclectic combination of two class 57s, two class 20s and three wagons. The empty stock from the 'Nuke-ex' has been retimed to depart Barrow at 1015, rather than its afternoon timings which it had during the first few weeks, so it was only a further 60 or so minutes until it reappeared and passed in glorious winter sunshine. The trial of this train is due to end soon so fingers crossed it is being well used and the service continues.

Hearing the Heysham flask train had ran on Tuesday rather than its normal Thursday slot there was little point hanging round there any longer so I drove back across to the West Coast Main Line and stopped off at Docker, a location I haven't done for a year or two, for a shot of 66431 on the Mossend to Daventry 'Malcolms' train. It passed in a nice break in the developing clouds and snow covered peaks in the background added to the view. I was then going to go home but with it looking much brighter in the east I changed plans and had a 25 minute drive over to the Settle and Carlisle at Waitby. I arrived only 5 minutes before a rather early 6K05 passed double headed.

The following log train was also very early, but not early enough for the clouds which had rolled in to stay by then, so I definately decided it was time for the drive back down the M6.

All in all a very enjoyable 2 days, though my petrol tank is now well and truly in need of filling. I can't see myself getting out now with the camera until maybe the end of next week, but please keep a look out for update on here or for new galleries to be uploaded HERE.
Thanks for reading once again.

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