#152 – Snow, Steam and Damnation!

Although Burrs Country Park is a popular photographic spot for railway photographers on the East Lancs Railway, it’s somewhere that I rarely visit, partly because the caravan club site has spoilt some of it’s potential, and partly because you’re practically falling over other photographers. However, it is one of the better locations on the line between Bury and Ramsbottom, so as the annual Santa Specials run between those two stations only, I thought I’d pay it a visit, especially as I’d never been in the snow before.

A combination of Christmas shopping and babysitting meant that I only got here mid afternoon, but as the winter sun was setting, I thought this would make for a nice glint. And it probably would have done if it wasn’t for two factors – 1) the ELR’s fairly relaxed approach to keeping to the timetable (although I imagine shepherding hundreds of kids onto a train isn’t an exact science!) and 2) I didn’t realise there was a breeze until the train arrived, resulting in steam blowing all down the side of the engine and train, pretty much ruining the photo. Damn

So with some time to kill before the return train and the next one up the line, I crossed the line to check out some spots. There ahead of me were a number of very pleased looking railway photographers who’d chosen the other side of the line and were probably rewarded with a mastershot. I turned round to ‘look at what I could have had‘, to paraphrase Tony from Bullseye (below) Double damn.

Still, there was always the return train, although the Santa’s are worked with a diesel at the back so that it can be pulled back by that, thus eliminating the need to run round at each end of the line, thus reducing the time spent in stations(it also accounted for the steam loco not working very hard on the way up the line, hence the smoke drifting).

After a not inconsiderable amount of time, mooching around a very cold snow covered field, the return train arrived, well behind schedule, almost to the point that it was probably going to arrive back in at Bury the same time it was due back out again. And of course, as the Black 5 was basically being pulled back down the hill, there wasn’t even a trace of exhaust coming from its chimney. Triple damn! As the light was dying, the possibility of there being enough light to capture a nice silhouette of the last train working hard when it finally went back up the line to Ramsbottom was midway between nil and f*ck all. Quadruple damn!

So the best shots of a very cold afternoon stood in a field, are those below. And as I’m not interested in diesel traction, then the last photo is a bit lost on me. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

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