#284 – East Lancs Railway Photo Locations 9 – Irwell Vale

This is a favourite location with those who like to leave the confines of the main stations. It is a small halt, and has a small car park next to it, and there is some street parking nearby.

The standard view is a good one, but I’ve only ever done it twice, one of which was on a charter when I just killed some time. Cross the line at the level crossing (REMEMBER TO CLOSE THE GATE!!!), or under the pedestrian tunnel, and turn right to get a view of the train at the station and as it sets off. It’s the one everyone gets, and the footpath and stiles are well worn due to the volumes of people who use this spot.

Alternative no. 1 is to turn left after the crossing and head up the hill, to get a view looking down on the train and across the valley (below). It can work, if you get the right kind of day, and you compose carefully. There’s often a bit too much clutter at the side of the line though.

I prefer heading back south down the line. Park in the car park, and head south down the private road alongside the river. At the stone road bridge, don’t cross the river, but head straight on down the footpath and this will take you to a fork.

If you head left under the railway, it will take you to a stile, set against a fairly high stone wall. Standing on the stile gives a decent view, as is perching on the wall anywhere along that stretch, but it’s not the most comfortable of seats! This spot is suitable for trains heading in either direction if smokebox first.

If you head right, I tend to just make my way up the small slope to the lineside, and capture the approaching train using a short telephoto as it comes around the bend. The engine will still be working here as it’s on a gradient. Composition is crucial, best to shoot early than too late. The example below was taken towards the shorter end of a 70-300 on full frame, a crop format camera would probably be fine using a standard zoom (e.g.18-105, 18-135, etc).

2 Comments Add yours

  1. teigl says:

    Your first photo, of the “Jinty” is, well, sweet perfection. A lovely shot.


    1. andy says:

      Thanks, this was a fortunate shot, in that the weather was right and there was some decent exhaust coming from the engine. I’ve quite a few that didn’t turn out as well!


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