09/07/2001 – 17/09/2001 East Lancashire Railway

Yet another visit to the excellent ELR …! With both our 31108 & 5580 requested to attend, this would be their first away ‘ operating ‘ event together , and would result in a ‘ hat-trick ‘ of visits to the ELR for 5580…..! ! Both locos were now back at their MRC base so at least the preparations would more convenient than in the past.! As well as the actual Gala , both locos had been rostered a Saturday diesel turn and would stay on the ELR to participate in the September gala to boot……..

Following the ‘ Gala exams ‘ both locos were given a ‘ fitness to run ‘ on Monday 2nd July in order to run on Railtrack , and both passed with no faults …..smiling faces all around… ! 5580’s UAT ticket was by now in need of renewing , so therefore all axles were tested with ‘ thankfully ‘ positive readings……….Movement to the ELR via York NRM to collect D200 & 50033 was courtesy of 46035 ‘ Ixion ‘ on Monday 9th July with arrival at Bury at a very unsavourable 2230……!.

46035/D172 couples up to 5580 & 31108 at Riddings ready to be hauled to ELR via York..09/07/01

31108 stands at Ramsbottom with a Rawtenstall service on 28/07/01.

5580 paired with 40135 approaching Irwell Vale with the 1100 Bury – Rawtenstall..09/09/01. photo A Dalby

The Gala soon arrived , but our locos were not required until the Friday which was English Electric day. Locos involved on this day were D8087 , 31108 , 5580 , 31435 , D200 , 40135 , 40145 & 50033. We seemed to be up and down the line all day long , with 5580 and 31108 on occasions passing each other at Ramsbottom….! In the evening , 5580 made her second ELR beerex outing , this time with 31108 & 31435 all in multi on load 16..!

The Saturday & Sunday saw both in use once again , but not quite so hectic as the Friday. All available locos were in use as well as visiting Freightliner 47349 & 66601. Once again 5580 & 31108 pased each other at ‘ Rammy ‘ and had a return trip from Bury to Rawtenstall in multi , which ‘ was something else ‘……..!

31108’s Saturday diagram was on an extremely hot 28th July ,and all 5 trips were completed as planned .5580 , was rostered for Saturday 18th August although we planned to swap locos to give 31108 a spin also. Therefore 5580 completed the 0900 , 1100 , 1300 departures with 31108 working the remaining 1500 & 1700 services to Rawtenstall & return.

The next outings , the September gala took place over the weekend Friday 7th Sept – Sunday 9th Sept and both locos saw action on all days. Many rateable pairings including 37038 with 31108 and D7076 also with 31108 added to the variety of the weekend. All in all another fine visit to the ELR , lots of beer…. , good company and once again a faultless performance.

The journey away from the ELR took place on Monday 17th Sept , delayed a few days following problems with 46035 .With repaired ‘ Ixion ‘ at the helm she worked our locos down to Wansford via the ‘ Joint Line ‘and deposited 31108 at the NVR for her visit there. 46035 & 5580 spent the night on Wansford shed before continuing to Codnor Pk to deliver 5580 safely home the following day.