The East Lancashire Railway produced a most welcome gala in midsummer to commemorate the end of steam on British Railways 45 years ago. The centrepiece of the event was to be the re-enactment of the Fifteen Guinea Special, the last steam train run by British Railways on 11 August 1968. Oliver Cromwell had arrived at Bury looking fine, with her absence of nameplates revealing the authentic painted-on name from the 1960s. However, the Riley Black fives struck unlucky, one having to be left at Carnforth on its way from Fort William, and the other suffering a temporary glitch on the Saturday afternoon.
So mostly what I saw during the two hours I could manage at Ramsbottom were the excellent Oliver, looking like a working loco rather than in exhibition condition, and a good selection of early BR express diesels, in various shades of green.
Then, down in Bury, the locos and stock gradually assembled for 1T57, but by the time it left 55 minutes late, my time had run out! Still, there is nothing wrong with a midsummer gala, and I was home before the heavens opened!
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures