I should have been revising for my O- levels! But in 1969, only one steam locomotive was permitted to run on the steam-free modern-image tracks of British Rail - and it would soon be going to the USA, for an undetermined period of time*. This tour would be running from Doncaster, via Leeds, to Bradford, Manchester and Carlisle. At the border city, it would take the Newcastle line, and would return to Leeds and Doncaster via the main line through Durham, Darlington and York. All that was needed was the fare (I think it was £5) and transport to/from Leeds - my parents would oblige (after a little persuasion...) I mentioned the steam-free railway - main line steam had ended nearly a year previously - but we would see at least another five locomotives on our travels - two of the RSH saddle tanks were in steam at Agecroft power station, beside the line from Manchester to Bolton, and three locomotives (I'm not sure whether all three were in steam) at the nascent "Steamtown" at Carnforth - Ivatt 2-6-0 (4)6441, Fairburn 2-6-4T 2073, and Black 5 44871. I don't think many more words are needed. It was a very enjoyable trip, mostly along new metals for me and my friend, including a pretty impressive climb of the famous Shap incline (which, of course, had become a particularly significant location in the dying days of steam). The run back down the "racing stretch" from Darlington to York was pretty impressive too - our hurried calculations suggested a reasonably consistent 85mph for much of that part of the run (I think perhaps that may have contributed to the hot box which was being studied carefully as we left the train at Leeds, after a grand tour of the north...) *Loco footnote: 4472 went to the USA towards the end of the year (no more main line steam, until the "Return to Steam" in October 1971) - and, following financial difficulties on the part of owner Alan Pegler, was rescued by Bill McAlpine in 1973 Photo footnote: I couldn't afford Kodachrome in 1969. Most of my early excursions were recorded on Perutz slide film, which has faded a bit over the years. These 4472 slides seem to have suffered more than most - I've tried to "pull them back" digitally, but they're still pretty awful! Sorry! © Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Leaving Leeds Manchester Victoria Agecroft (1) Agecroft (2) Leaving Preston (40s by the dozen!) Preston's gantry Carnforth - 6441 Carnforth - 2073 and 44871 Carnforth - 44871 gives us a hoot! Lune gorge - M6 construction work Tebay - start of the 1-in-75 Posing at Haltwhistle More posing at Haltwhistle... Hexham - the water stop Later that year - last sight of main line steam for a year or two, Pilmoor The ticket