© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
A day out in February has become a bit of a tradition, so my
friend Steve booked a day off work, and we set off in search
of a few photographs and a bit of railway interest.
We didn't find quite as much as we'd hoped, however, and the
dull, overcast and cold weather didn't help either. We started at
Middlewich, around the time that a daily salt train should work
the line, a minor freight-only route between Northwich and
Sandbach. There was no sign of it, and few places for a
reasonable photo, so we headed back towards Northwich. "There
might be some photos around the Lostock works". There
weren't!. "How about the locks at Northwich, with the signals?".
At last - some exercise for the cameras.
The signals once controlled entry to the locks on the Weaver
Navigation. Now disused, they appear to be semi-preserved, and
make an interesting subject against the
backdrop of the railway viaduct. "Can I hear a
train coming?" "Sounds like a loco". It was - a
"Load Haul" liveried class 37 and five salt wagons - the
Middlewich salt train.
Like the locks, I had never visited the Anderton boat lift nearby,
so we drove the short distance to have a look. Again, we needn't
have bothered - undergoing restoration work, it is not really very
photogenic at present.
Next objective? "Let's have a look at that narrow gauge peat line
near Wilmslow". Once again, nothing doing - the gates were
locked and there was no-one around. "How about a few shots on
the Manchester - Crewe line?". We managed a few shots, but the
light was poor and the units were hardly photogenic. The
afternoon was ticking by now. "How about cutting our losses and
spending an hour or so at Crewe - we might at least get some
hot coffee....". The latter part of that suggestion was the most
attractive, so we did just that.
There was the usual high level of activity at Crewe, with
numerous trains in both directions, mostly loco-hauled, including
a couple of freightliners, but there was barely enough light for
photography, so after a few quick snaps we packed up and
headed homewards. Not the best of days, (it goes without saying
that the weather the following day was bright and sunny) though
infinitely better than a day at work, or the trip to Sainsbury's I'd
managed to avoid...