NBR steam on the S&C
Maude's day
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As the Rainhill 150 celebrations drew nearer, a number of steam specials ran to bring the locomotives together. Saturday 17th May promised to be a major event, with specials hauled by 6201 "Princess Elizabeth", 46229 "Duchess of Hamilton" and 850 "Lord Nelson". Oh, and NBR 0-6-0 No 673 "Maude" would be running too - possibly his longest day trip ever, from Kilmarnock to Manchester. The day started well, with clear skies and sunshine continuing the warm dry spell. We had started at Gargrave, where the Duchess was due to provide our first steam shots. But as frequently happens, the train failed to appear, and the rumours started to spread. Eventually, a public-spirited individual drove past, and announced to the assembled photographers that, due to an extensive lineside fire caused by "Lizzie" earlier in the day, the decision had been taken to put diesel pilots on the trains - with the celebrities in "light steam" only. We decided to pack up and find some lunch (the excellent Gamecock at Austwick providing refreshment as we debated our next move. We decided to head for Ais Gill and see Maude. More than 20 years later, I can't remember precisely why we made that decision, but it proved to be the right one. The story (heard
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
later in the day) was that, on arriving at Carlisle and being told to take on a pilot, the Scots crew had insisted that Maude would be going no further. The compromise was that, provided 30mph was not exceeded, the train could run. A stop for petrol nearly cost us the first picture - we arrived at Ais Gill to see a smudge of smoke down Mallerstang, and by the time we were ready, Maude was upon us, with the two Caledonian coaches forming its lightweight load. We then followed the train, stopping for more snaps whenever we had drawn a reasonable distance ahead (not a difficult task!) until our last location, near Darwen on the climb out of Blackburn. The special stopped for water in Blackburn, and it was there I saw the best picture of all - through the car's rear view mirror, as a silhouetted Maude drew forward across the viaduct to the watering point. The photograph would have been timeless - could have been taken 20 or 100 years before - but the cameras were in the boot, and moments later, the scene had gone. Link: Maude lives at the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway
17 May 1980
Waiting for the Duchess - eastbound DMU Maude nears Ais Gill summit Water stop at Garsdale Ribblehead Near Selside Helwith Bridge Near Nappa (Hellifield - Blackburn line) Whalley Arches Climbing out of Blackburn Still waiting - Nottingham - Glasgow train