NBR steam on the S&C
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.
Maude lives at the
Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway
17 May 1980