© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Here's another set of snaps from the archives - the results of a day's exploration of the Manchester area in the early 80s, dull weatherwise, but richly varied in terms of what we saw. Looking back, it's really amazing just how much the railway scene has changed - none of the depicted motive power remains on the locations visited, and only one location still sees rail traffic... The Woodhead route was, of course, doomed. In April 1981, it had only months to live. We chose the eponymous station site at the west end of the tunnel for a photo - a surprisingly long east- bound freight. In the early 80s, there were still several narrow gauge industrial lines in use - we had two 2' 0" gauge sites in mind for this trip. First, we would visit the North West Water Authority's Ashton works at Dukinfield, home to a relatively new Hudson Hunslet, "Chaumont", HU LX1002 of 1968. It didn't look as though it saw much use, if the grass-grown rails are anything to go by, though we were suitably grateful to the employee who started it up and drove it out into the open air for us. Chaumont remained on site for another 10 years or so - and lives on as a member of the Moseley collection. We also spent a little time trying to find the Guide Bridge site of Ashton Canal Carriers, home to a Ruston and a pair of Hunslets - but we couldn't find it! The Bury electrics - BR class 504 - had ten years more to run. They had previously run to Bury Bolton Street (now home of the East Lancs Railway) - in 1980, they were diverted to the new Bury Interchange station, and it was to the latter that we made our way. The 504s, of course, no longer run - the Bury line became the northern arm of Metrolink in 1992. A curious feature of the new spur was the crossing on the level of the line from Castleton to Rawtenstall - though whether the crossing ever saw use, I'm not sure, as the coal traffic on the branch ceased in 1980. The current E Lancs line crosses the Metrolink line by a bridge, with some fearsome gradients on either side. My companion on this trip worked for the CEGB (remember the CEGB?) - "we might be able to get into Kearsley and Agecroft". We did - no problem! Kearsley power station was not in operation, so we had to be content with static shots of the interesting steeple-cab electrics. The railway looked as though it had not been used for some time; given that the power station officially closed in 1981, it had perhaps already been used for the last time. In "preserved" state was No 1, Hawthorn Leslie 3682 of 1927; nos. 3 and 4 were RSHN 7078 of 1944 and 7284 of 1945. Lastly, our visit to Agecroft. The three RSHN 0-4-0ST locos were kept in remarkable (though hardly what one would think of as "industrial") condition - painted red, blue and green, they were quite a sight. They weren't in use though - again, we had to be content with some static shots. The power station's main source of coal was the nearby colliery. Connected by a conveyor, there was no work for the locomotives, and later that year, we attended a "Last" open day when the locos were steamed. Agecroft Nos. 1, 2 and 3 were RSHNs, 7416 and 7485 of 1948, and 7681 of 1951 (yes, newer than the electrics at Kearsley). Of the locos seen at the two power stations, electrics 1 and 3 are preserved, as are all three steamers. Electric no. 4 was rebuilt the following year as a battery electric, and lives on at Heysham power station. Link: Industrial Railway Society Their days numbered, a pair of 76s on an east-bound freight, Woodhead "Chaumont" emerges into the daylight "Chaumont" at NWWA, Dukinfield "Chaumont" and grass-grown rails Cl 504 trailer car M77175 at Bury Interchange Cl 504 power car M65453 (the crossing is just behind the train) Kearsley's No 1 No. 1 at Kearsley RSHNs nos. 3 and 4, Kearsley Nos 3 & 4, dwarfed by the power station Driver's eye view - from no. 3, looking up towards the exchange sidings No. 3's view of no.4 No. 4 and no. 3 Trio of RSHNs, Agecroft "Agecroft No 3" "Agecroft No. 1"