Bury in October: folk and steam

By a happy coincidence, the East Lancs Railway's Autumn Steam Gala coincided with the Homegrown Folk Festival, and what's more, my favourite folk group The Unthanks were on! Mount the air!

Hanging in the Portrait gallery
First on my list, however, last Friday, was a visit to the newly extended Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. So, it was on a tram and then a bus down Oxford Road, past the museum and countless university buildings to the Manchester Royal Infirmary and across the road, the Whitworth. First impression was that it was spacious, then disappointment to see the watercolours, for example, including the Willian Blakes hanging right up to the ceiling (no captions either, but there's a written key available in each room). The main exhibition was Art Textiles and I enjoyed seeing Cornelia Parker's embroidery of the Wikipedia entry for the Magna Carta! Also impressed by the obsessive pencil drawings of Richard Forster.

Whitworth cafe in the trees
I should have gone to the Cafe in the Trees when there was no queue, but didn't. On the blackboard outside was listed soup and three salads. I later found out you could have everything for £7.50. But the cafe had a strange MO: you queue, get allocated a table, queue again at the counter, pay and take a number and the food is delivered to your table. The food was good tho, with much needed vitamins!

Romanesco and beetroot soup
On the way back I checked out the refurbished Victoria station and popped into Bury Art Gallery. I was impressed by the exhibition of political art, including some blue plates with nuclear power stations on by Paul Scott. Sad to see that the little cafe there is gone!

34092 Wells and BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4 Tank No. 80080
34092 Wells and 80080 at Rawtenstall
On Saturday it was time for trains. I bought a concession round trip for £13 and the first train out was the 12.15 to Rawtenstall, pulled by a double header of 80080 and 34092 Wells. At Rawtenstall, 80080 ran around leaving Wells at the back. It's never easy to get good snaps on a Gala weekend but there was a particularly annoying family taking lots of pix of their kids in front of the engine. After they'd finished they stood around chatting while we were waiting… I asked nicely if we could take some pictures now, and the woman got all sarcastic with me, saying she wanted to take our (me and some other train spotters) photos!

Ex-L&Y A Class 0-6-0 No. 12322
A-Class 12322
On the way back,  I alighted at Ramsbottom to buy a butter pie (for tea) in the market and a not very nice £1 sandwich from Morrisons. The next train along was pulled by 13065, with 34092 and 12322 as bankers. Back at Bury I took the Autocoach to Heywood and back, with a not particularly good seat. Then it was time for a pint of Titanic Plum Porter in the Trackside bar and back for tea of butter pie and a baked potato.

inside the cab of GWR pannier tank 6430
Look, no driver! The Autocoach loco 6430
For the record, the locos in steam were:
  • Ex-GWR 0-6-0 Pannier Tank No. 6430 with Autocoaches 167 and 163
  • SR West Country Class 4-6-2 No. 34092 'Wells'
  • BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4 Tank No. 80080
  • LMS Hughes Fowler Crab 2-6-0 No. 13065
  • Ex-L&Y A-Class 0-6-0 No. 12322
  • WD Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 132 ‘Sapper’
  • WD Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 75008 ‘Swiftsure’
  • Hudswell Clark 0-6-0 No. 32 ‘Gothenburg’
GWR pannier tank 6430
Pannier tank 6430 in the Autocoach sandwich
 Saturday night we met Adele in The Robert Peel Wetherspoons, thence to our front row seats at the Drill Hall for wonderful The Unthanks, with big band, supported by singer/songwriter Gren Bartley (with trio of pretty women playing fiddle, cello and drums) and the Andy May Trio - Northumbrian pipes, fiddle and guitar - only instrumentals. All washed down with Silver Street Brewing Co session beer. A big thank you to my favourite niece Debs for organising it!

LMS 12322 at Ramsbottom
A Class 12322
Sunday, first out was the Autocoach to Ramsbottom. The GWR Autocoach was a forerunner to the DMU and it meant that the driver can control the engine (which sits in between two coaches) from either end, by means of rods and levers. It still needs a stoker to fire the engine, however. In Rammy, it was the Pie Festival, so I bought a hot Thai green curry veggie one for now and a Double Bomber cheese and onion to take home. It was thus called cos it contains Thwaites Lancaster Bomber ale and Lancashire Bombe cheese! Then it was on to Rawtenstall pulled by 34092 with 12322 and 13065 as bankers. I stayed on board as no engine was running round and we returned to Bury, losing the two bankers at Rammy. There were too many locos for the trains, so nearly every one was a double header and/or with bankers at the back!

Swiftsure and Sapper
Double header of W^D tanks Sapper and Swiftsure
At Ramsbottom I met up with a Facebook friend and back at the Trackside in Bury had a pint of Blue Bee Tempest Stout, foregoing a trip to Heywood and back!

LMS Hughes Fowler Crab 2-6-0 No. 13065
The Crab at Ramsbottom
More photos on Flickr.