A Tribute to East Lancs Railway


It’s been a historical week-end on many levels associated with the return of the much loved Flying Scotsman. Whilst it’s understandable that all the headlines are about this beautiful locomotive I want to speak about and pay tribute to all those staff and volunteers on our heritage railway. As a recently elected chairman of this great heritage railway, it was very humbling to see and experience the monumental efforts that our people made in making the last few days such an outstanding success.

What the media and the public don’t see are all those dedicated people who provide all the infrastructure and support for our passengers and the public who came to watch and enjoy Scotsman but also to keep them safe. From my first visit to Barron Street at 7.30 on that cold Friday morning in the pouring rain; seeing the locomotive arriving at Bolton Street where it was last seen in 1993; welcoming diner passengers who were the first to ride behind Scotsman for the first time in 10 years through to our station staff handling huge crowds and where a lot of this work was carried out in appalling weather conditions.

This effort was typified on Saturday evening when I came to Bolton Street to meet n greet our diners. Scotsman at that stage was running over an hour late, with a packed platform. There I met Neil Roberts our Responsible Officer and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that he was completed soaked through. Neil and everyone connected with keeping the service running stuck with it in sorting out revised timetabling, organising a replacement locomotive in order to make sure all out ticket holders and diners enjoyed their ride on Scotsman.

As they say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.




6 thoughts on “A Tribute to East Lancs Railway

  1. Hi. I am a West York’s enthusiast who volunteers on the Worth Valley, at the NRM and for both WCR and RTC on main line charters. Together with a pal we came to Bury on Saturday evening and if I am honest expected to meet with strictly enforced regulations about platform entry.
    What I found was a very freindly railway where the staff were helpful despite quite a lot of stress and pressure caused by the late running.
    I was impressed by your railway.
    I thought you dealt well with all the circumstances and were a credit to’The heritage railway movement

    Well done.
    If the guy in the hi viz jacket is Neil Roberts I would particularly like to thank him for the help he gave me invitation ng one of the best images I have taken.
    Thank you


    1. Mark,
      Thank you for contacting me and your very kind comments about our staff. Your experience, I am pleased to say, is not uncommon, we have great staff. With regards to Neil Roberts, I first met Neil on the first night of the Flying Scotsman was hauling a VIP Diner. Neil was on duty as the Responsible Officer for trains and in particular Scotsman, which had been having technical problems earlier in the day and running over a hours late. It was a nightmare of problems and it was Neil’s’ responsibility to somehow sort them out. I arrived at the station in pouring rain and met Neil, who looked like a drowned rat but had the biggest smile and such a positive attitude to all his problems. What a great guy! Mike


  2. Hi mike I’ve spent some time at the railway since Monday its good to see the weekend has been a success. The down side is I’ve been asked who you are. By both volunteers and one paid member of staff I think a we should get together to change the company you need to win people like me over because I have a vote in what happens you don’t


    1. Hi Bill,

      Thanks you for your observations and feedback. As you will know one of my priorities is to be a high profile Chair and engage with volunteers and paid staff at every opportunities. Since I became Chair I have started a Chairs blog, which can accessed via the home page of the ELR website, where there have been over 6,000 viewings. I have a twitter account and frequently post photos of people I meet whilst on the railway. For example, I was at Bolton Street on Saturday and met volunteers working on the restoration of the Standard 4 Tank and posted their photos on twitter. You can see these @elrchairman. I have also a two page spread published in the next edition of the ELR news. Meeting everyone will take time but its a bit of a crusade for me to open up what the Board does as you will see with my last blog post ‘news from the boardroom’. Mike


  3. As both a working member (Bury Booking Office) and a passenger on the diner on Sat 9, I was so proud to be part of this momentous weekend. Both Laura Duncan and I worked hard all day keeping the queues moving and the money rolling in. Tiring but a memory never to be erased. Thank you for allowing me yo be part of it. As for the diner a brilliant evening enjoyed by all


    1. Graham,

      Thank you for contacting me. As the new Chair, I have been blown away in seeing the great contribution our volunteer members make in helping us to run this great railway. I know the Scotsman diner was late getting (I may have met you at the champagne reception) back but hopefully that didn’t spoil the experience.
      Finally, thanks for your continued support and contribution in such an important area of the railways activities. Mike


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