Typical! You plan a couple of days photting, book an advanced deal hotel room at the city of choice (in this case, it was my annual photographic trip to Carlisle) and wait for the sun. It’s July after all…and there’s the bonus of a DRS open day at Kingmoor too. Then, after the hottest and sunniest week of the year so far, a low pressure area the size of Montana races in off the Atlantic, garlanded with enough weather fronts that would make an Winter storm jealous and ‘washout’ is the word that springs to mind. So despite the ominous weather forecast, I set off for the West Coast Main Line on the Friday before the DRS open day event and find shaded sunshine at Metal Bridge, a location just south of the Scottish border at Gretna, on my arrival at 8 a.m. It won’t last, I tell myself, so make hay and take pictures whilst the sun shines…
Four hours and literally dozens of trains later, the sun had moved round making photography difficult so I decamped to the main station for the afternoon. Little did I know, that hordes of other enthusiasts had turned up to watch the action. Still, the sun was still shining and continued to do so, despite the forecast. Clearly, the Met Office had failed to inform the weather of what it was supposed to be doing at the time: raining.
Eventually, the rain turned up in the evening, cloud sliding in from the west during the late afternoon. Although I continued to take photographs into the night, including mail, coal and intermodal trains, the results were mediocre at best. One of the problems with photography at Carlisle these days is the changes in train crew patterns which means crew changes are not as common at Carlisle as they used to be. Consequently, trains do not pause long enough to permit long exposure photography after dusk. Anyway, the Saturday started dull, very wet and basically uninviting, not a good start for an open day event. Note the rain as the Carlisle-Tees intermodal passed the station.
It rained and rained – I was paying for the sunshine of the previous day! I left it until around midday before venturing to the DRS depot at Kingmoor to find the rain clearing and blue sky showing signs of breaking through the grey. No Kingmoor blue day for me this year. More like a grey day instead. Noteworthy were the Class 66s stored and stripped of their Vinyls and the Colas Rail liveried example amongst the sea of DRS blue.
Despite the typical English summer weather, the two days of photting turned out to be better than the Met Office would had me believe before I set off. As for variety of locomotive classes, I observed and photographed Class 20s, a Class 31; Class 37s, 47s, 57s, 66s (of various kinds) and Class 70s too. Electric locomotives included Class 86s and 92s. The surprise of the two days was this one: