Winter Diesel Gala
The home locomotives 27001 and 37403 were joined by two guest class 70 locomotives provided by Colas Rail: 70807 and 70813. Throughout the day different combinations of these locos topped and tailed trains running up and down between Bo'ness and Manuel junction.
I decided to buy a Day Rover so that I could hop on and off trains and stay as long as I wished. This proved to be good value for money and I managed four round trips over the course of the day.
The early runs were delayed by some teething troubles with brakes on the coaching stock and the Class 70s were held back by an issue with the points off the mainline. On the second run up to Manuel the Class 70s were successfully attached to the front and back of the train. The late running meant that there often wasn't an opportunity to get off at Manuel so most of my photos were taken down at Bo'ness during shunting operations.
The first service of the day was fairly quiet but the second train was full of people and it continued that way for most of the day. I skipped one train around lunchtime whilst I stopped to get some food, but caught 37403 leading the train back along the foreshore which gave me some of the best photographic opportunities of the day.
With the sun setting by mid-afternoon I took one last run up to Manuel. This time the train stopped briefly at Birkhill station and I got off to have a look around; I've often thought about cycling up to Birkhill to watch the trains. After a wander around the station it was good to return to the warm train for the run back to Bo'ness as the sun set.
As well as the running locomotives, 47643 was stabled in the station's bay platform. This engine is needing wheel repairs and there is an ongoing crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds.