Slate Train Day
With 42 timetabled trains, plus shunt moves, a busy gala day on the Sefton & West Lancs Light Railway, seeing the launch of a rake of 3 Sharples slate wagons and 4 Binnie slate wagons, entry into traffic of our yellow Ruston shunter after some re-soldering and opening of our Quarry Sidings.
20th may 2020
Phase 2 supporters day
RWM Salem II operated special passenger trains from Porthmelling to Aughtonside for supporters to view Prince hauling demonstration goods around the balloon loop. Prince hauled a mixture of slate wagons, Talyllyn & Corris freight stock both ways around the loop. At the end of the day Rufford took a run around the loop before hauling the last passenger train back to Porthmelling facing East.
Slate loop opening
No. 2 Prince and Ruston shunter No. 1 in operation as special members passenger service commenced around the slate balloon loop. Trains ran from Porthmelling, clockwise around the balloon loop, before running round at Aughtonside and returning to Porthmelling. The last train of the day ran from Porthmelling to Aughtonside platform 1, before running anticlockwise to Porthmelling.
Prince hauled the passenger trains formed of a mixture of bug boxes with Curly Brake Van on the rear, alongside a selection of freight trains, while the Ruston shunter shunted in the slate sidings at Aughtonside.
20th June 2020
23rd june 2020
PHASE 3 Opening
On Wednesday 21st July 2020, phase 3 Aughtonside to Porthmelling 'Bluebell line' opened. Prince hauled the opening train, with No. 3 Rufford Hall sharing main line duties, with shunters numbers 1 and 4 on pilot duties, No. 1 at Aughtonside slate sidings and No. 4 at Porthmelling. The day saw the entry into service of a newly arrived and freshly repainted Van 3 and two Ffestiniog coal waggons (correct spelling for Ffestiniog wagons). A busy service with mixture of passenger and freight services was ran.
Phase 4 Opening
An intensive gala timetable was ran to celebrate the opening of the line to Sefton station. With 32 trains timetabled, plus shunting moves, the event saw No. 2 Prince and No. 3 Rufford Hall in action of main line passenger and goods turns. Ruston shunter No. 1 was yard pilot at Aughtonside slate sidings, while Hudson shunter No. 4 was in action as Sefton station pilot.
7th Nov 2020
On Christmas Eve, the railways first Santa Specials ran:
- The Snowman (No. 3 Rufford Hall) hauled the Santa Specials from Sefton to Porthmelling via Aughtonside (before running round and taking a second trip around the balloon loop).
- Midlander hauled Santa's goods train to Porthmelling
- Prince hauled the Victorian Christmas Train from Sefton to Aughtonside.
Mince Pie Specials
The final running session of 2020 was run in a snowy setting and with frozen points. It was decided to run Mince Pie Specials in a top and tailed format, between Sefton and Porthmelling. The first train ran double headed to Porthmelling, where a shunt release was made to move Prince to the Sefton end of the train, before returning to Sefton.
For the second run a decision was made to continue the trains to Aughtonside and up Quarry Bank, stopping just short of Sefton Junction, which was suffering from frozen points.
At the end of the day with snowy conditions and the Ffestiniog Railway Coal Wagons and Van 6 needing to be returned to Sefton to have the Christmas decorations unloaded, Prince was used to haul them from Porthmelling to Sefton, performing a number of run pasts along the Bluebell line for the camera.