Above ‘The Lancastrian’, just before departure
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Page 5 of 7
The Real Railway Children of Feniscowles
Page 5 of 7
In Winter, in the station house where we lived,it was very cold when you got up in a morning. Frost would form on the inside of the windows in the living room and we would quickly get the coal fire going. However, in the late 1960s, Blackburn became a smokeless zone, meaning that you could no longer burn coal or wood on your fire. You could use smokeless fuel though. So, with this in mind, we acquired a ‘Parkray’ smokeless fuel fire which turned out to be quite useless. The heat given off was no comparison to a coal fire and shortly after this it was substituted for a 5-bar gas fire called a Canon ‘Icebreaker’. Wow, what a difference, especially on 5- bars, this thing could melt anything in front of it! In March 1967 we were very surprised one Saturday lunchtime when a train arrived and a crowd of people began to form on the platform. We all got our coats and ran outside.
In the event, it turned out to be the last passenger train to visit Feniscowles and was the ‘Lancastrian Railtour’, an RCTS charter train (Railway Correspondence & Travel Society) that had originated from Manchester. Pulling this train of seven coaches was 70015 Apollo, a Britannia class pacific 4-6-2, one of the few remaining steam locomotives at that time and all the passengers were enthusiasts. The engine had to unhook from the front, run round and couple up at the other end of the train, to run tender-first back towards Cherry Tree and Blackburn before continuing to Darwen, Bolton and on to Liverpool before returning to Manchester.
The very last steam train to traverse the line to Feniscowles was shortly before the end of steam in 1968, when the breakdown crane was dispatched from Lostock Hall depot. This was needed when some wagons became derailed in the goods yard and a Stanier 8F came to the rescue. Below 70015 Apollo having just arrived with ‘The Lancastrian’ Railtour on Saturday 19th March 1967 Photo taken by Alan H Bryant, FRPS courtesy of www.railphotoprints.co.uk
Above and top right The very last steam hauled train to Feniscowles