Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Rocket 150, The Great Railway Exposition, Liverpool Road, Manchester, 10th September 1980

Rocket 150 took place in 1980, marking the 150th anniversary of the Rainhill Trials in 1829 and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway the following year. The Great Railway Exposition at Liverpool Road took place from 2nd August to 14th September.

On  Wednesday10th September 1980, I made a long student railcard journey to Manchester to see the exhibition, which took place at Liverpool Road station, now the Museum of Science & Industry. Also on the same day was a visit to Dinting, and my only opportunity to see the Class 76 electrics, of which regrettably no photos, partially because I was within a Class 506 EMU. Notable in my memory was the delay of the last train north that evening from Preston to Edinburgh, but my onward connection was thankfully held at Haymarket.  No mobile phones or RealTimeTrains in those days.

Coverage of the cavalcade at Rainhill is available on BBC iPlayer, presented by the late Brian Redhead. It is delightful to again hear his style of words, and I noted a  Class 40 in the background while he was presenting at 03:36. Cheltenham  is seen in steam at 27:03.

Also in retrospect, it is strange to reflect that this event took place only 12 years after the end of BR Steam.

The NRM Rocket replica giving very short rides at Liverpool Road. The poster says "Ask us today about coal, the fuel of the future". The building in the background is the Lower Campfield Market Hall, of 1882 now the air and space hall at the museum.
A more general view of the same location with Rocket in motion. The Class 08 on the left was 08477 which at the time was allocated to Longsight. This locomotive was new from Crewe to order E496  in January 1959 as D3592, and was withdrawn in December 1986, after which it was disposed of at Allerton depot in March 1990. In June 1980 it has been through works attention at BREL Swindon, just prior to the exhibition.
24081 (CD) was the last survivor of the class, by over a year at this time, and was on display at the exhibition soon before it was withdrawn in the following month. It had already worked its last revenue train in January 1980, and was used for exhibitions through the year. I was pleasantly surprised to find it here that day, there was always an element of surprise in those days, with no internet, and magazines publishing information which was a month to six weeks in the past. 24081 is now working on the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway.
Considering that my camera was an Instamatic, it is amazining that this picture worked out at all. The locomotives I can identify are:
Dane Road was a station in southern Manchester, now on Metrolink.
4472 Flying Scotsman, with 6115 Scots Guardsman in the background and Gresley Buffet coach 24287 to the right.
44008 Penyghent is seen rather lonely at the west end of the site. By this time only three members of the class existed, and these were all withdrawn two months later in November 1980. Now working at Peak Rail.

My spotting record from the grand day out:

Another set from the same exhibition - notable that the exhibits were moved around the site
Pictures of transition of the MOSI site