22nd Annual Railcar Convention

East Lancashire Railway, 3rd-5th November 2017.


The 2017 annual Railcar Convention returns to the East Lancashire Railway this year, 17 years after the last convention there. It promises to be a good event which is firmly following a gala format this year. Railcars will be taking over the 12 miles of line between Rawtenstall and Heywood for two days of running, interspersed with other attractions over the weekend.


An exciting line up is planned which all being well should see the most varied DMU line up to be seen at a gala since the memorable 2004 Railcar50 event. Subject to availability on the day and the successful completion of major overhauls the sets are as follows:

-Star Visitor Class 109 2-car 50416/56171 (Normally based at the Llangollen Railway)
-Possibility of a second visitor (TBC)
-Class 104 2-car 50455/50517 (Returning after bodywork overhaul carrying BR Blue for the first time in preservation)
-Class 105 2-car 51485/56121 (Making its public debut after a 20 year rebuild from scrap condition)
-Class 110 3-car 51813/59701/51842 (The return of an East Lanc's favourite following almost 15 years away)
-Class 117 2-car 51339/51382 (Possibly its final runs on the railway)
-Class 122 "bubble car" 55001
-Class 504 EMU (static display only)

With a maximum of two visiting units, three restoration debuts and a swansong run before moving on, the planets are well and truly aligned making it an event not to be missed.


As is now traditional, Friday is closed to the general public with some sets in service operating Driver Experiences for Railcar Association members. Further details of which sets will be available and details of how to book will be added in due course.

We can confirm that the Class 105 will not be one of the sets in use on experiences.

Friday Evening

There will be a night photo shoot organised by the Richard Newton of the 3P21 group after the driver experiences have finished. It is planned to have sets positioned in Bolton St Station and suitably lit for photography with people in period dress to complete the scenes.

TRA members are being given first opportunity to book on it before it's opened up to other participants. There are only 20 places available (To avoid people getting in one another's way). Anyone wishing to partake should email Richard Newton. Cost of participation is £35.


Saturday is planned to be the main day for events with an intensive railcar service in operation all day. Tail loads using a BR CCT and LMS Stove-R will be in operation, as will a Class 40 drag (40135 dragging a matching Blue 104 has been requested).

The AGM for the Railcar Association is planned for the Saturday afternoon, more details to follow. Included in the meeting will be a talk from an ex Cambridge depot supervisor on the Kings Cross suburban DMU fleets, which included many Class 105 sets making it very fitting for this event.

Saturday Evening

The traditional convention Fish & Chip evening special will operate on the Saturday evening. Details on how to book will be added nearer the event. The organisers would appreciate it for anyone already planning on attending the event and booking on the Fish & Chip special, to send an E-mail here giving a quick expression of interest. This will assist the caterers and organisers in gauging the demand for this evening special during the planning stages of the event.


Sunday will see more intensive railcar services in operation all day with tail loads and Class 40 drag.