29th November picture(s) of the day…

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As the last few weeks of autumn slip away and we enter the last month before winter (supposedly) sets in we’ve been enjoying a thoroughly foggy time here in the Calder Valley. Visibility hasn’t changed throughout the day, leaving the other side of the valley a memory. That said, it’s hardly a typical autumn. It’s been very wet and very mild. Of course, the usual suspects will claim this has absolutely nothing to do with man-made global warming. The rest of us who’ve lived long enough to have experienced a few decades of weather know that this is not normal. In my garden I still have Lobelia flowering. And Geraniums. There’s a lot of other fcuked-up plants as well. They’ve no idea what season this is meant to be. I suspect there’s quite a few wild animals wondering too.

Will the majority of people ever wake up to the reality of climate change before the damage becomes irreparable? Somehow, I doubt it – especially if it involves making personal sacrifices or lifestyle changes. After all, those gas guzzling SUVs are just so important for the school run, and the four-wheel drive is essential for popping down to Tescos.

You may have gathered I’m in cynical mode. Don’t worry, it won’t last. Well, not for long anyway. But my fuse when it comes to faux greens will always be measured in millimeters. You know the ones, they’re really Nimbys. They oppose any green development that’s going to impinge on their space on the grounds of ‘conservation’. Building HS2’s a classic example. Wind and solar farms are another. As far as they’re concerned, let the Maldives sink, as long as no-one chops any trees down around them whilst they’re alive.

OK, enough of the cynicism for now. I’ll have a full spleen-vent another day. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a couple of ethereal pictures from today’s stroll around home.

Scarr woods looking rather spooky.
There’s a valley down there somewhere…

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If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

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Thank you!

28th November picture of the day…

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It’s been a frustrating day here in Bigland Towers as I’ve been chained to a desk and hot computer all day. I’ve got lots of work done – including having edited all the pictures from the past few days but I’d been hoping to get out for my usual stroll to keep the exercise levels up. Dawn had to take the day off to go and help a friend. That wouldn’t have been a problem apart from the fact two parcels were due to be delivered, so I agreed to wait in until they arrived. Only neither of them did. One company claimed to have called but no-one was in (‘oh yes – I bloody well was’!) and the other never showed up or even left a message, so what little exercise I got consisted of pacing back and forth from the office to the front window, watching out for delivery vans. Ho hum, maybe tomorrow…

As a consequence, it’s a short blog from me today. Still, here’s a few links to the various galleries containing the lates batches of photographs.

The GWR franchise

TfL/Elizabeth line

The GTR franchise

Infrastructure and engineering

Railway stations

Railway people

And last, but not least, a new gallery dedicated to Saturday’s Class 315 commemorative event.

There’s plenty to look at and not all is about trains themselves but also the people, infrastructure and stations that make up our rail network.

I’ll be working from home again tomorrow planning some other sorties, both UK and abroad, but I’m determined to get out at some point, even if it is just a stroll around the valley. In the meantime, here’s today’s picture, which illustrates the sometimes-uneasy relationship we have with our feathered friends, especially in cities.

These tree pigeons are roosting on the handrail of the main staircase in the ‘Lawn’ at Paddington station where they’re surrounded by cafes and restaurants. There’s a constant stream of people passing by but they’ve come to a wary truce with them, even if the truce isn’t reciprocated due to the mass they make with their droppings. But as far as the pigeons are concerned, it’s warm and sheltered with plenty of scraps on offer…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Home again…

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I’ve had an ‘interesting’ journey back from Reading today, mainly because the railways were so busy! It’s bizarre that we still run a Sunday timetable (less frequent and often shorter trains) in this day and age as Sunday is anything but quiet. After leaving my hotel I went for a wander around Reading in order to buy some breakfast and also explore. We’d had heavy rain overnight so the streets were a mass of puddles. Even so, it was remarkably mild. The detritus of Saturday night’s bacchanalia could be found in shop doorways and at bus-stops. As you can see here!

I’m not surprised she ditched ’em. The heels must have been nearly 6 inches!

There’s some lovely old buildings in Reading, but despite the fact that it’s ostensibly a wealthy town, there’s a lot of dereliction and decrepitude. Having filled my stomach thanks to Greggs I headed for the station to catch a GWR service to London. The station was quiet, but the train wasn’t. I was surprised when a 5 car IET arrived from Oxford as the thing was absolutely rammed! I ended up jammed in a vestibule, standing all the way to London which wouldn’t have been too bad but engineering work had closed the Fast lines East of Slough which added another 10 minutes to the journey. Hardly a good start to my trip. I was in no rush so I hung around at Paddington for an hour in order to get some pictures and update the archives before heading for the Elizabeth line. It’s now possible to get from Paddington to Kings Cross without once using the tube by catching a ‘Lizzy line’ train to Farringdon, then picking up a Thameslink service to St Pancras, which is what I did.

At the Cross I headed for the 14:00 to Leeds. At least this was a 9-car ‘Azuma’ – and it needed to be! Sadly, the reservation system was kaput so I hedged my bets by securing space in the lead vestibule behind the drivers cab. It was a wise move. By the time all were aboard there wasn’t a spare seat to be had anywhere, but at least I had the vestibule to myself! I rather enjoyed the trip, despite being relegated to the floor because engineering work had closed the main line North of Peterborough, so we were routed through the Werrington ‘dive under’ (a new route for me) then along the GN/GE joint line via Lincoln to reach Doncaster the long way round.

It’s cosy in coach A…

Finally, on reaching Leeds there was on last surprise in store for me. The 17:19 Leeds – Manchester Victoria was another packed train but I was amazed to find it was a 5-car, which is unheard of! We were treated to a pair of CAF Class 195s in 3 and 2 car formations which meant I managed to secure a seat in the front car as most people hadn’t realised we’d got the extra set attached. Even I had to double-check with the Dispatcher!

So, now I’m home and looking forward to a few days away from the rails, catching up with editing all the pictures from the past few days. Expect to see them appear on my website over the next day or two. In the meantime, here’s a taster from Paddington.

800023 and 800013 arrive at Paddington with a service from the West Country earlier today.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. The Class 315 farewell…

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06:30.

I’m up showered and in dire need of coffee (no such luxuries in an ‘Easyhotel’ room) here in Reading, ready to head off to London to take part in the farewell tour of the Class 315 trains which have plied their trade in and out of London Liverpool St station since 1981. It makes me feel old. I moved to London in 1986 when these trains were just 5 years old. I used to watch them pass from the balcony outside our flat. Now they’re nearly all gone. Just last few sets remain and two of those will be working the tour to Shenfield today.

Right, time to go…

07:55.

I’m on my way! It’s another rail strike day so Reading station was deathly quiet this morning. On the bright side, Costa coffee was open so I’ve been able to get my caffeine fix.

The Elizabeth line isn’t affected by the strikes, so they’re running a normal service. Here’s my train.

What’s also running normally is revenue protection! Two officers are on my train and immediatelycaught two arrogant young men who thought buying tickets was for other people. An expensive mistake!

08:10.

My trip along the Great Western main line’s been an interesting one. So much has changed since I left London. And it’s still changing. I’ve just passed Old Oak Common and the site of the new HS2 station. I was here on a press trip the other day but it looks completely different when you pass it on a train as you get to see the start of work on the new main line station.

10:30.

Despite the strike a lot of people have turned up for today’s commemorative trips. Here’s the train before the first run.

21:45.

I’d intended to blog about the trip today but in the end I was just too busy taking pictures, so I’ll do a separate report on what turned out to be a very good day out. I don’t often do railtours nowadays, but I found this one really interesting because of the demographic it appealed to. Oh, and full credit to all those involved in making it happen. MTR, the Branch Line Society and Network Rail especially – not to mention many others. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture of the team at the end of the trips. My special thanks go to an old friend (Jon Bradley, bottom right) who was instrumental in making the event happen.

Right now I’m relaxing in my hotel in Reading after an ‘interesting’ journey on the ‘Lizzie Line’ thanks to an earlier incident outside Paddington on a day when (because of the strikes) plan B’s were hard to come by. Tomorrow I head back up North, so expect a more relaxed rolling blog as I’m under no pressure.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. Reading reprise…

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08:50.

I’m off to Reading on a fine and sunny autumn morning, which is a welcome change from all the wet weather we’ve been having recently. It certainly made walking to Halifax station far more pleasant! Despite being awake since the early hours (I often am when setting off on a trip) I left slightly later than planned so as not to disturb ‘the missus’ who’s not been sleeping too well recently.

The view across the Clader Valley as I slogged up the hill to Halifax this morning.

So, I’m now on a heroically late 07:52 Blackpool – York service. A signal fault en-route meant this 3-car Class 195 didn’t depart until 08:35, 42 minutes late! Still, it’s warm and not too crowded, so I’ve bagged a table to set up the mobile office and begin blogging. Let’s see how the rest of the journey goes…

‘Delay repay’ anyone?

09:30.

And relax! I’m now on an LNER ‘Azuma’ service to Kings Cross. This 10-car train originated in Bradford and it’s certainly busy. Most of the remaining empty seats are reserved for later in the journey so I expect it to be packed by the time it arrives in London. Still, I’ve blagged a table as far as Grantham so I can have a breakfast roll (or ‘teacake’ if you’re from Yorkshire, ‘barmcake’ if from Lancashire) and enjoy watching the world flash by the window whilst I do.

09:50.

We’re pulling out of Doncaster where dozens of people crammed into my coach, so I guess my guess this train will be full by London’s come true earlier than expected. Three bays are reserved from Grantham, which will come as a surprise to the people who’ve occupied the seats and not noticed! If the large group who’ve made the reservations turn up this could be fun! I’ll be gone by then as I’m moving to the other unit as soon as we arrive!

10:30.

My Grantham set-swop proved to be a wise choice. There was a big party of elderly people waiting to join us when we pulled in. Whilst it’s not unusual for individual reservations to be unused, such a big grouping is normally taken up. I can only imagine the chaos in the car when they descended on their reserved seats! I was long gone, having skipped into the rear set as soon as we arrived. There were far less reservations here and I managed to secure a table seat opposite a young lady busily bashing keys on her laptop. I’s say the rear set’s about 70% full, which makes for decent loadings when the front set’s jammed. And we haven’t stopped at Stevenage yet – where I’m going to bail out again, this time to catch a Thameslink service down to Farringdon. The cross-platform interchange here saves mucking around walking through two mainline stations and sets of ticket barriers at Kings Cross and St Pancras.

I’ve not traversed the ECML in daylight for a while, so I was surprised to see how many fields are flooded – a testament to all the heavy rain we’ve had in the North. Combined with the blue skies we’ve got today it would have made ideal conditions for lineside photography and reflection shots. Ho hum!

15:00.

Sorry for the gap but I’ve been busy. I’m now in the leafy Thames Valley (yep, even this time of year the trees are hanging on to their fiage). Getting here was fun. My Thameslink connection worked well so I was at Farringdon in no time. Then it was a fast walk down steps and escalators to get to the “Lizzie line” and a train Westwards to Paddington. Considering Crossrail has only been open a few months the passenger loadings are excellent.

Whilst I could’ve got a train straight through idecided to stop off at Paddington for a while – just for old times sake as I rarely visit nowadays. When I lived in London it was an old haunt as it was the gateway to the Thames valley, where we often went cycling, or further trips to the SouthWest.

Thames valley service have changed out of all recognition now. Not only is the route electrified but the GWR services are interspersed with Elizabeth line services that (as the old name implied) cross London, bypassing Paddington.

21:45.

What a fascinating but rather surreal day. Most of it was spent exploring Thames valley rail services which made me appreciate just how much has changed. Nearly all of it’s been for the better, although I mourn the old overall roof at Maidenhead that used to cover the branch line to Marlow. So few of these Great Western features have survived. I ventured West of Reading to catch an electric train to Newbury, which was a first for me. It’s an instructive lesson in how previous Government Ministers and the Dept of Transport have made penny-pinching decisions that make absolutely no sense in the long-term. But long-term isn’t a concept in many politician’s minds. On arrival at Newbury I hung around as the next train back to Reading was 30 mins away. In the meantime passengers from London to Bedwyn (the limit of GWR regional services) had to change to a DMU for the rest of the journey, which takes all of 19 minutes. Madness.

A waste of resources, much?

Now I’m relaxing in my hotel in Reading, editing pictures from today and (half) watching some memory lane TV. Flicking through the channels I discovered the Kenny Everrett video show – a programme I loved which has taken me straight back to my youth which has helped make this trip very much the old football analogy of ‘ a game of two halves’.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

24th November picture of the day…

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There’s a short blog from me tonight as I’m off on my travels again first thing tomorrow morning. After a busy day picture editing and filing and packing as well as staying out of the torrential showers we’ve had it’s time to curl up with Dawn and a film. But, I will leave you with today’s picture before I go.

Whilst I was at the dentists the other day we got talking about tooth care in different parts of the world. I mentioned a street dentist I’d encountered in India. Everyone was curious, so I called the picture up on my phone (the beauty of having all my pictures on a website). Meet Mr Gurbachan Singh, street dentist and resident of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Well, he was on the 31st October 1991 when I took the picture. Somehow I suspect he’s at best retired, if not expired.

Thankfully, I never required his services! He was a delightful chap to talk to tho’…

Expect a rolling blog tomorrow as I make my way down to Reading where I’ll be based for the next couple of nights, plus blogs on Saturday’s trip out for the Railway Children and my return North on Sunday.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. A dental diversion….

I had to visit my Dentist in Huddersfieldthis morning for a routine check-up and time with the hygenist for a clean and polish. The weather was awful this morning as the valley was blanketed in mist and rain so Dawn very kindly gave me a lift there. I’m one of those rare people who really isn’t bothered by dentists but even so, it was good to hear my teeth and gums are in excellent shape!

I didn’t bother taking the camera bag as I doubted I’d need it. Instead I only brought the D5 and 50mm lens, so I was kicking myself when I left the dentists to find the sun had broken through, leaving the day looking very different indeed. After walking into the town centre I decided to take the scenic way home via Manchester and caught a TPE service to Stalybridge where I could catch a local train to Manchester Victoria. Sadly, the good weather didn’t last. My arrival into ‘Stalyvegas’ coincided with another wet weather front so I didn’t hang around.

My Staly’ steed was one of Northern’s ‘new’ Class 156s cascaded from East Midlands Railway. Repainted on the outside, it still carries EMT seat mocquette.

Traversing the line via Ashton-under-Lyne I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Progress with electrifying the line has reached the stage where contact wire runs have started appearing.

14:00.

My time in Manchester was brief, just long enough to grab a couple of shots whilst changing trains.

TPE’s 802206 about to head in the direction I’ve just come from…

Now I’m heading back across the Pennines to home – hoping to avoid a soaking in the process! This time my steed’s a busy 2-car class 195 bound for Leeds via Bradford Interchange. I was rather surprised to see it so busy on a Wednesday afternoon, but then you never know on this line. The train remained busy all the way to Halifax, where I abandoned it to walk home, braving the chance of a downpour.

Ready for the off. 195018 working solo as the 13:55 from Manchester Victoria – Leeds via Bradford Interchange.

16:30.

Now I’m back at home for the rest of the day, enjoying the warmth of the office and chance to catch up with some forward planning before another hectic few days, starting on Friday when I travel down to Reading, where I’ll be based for a couple of days. On Saturday I’m volunteering to help the ‘Railway Children’ charity as the Branch Line Society are running a series of Class 315 ‘farewell’ trips between London Liverpool St and Shenfield. Unfortunately, Saturday’s also another day where strikes affect many of the train companies. Thankfully, they don’t affect the Elizabeth line from Reading to Liverpool St. Hence me basing myself there!

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

More HS2 progress at Old Oak Common.

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It’s a short blog from me tonight as it’s been a long old day and it’s time for bed! This morning I was at the HS2 construction site at Old Oak Common in London to see the Rail and HS2 Minister, Huw Merriman MP, start the new conveyor belt that will carry the London clay being excavated from the HS2 station box across to the former Willesden Eurotunel sidings where the spoil will be removed by rail. Eventually, the 1.7 mile long conveyor system will link three HS2 construction sites to Willesden.

Here’s Huw pressing the button to start the conveyor.

There a whole series of pictures showing construction progress in my dedicated HS2 gallery on my Zenfolio website. You can find them by following this link.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. It’s going to be a long 24 hours…

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22:30

Normally, my rolling blogs would be winding down at this time of day, but this one’s just begun. The reason for that is that my diary has too many back-to-back events in it this week, not helped by timings changing. This evening I had an appointment near Huddersfield which I didn’t want to miss. That was a bit of a bugger as I need to be in London early tomorrow morning for a press event I can’t disclose right now. I’d originally arranged to stay with an old friend in the metropolis, but the times of the press event were moved forward. This meant I wouldn’t have arrived at his gaffe until after midnight, only to leave before 6am! So, having perused various railway timetables, looked at the weather (wet) and considered various options I’m now taking the opportunity to get a few night shots as I make my way South via York.

My first train was a TPE service from Huddersfield, worked by a Class 802. It wasn’t busy. Passengers consisted of students, a few late-finish workers and the odd shoppers who’d been hitting Manchester for a spot of Xmas retail therapy. Our trip to Leeds was easy. I had time to set up the laptop at a spare table and catch up on some work before we arrived. That’s when it got interesting. Our Geordie Conductor came on the PA to announce we’d be taking longer than usual to get to York as we’d be taking ‘the long way’ round via Castleton and Milford Junction – a very unusual route for TPE services and one I’ve not traversed for years. What a shame it was in the dark!

802205 during its layover at Leeds. The fact what should be the front is displaying tail-lights suggests all is not normal.

23:55.

Here I am at York, taking time to relax, charge up my various devices in one of the super-duper waiting shelters whilst watching the trains go by and plan a few photos. I’ve been coming to York station since I was a boy – which feels like a bloody long time ago right now! With the town hosting the National Railway Museum I’ve been here lots of time for various work events too – something I’d never have dreamt of as a kid. Funny how life turns out, isn’t it?

Whilst I’ve been observing the place I noticed these new switch panels laying in the space where the old through tracks used to pass. On closer inspection I noticed something that’s very unusual for the UK but typical in Europe. Can you spot what it is?

08:00.

Sorry for the gap. I fell asleep on the train to London. Here’s my steed at York before we departed. – 91105.

We arrived in London at 07:00. After a brisk walk on a cold morning with clear skies I swapped lines to catch this.

Rolling blog. An impromptu day out…

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10:37.

My original plan to work at home today has been altered by a change in the weather. The forecast for the next few days is lousy but today (so far) has bucked the trend – and the forecast – so I’m heading over to Manchester for a couple of hours in the hope of checking on progress on Trans-Pennine electrification and return clothes I bought from Uniqlo the other day. I’m flattered to say that ‘medium’ size is just too big!

Right now I’m on the train from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester Victoria. It’s a Chester bound service operated by a pair of 2-car Class 195s which is pretty busy for the time of day although I had no problem bagging a table seat to set up the mobile office. This is a lovely time of year to be traversing the Calder valley as the colours in the remaining leaves on the trees are glorious and the low winter light shows them at their most intense. I only hope the sunshine I’m seeing now stays with me. Let’s see. Expect some pictures soon…

11:15.

Neither my luck nor the weather’s held, so it’s time for a different mode of transport to Shank’s pony…

13:50.

That was an interestinginterlude! I caught a couple of trams out to Ashton-Under-Lyme which turned out to be a good idea as the rain persisted until a few minutes after I arrived. The plan was to have a look at progress electrifying the line from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge. This should have been completed years ago but it was one of the schemes delayed by political dithering. Now it’s well underway. Now, most of the masts and stanchions are in place.

802206 speeds through Ashton-under-Lyme en-route from Liverpool Lime St to Newcastle whilst the masts march towards Stalybridge.

16:00.

I chose to walk between Ashton and Stalybridge in order to check out the views from various bridges on the way. It was an interesting trip as it took me down all sorts of streets I’d never explore otherwise. The area’s a maze of brick-built, late Victorian terrace houses with patches of much wealthier properties. But not all’s well. In the space of a couple of hundred meters I passed three closed pubs. One was derelict, one was ‘closed until further notice’ and the other was up for sale.

I find derelict pubs terribly sad buildings as I can imagine all the happy times people must have had there in the past. They were community centres, but now they’re dying.

I arrived at ‘Stalyvegas’ station just as the rain did, so ended up with a soaking, but I dried out on the train back into central Manchester, where I am now, indulging in my least favourite activity. Shopping!

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!