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Spring in the Pennines

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A rare event in the Pennines, we’ve had two days of brilliant weather in a row. Yesterday was glorious as it was the hottest of the year so far with hours of uninterrupted sunshine which prompted me to eschew work on our new bathroom to make the most of the good weather and go for a stroll. Here’s a few pictures from my wanderings around Sowerby Bridge.

 

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With the Wainhouse Tower dominating the skyline above, Northern Pacer 142028 pulls away from Sowerby Bridge station en-route to Leeds. These railbuses are living on borrowed time as they’ll all disappear from Northern metals in the next two years. 

 

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Magnolia flowering in the churchyard in Sowerby Bridge

 

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The 253 ft tall Wainhouse Tower dominates the local skyline. Built as a chimney for a local dye works in 1875 but never used, it’s a classic Victorian folly and reputedly the tallest in the world. When the chimney’s open to the public you can climb up to the top via the 369 step spiral staircase. 

 

If you want to visit the Wainhouse Tower and climb up to the top, check out the Visit  Calderdale website for details.

 

 

 

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Bits and pieces

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The title of this blog sums up my day. It’s been a real mixture that’s not always gone to plan. I’d originally intended to spend most of it finishing off work on our bathroom which  is a project that’s dragged on for months – much to the wife’s chagrin! To ensure marital harmony I’d set aside a few days to move the project on but fell foul of the Harold Macmillan doctrine (“events, dear boy, events”) to get interrupted by a work issue. I won’t name the party concerned, but it seems a former client was still using pictures that the licence for expired years ago. To their credit the new member of staff who’d taken over got in touch with me as soon as this was pointed out and we’ve got things sorted out, but I ended up trawling through old electronic databases looking for paperwork dating from 2005. The obvious moral of the story is – be good at filing!

Dusting off the archives meant that the bathroom took a backseat. Thankfully, Dawn understood so a divorce was averted!

The frustrating thing is that spring has (finally) sprung and we’ve had temperatures up in the high teens today so my shutter finger’s getting itchy – especially as the forecast is looking great for the next few days. I may need to renegotiate the T&C’s over the bathroom…

Another frustration’s been listening to news of the UK’s never ending political fcukwittery. I can honestly say I can’t remember a worse time than this since the early 1970s. Not only are both major parties embroiled in their own particular shambles – Teresa May with the Windrush backlash and Corbyn with anti-Semitism, both have right royally screwed us over in the Brexit shambles. My only hope is that a huge number of people register their displeasure in the local elections next month and send a clear message to both Labour and Tories that we’re not prepared to jump off the Brexit cliff with them – or for them. Otherwise, I can see a reverse Windrush happening as people abandon a country in (self-imposed) isolation and decline.

What image is the UK projecting to the world?

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The more I read about the way the Government and Home Office are handling the ‘Windrush scandal’ surrounding the children of Commonwealth citizens that came to Britain In the 1960s, the more I despair of this country’s reputation.  Channel 4 news have been highlighting the problem since January. This report is (quite frankly) disgusting.

People who’ve lived here for decades and thought they had the absolute right to do so are being treated appallingly. Some may even have been deported illegally, the Home Office doesn’t know and can’t be bothered to find out as it would cost too much money!

This is only part of the problem. The other part is the plight of the EU citizens caught in limbo following the Brexit referendum. There’s about 3.5 million of them. They’ve no idea what the future holds for them as no-one has a clue what the outcome of negotiations will be. Many are already leaving due to the uncertainty and the increasing hostility towards them, not just from ordinary people but authorities like the Home Office, which by any reasonable take seems at best incompetent and at worst, to be pursuing a deliberate policy of intimidation.

We shouldn’t be surprised really, who was the Home Secretary at the time policy was changed and the poisonous atmosphere towards people from other shores began to manifest itself? Step forward our current Prime Minister, Teresa May. Her culpability is explained in this very good comment piece in the London Evening Standard, where former Chancellor George Osborne is enjoying the opportunity to settle a few old scores!

Of course, all of these problems aren’t just reported in the UK media, they’re reported around the world. Teresa May’s stupid refusal to meet Caribbean heads of state to discuss the matter has been reported too – as was her climb down and apology. But it’s too late, the damage to the UK’s reputation’s been done. It’s not just the media that’s spreading the word either. Every person who’s returned to their country of origin after suffering bigotry and hostility will be telling people too. Our reputation as a decent, tolerant, welcoming country is being trashed. What was our national broadcasters response to all this? On Saturday it broadcast (in full, for the first time) Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘Rivers of blood’ speech (despite widespread criticism) making matters worse, not better. Bigotry and intolerance is fashionable again.

It makes me so, so angry.

The situation’s not going to get any better. The bigots are in charge now, both on the streets and in Government. Brexit will continue to make things worse as the shambles will continue – with the added attraction of the scandal of Cambridge Analytica, UKIP and the Leave campaign ‘buying’ the referendum result.

Later, after writing this, came the latest revelation. That the Home Office (under Teresa May) destroyed the landing cards of 1000s of Windrush arrivals that had been kept safe for decades. Then, when people enquired, told them that no official records of their arrival existed! No, they wouldn’t – you went and bloody destroyed them!

I fear for the future of my country. What on earth have we become?

Down memory lane No 2: A tale of two pictures.

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I’ve been scanning more old slides today. There’s an ecletic mix which includes royalty, personal shots going back 20 odd years, travel images and also railway shots. Two of the rail shots caught my eye as they sum up how much has changed since they were taken in 2001. Not just on the railways, but also across London. Neither of these shots are possible now.

Here’s the first example. A Waterloo to Paris Eurostar (set 3211) passes Vauxhall on the 25th January 2001 with the Houses of Parliament providing a historic backdrop.

08736. 3211. Eurostar with Parliament in the background. Vauxhall. 25.1.01

There’s two reasons why this is a historical shot nowadays, although only one is probably immediately obvious (to railway enthusiasts at least). In 2007 Eurostars stopped using Waterloo and the ‘classic’ line through South London because the service was transferred to St Pancras International. The second reason’s because new building has blocked off the view of Parliament. London’s booming housing market has meant that a row of apartments now occupy the land next to the railway.

Here’s another historic view from the same year, taken a month later on the 25th February 2001. One of the (then) brand new Gatwick Express units (460004) leaves London’s Victoria station with the 15:00 service to Gatwick Airport.

08954. 460004. 15.00 to Gatwick Airport. Victoria. 25.2.01

Both railway enthusiasts and London commuters will get this one but probably for different reasons. The Alstom built Class 460s are already history, having been withdrawn by 2012 to be converted into the Class 458/5’s. OK, the old slam door train behind it has gone too – but the biggest change in this scene is the iconic view of the old Battersea Power station. The area’s now part of a massive housing redevelopment which has hemmed in the power station and closed off the view.

I consider myself fortunate that I lived in London for so long and managed to capture shots like this. As the old Joni Mitchell song lyric says, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’…

West Yorkshire rambling

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We had some beautiful weather in Yorkshire yesterday, hours of sunshine on what’s been the warmest day of the year so far. We joined a couple of friends who live in Sowood for a ramble around the countryside where they live, high up in the Pennines. I’m still a relative newcomer to this neck of the woods so there’s still plenty of places for me to discover and yesterday was no exception. What was lovely was having a local guide. Our friend Clive has spent quite a bit of time reconnoitring the area so he had a lovely walk planned for us. One of the beauties of this part of West Yorkshire is the elevation – as you can see from the photo’s. I’m not going to describe the walk in great detail. Instead, I’ll let you enjoy the pictures.

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The country lane that took us out of Sowood towards the M62, gaining height as we went. The views were superb, even thought the weather was hazy. This is a wide angle view looking back towards Halifax.

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Looking across the valleys. In the middle distance is Norland Moor. Beyond that is the Calder Valley (which you can’t see – for obvious reasons), then there’s the edge of Halifax and an area called Norton Tower. Beyond that are the wind turbines on far-away Ogden Moor. 

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Looking down over Sowood across to Halifax in the middle distance.

 

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The view in the opposite direction to the last few pictures, looking across the M62 motorway, which was built across the massive earthworks that form the dam of the Scammonden Reservoir 

 

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Would you believe that this little waterfall exists only a couple of hundred yards away from the M62 motorway? We passed through this lovely glade on our way to Scammonden

 

 

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The dam that holds back the Scammonden reservoir. How many people drive along the M62 motorway atop this structure and have no idea of its size? Most, probably…

 

 

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This is what the dam contains. Scammonden  reservoir’s a popular place with hikers, dog-walkers and outdoor pursuit enthusiasts as it has an outward bound centre.  

 

 

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Spring is here. The massive amount of rain we’ve had these past few months mean the fields are muddy, but very, very lush. Now the trees are bursting into leaf, which means skeletal shadows like this will disappear very soon.

 

 

Down memory lane. No 1- a day out to Bescot.

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I’ve been scanning a new batch of old slides which has taken me on a real trip down memory lane, to the 2nd of June 1994 to be precise, and a day out from London to Bescot marshalling yard in the West Midlands nearly 24 years ago. The pictures I took of what seemed quite ordinary, everyday scenes during the last years before rail privatisation are now rather special as they show just how much has changed on Britain’s railways since then. I’d been visiting Bescot since the late 1970’s. It was always a good place to observe rail operations as it was a busy marshalling yard with a loco depot that had a station right next door! This meant the place was popular with railway enthusiasts and there’d normally be a gaggle of people on the station footbridge.  Here’s a look at what was happening that day…

 

03851. 08765. Shunting the Down Yard. Bescot. 2.6.94

Class 08765 shunting the Down Yard at Bescot. These ubiquitous engines used to be seen up and down the network and still survive in service today – although in vastly reduced numbers.  

 

03852. 47478. Shunting the Up sidings. Bescot. 2.6.94

Class 47 no 47478 shunts a Seacow ballast wagon in the Up yard which is full of Civil Engineers wagons which lie idle until the weekend. This particular locomotive survived in service for a few more years working hauling engineers trains after being relegated from mainline work. A former Intercity loco based at Crewe, it was cut up by EMR at Kingsbury in 2006

 

03855. 20187. On shed. Bescot. 2.6.94

Class 20 No 20187 had recently been repainted in British Rail Telecoms livery. It was one of only 4 class 20s that ever carried these colours. The locomotive still survives today as part of the DRS fleet. 

 

03856. 56056. Bescot. 2.6.94

56056 arrives from the North with a train of MGR coal hoppers. I always liked the two-tone grey Trainload livery with its sector decals. The only problem was, the locos never stayed in their sector, hence a Trainload Construction logo’d loco on a coal train!

 

03857. 304032. Bescot. 2.6.94

Class 304 EMU No 304032 pulls away from Bescot station on its way to Birmingham. Introduced in 1960 these units only had another couple of years left in service. The last survivors went in 1996. I’ve fond memories of travelling in these trains as they were used on Liverpool-Crewe services which I used regularly back in the 1970s. 

 

03858. 31147. 31237. Bescot. 2.6.94

A pair of Class 31s (31147 and 31237) in the ‘Dutch’ livery of the Engineers sector pass the station en-route to the stabling sidings. In the background is a long line of their cousins. These locos would be sat in the stabling siding all week until it came to the weekend when they’d be started up to work engineers trains on various possessions around the area. It was a terrible use of resources and the failure rate of these engines was high. They also created a hell of a cloud of clag when they were started up! 

 

03859. 08543. Shunting the Down yard. Bescot. 2.6.94

08543 shunting the Down Sorting sidings. Note the chap walking next to the loco. He was one of the yard shunting staff. PPE was pretty rudimentary in those days! He had the luxury of a long orange coat, most staff wore small tabards. 

 

03860. 37107. Stopping for a chat. Bescot. 2.6.94

The driver of 37107 gets his instructions from one of the yard staff. They’re both wearing the high-vis tabards I mentioned in the last picture. They were tied on by the thin strips you can see hanging down at the back of the chap on the ground. Most staff didn’t bother, which meant thy were pretty useless as they flapped around a lot. 

 

03867. 60013. Bescot. 2.6.94

A Class 60 in Trainload Petroleum livery arrives light with a Class 37 before heading off to the depot fuelling point. The last of these locos had only been delivered the year before but they’d already established a reputation for unreliability. The were the last diesel locomotives to be built for BR. 

 

03868. 47333. 47332. 47334. 47353. 47478. Bescot. 2.6.94

A long line of Class 47s stabled in the former Up reception sidings. These sidings had been severed at the North end to create a fan of four to stable Engineers loco in during the week. Here you can see 47333. 47332. 47334. 47353 and 47478 which had been working shunting the yard earlier in the day. 

 

03873. 86255. Bescot. 2.6.94

86255 speeds past the station with an Intercity service for the North. The line through Bescot was a useful diversionary route for Intercity, but I can’t remember if it had regular weekend services or if this was a diversion due to problems elsewhere. 

 

3842. 47318. 31125. Bescot TMD. 2.6.94

A worker carries a jack into the yard, presumably to fix a track defect somewhere. In the background are a couple of Engineers locos stabled in the shed yard. Bescot shed was responsible for the maintenance of Engineers locos, but the depot had a poor reputation for the quality of the locos it looked after and turned out. 

 

3838. 58033. Bescot. 2.6.94

A Class 58 approaches the station with a mixed rake of empty MGR coal hoppers (some with hoods, others not) watched by a gaggle of railway enthusiasts (including a couple, not a sight you’d see that often). 

As I scan more old slides I’ll be taking other trips down memory lane so my intention’s to turn this into a series. Watch out for another one soon….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday thoughts…

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There’s been little time for blogging today despite being at home. I’d a whole series of pictures to edit for a client as well as sorting out paperwork and hacking through my email inbox, before the rather quaint tradition of going to a bank to pay in a cheque. It should have been done ages ago as it was a wedding gift, but the person (whose blushes I shall hide) forgot to sign it! When I lived in London back in the last decade visits to the bank were a weekly chore as so many clients paid by cheque. Now, in 2018 I can’t think of the last time I was paid by one. In fact, there’s only one magazine (who’ll also remain nameless) who I still have to send invoices to by post. Nowadays everything’s done digitally via the internet – which is no bad thing when I consider how much it costs to send stuff via the mail. That’s an expense I’m happy to see the back of nowadays.

Walking into Halifax would normally give me the opportunity to grab a few pictures but the weather’s been a bit grim up North today. The Calder Valley’s been hidden by mist and murk all day. The centre of Halifax wasn’t much better. It reminded me of old newsreels of London and ‘pea-souper’ fog – although that was actually pollution. At least we don’t have to suffer that anymore.

 

It’s grim up North…Underneath that murk is Sowerby Bridge and the other side of the valley, but this is how it’s been for most of the day. Oh, now that spring is here…

 

Despite the bad weather, it’s clear that spring is here. My office window looks out onto the terrace behind our house. It’s not exactly scenic at there’s no wonderful valley vista compared to the front of the house, just a lot of Yorkshire stone some masons converted into walls to hold back the hill, but there’s plenty of bird life. We have both Blackbirds and Wrens nesting outside so I’m often distracted when my peripheral vision picks up their movement. I must set up the camera to try and catch the Wrens. Admittedly, it’s difficult to work and stalk at the same time but they would make a great photo.

Tomorrow I’ll be moving office to base myself in Huddersfield before spending an evening with friends. The weather forecast is crap, so I don’t expect to be doing much with the camera but I may have time to do some writing instead…

New report on ‘fast-tracking prosperity in the North-West and Midlands’ with Hs2 phase 2a

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Yesterday I was in Crewe to attend the launch of a new report into how the Midlands and North-West can unlock the economic and transport opportunities presented by phase 2a of Hs2 which is due to reach Crewe by 2026. The report was commissioned by the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders group (HSRIL). You can download it from the website via this link.

 

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Guests at the launch of the report included Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of Cheshire East Council. Councillor Paul Yates, Leader of Crewe Town Council. Phillip Cox, CEO of Cheshire and Warrington LEP.  Paul Colman, CEO of South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Jims Steer of Greengauge 21 which authored the report. 

 

The report outlines how, when Sir David Higgins became Hs2 Ltd’s Chairman in 2014 he suggested accelerating Phase 2, bringing the line to Crewe 6 years earlier than planned (to 2027 from 2033). This resulted in the Government agreeing to bring forward a second Hybrid Bill for what became known as Hs2 Phase 2a. In January, the bill passed 2nd reading by an overwhelming majority (295 to 12 against).

Another chapter of the report deals with the Crewe Hub scheme, which was agreed by the Government in March 2018. In the past there were several different proposals for Crewe. At one time Network Rail were suggesting building a new station further South on the site of the Basford Hall marshalling yard. This met with local political opposition.

In July 2017 the Government published a consultation on the idea of the Crewe hub. The outcome was published on March 9th

Now the Crewe hub scheme has agreement from all sides. It doesn’t form part of the Hs2 Phase 2a Hybrid Bill, instead it’ll be created through a partnership of Network Rail, Cheshire East Council and Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Council (LEP).

The plan is to create a strategic interchange that will allow the whole of Cheshire, North Staffordshire, North Wales and the Mersey-Dee area to benefit from Hs2 at the earliest opportunity. In total, this sub-region has a population of more than 1.5 million whilst around 5 million live within an hour of the station. It’s worth remembering that by 2013/14, Crewe accounted for more London-bound passengers than Warrington, Stafford, Chester or Stafford, yet the facilities don’t measure up. In 2016-17 the station was used by 3.086 million people, plus an additional 1.476 million interchange passengers.

The redesigned station would allow 400m long Hs2 trains to divide and join at Crewe. Service plans aren’t yet finalised but options suggested are for one set serving Lancaster/Preston and another Stoke-on-Trent (and possibly Macclesfield, Stockport and Manchester) to split/join at Crewe, thus only using one Euston path instead of two.

The locations for the 400m platforms are on two sites. One would be an extension of the existing platform 5, the other proposal would be a platform on the Manchester Independent (freight) lines to the West of the existing station although Network Rail are  examining if reinstating the old platform 13 would be an affordable alternative as this would address concerns by freight operators worried that paths through the area may be lost.

In order to link the different sites together and make the station a modern gateway to the town the plan is to build a transfer deck across the site. Grimshaw Architects have been looking at a design for the new station which will keep and enhance the historic parts of the site whilst sweeping away much of the later clutter. At the moment station access is limited and causes traffic congestion as most people use the entrance from the Nantwich Rd over bridge which is a busy link road and the only one across the site. Station car parking is also an issue as the main station car-park is North-West of the site, where the old Crewe North Loco shed was. The plan would include moving this to the Eastern side of the station in a new multi-storey car park, freeing up the Nantwich Rd bridge for other traffic. The transfer deck would create a new link from Weston Rd on the East and (possibly) Gresty Rd and the Crewe Alexandra football ground on the West.

 

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After the launch, guests were given a guided tour of the station to see what works were proposed. 

 

The consultation also agreed a change to the design of the southern connection from HS2, so that HS2 joins (and takes over) the central two lines on the existing network.

The report also mentions that a junction north of Crewe, enabling HS2 trains to call at Crewe and then re-join the HS2 main line, as part of Phase 2b would be needed to allow Crewe station to support the Constellation Partnership’s ambition of 5–7 HS2 trains per hour calling at Crewe and frequencies of 3-4 trains per hour on each of the regional links.

Included in the report are details of the economic appraisal.

economic appraisal

There’s also potential service patterns.

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I’m not going to go into all the economic data contained in the report as I’m concentrating more on the rail aspects, but it does contain details of the Northern Gateway Development Zone and business opportunities and development as well as plans to create 100,000 new homes and 120,000 jobs.

The report’s a useful document for drawing together the ambitious plans for the Crewe hub and the benefits Hs2 phase 2a brings, not just to Crewe but also to the routes that radiate from the station. Work is expected to begin and be funded from Network Rail’s control period CP6 (2019-2024) as most of what is proposed is within the existing railway footprint.

It’s great to see that, after all the years of wrangling over the future of the station, Hs2 has provided a catalyst that’s brought the parties together around a firm proposal. As someone who’s known Crewe station since the early 1970s and watched its decline all the way through the 1990s to the present I’m looking forward to the new plans coming to fruition.

StopHs2: Their archive’s great for mapping their decline…

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I was doing a bit of research the other day so I popped into the StopHs2 campaign’s website to look back through some of the deceitful nonsense and bluster they’ve spouted over the years. As you may have noticed, I do like a bit of number crunching! Whilst I was there I noticed that their archive’s a clear indicator of their gradual demise. Their archives go back to the spring of 2010, so I decided to have a look at how many articles they produced each year and tallied up the figures for each March and April. Here they are.

articles on stophs2 website

After being steady for so many years the decline since 2016 is marked. It’s hardly surprising as there’s nothing to report as nothing’s going on now the campaign’s collapsed. Most of the articles over the past couple of years have been reactive, complaining about Hs2 rather than campaigning to stop Hs2.

If you can take the time to browse through the archive there’s some hilarious predictions and pronouncements that haven’t aged well at all. There’s a rich vein of Joe Rukin’s  lies to be mined too!

I’ll leave you with this gem from April 2015. In it, Penny Gaines claims that “it’s worth reminding politicians that HS2 is a big issue in constituencies along the line” Really Penny? In the attached video Joe Rukin makes the same claim, highlighting Warwickshire North, the constituency where the outgoing MP Dan Byles (an opponent of Hs2) had a wafer thin majority of 54.

http://stophs2.org/news/13428-hs2-dominates-election-campaign-constituencies

So, what was the result? Well, the new Tory candidate INCREASED the Tory majority by 3%, from 54 to 2,973 as the BBC reported here. So much for Hs2 being an election issue! The same happened on other parts of the route too as I pointed out in a blog at the time.

When the last one out turns out the lights on StopHs2 I do hope they leave their archive online as a testament of how not to run a campaign!

Today’s rolling blog: Crewe bound…

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Well, sort of. Today’s not a vintage one for Calder Valley timekeeping and all Westbound services from Sowerby Bridge are late. The frustrating thing is that there are no announcements and the information screens are next to useless as delayed trains simply drop off them! Here’s an example. There IS an 11.33

bu there’s no information on the 11.33 at all. As far as the system’s concerned it’s ceased to exist. Passengers have to use their mobile phone to try and find out what’s happening. The NRES (National Rail Enquiries) website showed that it’s running 30m late. Sure enough, an ex-Merseyrail Pacer hove into view at 12.03, allowing me to begin my delayed journey. It’s a busy service with the rear car rammed with prams and kids, so I’ve sought refuge in the front car.

Fortunately, I’ve given myself plenty of time to get to Crewe. Plus, the delay did have a silver lining as I managed to grab a nice shot of one of the local freight services which I’d have missed otherwise.

I’m now bouncing my way across the Pennines, I’ll add an update soon…

13:19.

After a pleasant stroll across a very busy Manchester city centre I’m esconsed on a very different train to a Pacer as I’m aboard Arriva Trains Wales 13:30 from Manchester Piccadilly to Tenby, on the Pembrokeshire coast. It’s worked by an Alstom ‘Coradia’ class 175, a design many feel has one of the most comfortable passenger saloons of the post-privatisation era.

The trains have a mixture of airline seating and bays of 4 (some with tables, some not). I’ve plumped for a table so I can use the laptop. Sadly 175112 isn’t fitted with power sockets but it does have free wifi throughout. There’s also a trolley service selling food and drink which is useful on such a long trip as this.

Not that it affects me. I’m only on here till Crewe!

17:13.

Well, that was an interesting day. The HSIRL report went well. There’s a lot of local interest in what Hs2 phase 2a means to the area. During our tour of the station we were given an insight into the ambititous plans there are for making Crewe a far more attractive and modern ‘gateway’ whilst restoring the listed parts of the station. I’ll blog about the report separately.

Right now I’m heading back to Manchester aboard one of Virgin’s Pendolinos. The sunny weather we had earlier has fled, letting rain take its place.

19:34.

My brief stint in Manchester’s come to an end. The weather lived up to the city’s reputation, although I didn’t mind. Taking pictures in the rain can be really creative. The only problem was that – now the days are getting longer – I didn’t have time to hang around till it got dark.

As I walked between Piccadilly amd Victoria I couldn’t help but notice the number of teenage girls who were (how shall I say) not exactly dressed for the weather! It was only when I got to Victoria and saw them swarming around the entrance to the Arena that I twigged it’s because someone I’ve never heard of is gigging tonight.

The station was protected by a phalanx of British Transport Police, which was rather unfortunate for one dishevelled bloke on a bike who was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. The moral of the story? Don’t try and kick-off with half a dozen BTP officers as there will only be one winner…

My final steed of the day was one of Northern’s refurbished Class 158s. They’re not bad units and the refurb has improved them by adding PIS screens, but they are a bit of a dead end now. It would be lovely to have power sockets and wifi but I doubt the engines would stand the extra load.

Roll on our new trains!

20:13.

It seems the weather’s indifferent to the colour of your rose. Red or white makes no difference. What a change to this morning…