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After another rare night at home I’m on the road again, only this week I’m swapping my PPE for a suit.

Whilst most of you were relaxing over the bank holiday I spent several days at Stafford where I was working on the Staffs Alliance resignalling project. This involved closing the West Coast Main Line from Friday night until early this morning. The work wasn’t just at Stafford but commissioning the new signalling in the area was the major focus. Unless you’ve been involved in one of these schemes it’s unlikely you’ll appreciate the complexity & difficulty of organising them. There are so many different skill sets to co-ordinate and the failure of any of them can delay or even stop the whole job. Add in the fact you have several different shifts working around the clock & the planning needs to be almost military in its co-ordination.

As it was, the ‘Orange Army’ got the job done & the railway reopened on time. Casualties were confined to the two old signal boxes which were decommissioned as Stafford is now controlled from Rugby ROC.

This week the focus of my work shifts somewhat. Right now I’m enjoying the chance to sip coffee & watch the world go by on a Grand Central service to London, where I’ll be spending another night in a hotel before a job at the Strand Palace hotel. I’m not sure what I’m doing after that as an early morning email means I might have to go up to Birmingham to do a quick job there before heading up to Darlington ready for the official opening of Hitachi’s new train building factory at Newton Aycliffe on Thursday. I’m told that’s going to be a major event, although I don’t know the full details yet…

After that, I actually get to go home – and have a weekend off! It’s the annual Sowerby Bridge rushbearing festival which is a fabulous event. For two days teams of people push and pull the rushcart around various churches and hostelries in the area. They’re accompanied by various morris dancers, mummers & minstrels. It’s thirsty work too, after all – the area’s not exactly flat! If you’ve never been come down and take a look. I’m sure you’ll have have a cracking day out as Sowerby has plenty of great places to eat & drink.

Here’s a link to details of the event. I’ll add some pictures from previous years later today when I have a bit more time.

See you there!