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07:35
Expect today’s blog to unfold over the day as things happen. I’m currently on a fully booked Grand Central service (even 1st Class has no seats left) from Halifax to London for a days photograph around the capital. Fortunately (thanks to the crew) I’ve managed to secure a seat as I’ve an article to write and pictures to edit before I hit the capital.

It’s a beautiful morning here in Yorkshire so my mile and a half, thirty minute walk to the station was a pleasure rather than a chore – and the Yorkshire stone pavements and cobbled streets were quaint rather than being the death trap they can turn into in icy weather!

I’m going to keep this blog updated with thoughts and experiences throughout the day as and when they happen – and time permits. Let’s see what happens…

10:08.

A productive morning so far. One 1000 word article written, pix edited and to cap it all, the weather’s picking up. We’re about to pull into Kings Cross now…

12:36

Thanks to some Facebook friends who work on the railways I received updated information on which services the re-liveried South Western Railway trains were working. This gave me time to saunter over to Euston and check out progress on the HS2 work there. Workers were busy levelling the Western side of Euston Gardens to create the temporary taxi rank to replace the underground one which will close to allow demolition of the area.

DG293960. Temporary taxi rank. Euston. 21.3.18

From Euston I caught to tube to Waterloo and awaited my quarry to arrive in the shape of Desiro 450111 which was (allegedly) working the 10.24 Portsmouth to Waterloo. I filled my time sending pictures to accompany the article I’d written earlier, via the rather glacial station wifi – although to be fair – the file sizes I’m sending aren’t exactly small! I needn’t have worried as a check on ‘RealTime Trains’ showed me that 2P34 was running an hour late! It seems the signalling on the SWML is having another of its regular hissy fits. Still, it gives me time to update this…

14:40.

Ever had on of those days? When the train I’d been waiting for finally turned up it seemed there had been a unit swap and the sole re-liveried Class 450 I’d been waiting for wasn’t working it! Muttering under my breath, I abandoned Waterloo and headed down to Clapham Junction to make the most of the good weather instead. I’m here now and this is how it looks…

DG294010. 707016. 707026. Clapham Junction. 21.3.18

Hello, goodbye. Some of the recently introduced Siemens Class 707s which are going to be displaced as part of the new franchises massive new fleet order.

DG294014. 456003. Clapham Junction. 21.3.18

Old train – new skyline. The constantly changing face of London’s evident behind a BR Class 456 – another of the units which is due to be displaced and go off lease in the near future.

I’ve another bite of the cherry this evening when a pair of re-liveried DMUs are meant to be working the 17:52 Waterloo – Salisbury. Let’s hope I have more luck this time…

As luck would have it an old friend (Steve Upton) who drives for SWR got in touch and we had time for a coffee at Waterloo before he took his first train out. I used it to get back to Clapham where I exploited the dying rays of the sun and the London skyline to frame a few more pictures as I waited to see if the train I was stalking would turn up.

Thumbs up from the driver!

Finally – after numerous false starts and hours of waiting, one of the re-liveried trains (in this case a Class 158) passed through en-route to Waterloo, but fate had the last laugh. The damned thing was sandwiched in-between two units in the old SWT livery! I chased it back to Waterloo where I got my first look at the new colours.

Sorry guys and gals, but to say your livery choice is underwhelming is an understatement. I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of money on coming up with something that sets you apart from the previous incumbent. The problem is that SWT had vibrant liveries, blocks of colour that stood out in the landscape and also set apart their suburban services from long-distance. What have you come up with? Several shades of dull. The idea of barely distinguishable narrow stripes may have looked good on the drawings. The problem is that – when your train flashes past at speed, no-one will even notice them. From a marketing perspective it’s akin to a new Puritanism. You’ve taken all the fun out of things. Is this really the image that you wanted to project? OK, at the end of the day, liveries are just coats of paint (or, in your case, vinyl) that do nothing to enhance punctuality or reliability. But they still convey a message. So, what was the message you thought you were conveying, ‘cos fun – it ain’t.

DG294094

UPDATE: 22nd March.

OK, livery rant and day in London over, it’s time to move on to other things. Expect another blog later today when I’m back on familiar territory and I’ve crunched the final numbers on the Stop Hs2 petition which finally ran out of time yesterday. Did it reach 100,000? Did it heck as like…

 

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