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It’s been a long (and busy) day but it’s also been a fun one – although it’s not ending well! I was up at ‘sparrow fart’ this morning in order to make my way from our hotel in Canning Town to my first port of call – London Bridge station. I still can’t get over how much that place has changed in the past few years. It’s unrecognisable now compared to the cramped, claustrophobic station of old.

The community rail volunteers and staff gave out hundreds of leaflets and answered questions from the stream of visitors to their stall, which included an old friend, Network Rail’s Chris Denham (on Twitter as @KentishHack).

Fortified by coffee I spent the rest of the day visiting and taking pictures of events at St Pancras, Liverpool St, Paddington, Waterloo and Kings Cross. There were some brilliant stalls that were as entertaining as they were informative, so here’s a small selection of pictures from the day.

Network Rail’s Chris Denham came along and said hello (whilst picking up several leaflets) at London Bridge this morning.

Kent Community Rail Partnership had their stall on the SE Trains platforms at St Pancras station. Like many groups, their ‘goodie bags’ proved very popular.

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At Paddington you could join in and sing a sea-shanty, take a selfie or collect one of their fabulous seasalt goodie bags.

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Over at Liverpool St there was a huge amount of info available on Britain’s scenic railways, including the East Suffolk and Wherry lines.

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Waterloo had a large stall staffed by community rail groups right across South Western Railways routes. You could also enter a competition for a vineyards tour, or just come along and listen to the band – and boogie.

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Meanwhile, Kings Cross had fallen to the Roman invasion. There was chance to chat with these enactors who had some fascinating tales to tell about life in Roman Britain and Hadrian’s Wall.

 

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Romans go home! (with apologies to Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’…

 

Now I’m heading North on a Grand Central service to Halifax which has just arrived into Doncaster 53 minutes late due to a track circuit failure in the Welwyn Garden City area. This has been quite illuminating on the very day the Government’s announced that it’s taking the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise back into Government control – in a move that’s surprised many in the industry. Labour have tried to go on the attack over this, claiming that privatisation’s been a failure. But wait, my (privatised) train’s late because of an equipment failure by the (renationalised) infrastructure provider – Network Rail? So, renationalisation’s the land of milk and honey and cure for all the railway’s ills? Give over…

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