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Morning folks, it’s 06.51 here in Dusseldorf and I’m getting ready for another busy day with Siemens. I’ll try and blog through the day as the pace should be a little slower than yesterdays whirlwind. First, here’s a link to my Zenfolio website where I’ve managed to add some of the first pictures. Today we’re off to the Wildenrath test track to ‘play’ with some trains.

The first tough decision has come early, what to have dor breakfast here in the Radisson Blue. Talk about being spoiled for choice…

Oooh! OK, the fish it is…

S’cuse me whilst I tuck in…

14:00 (German time).

We’re now on a coach headingfor the airport after an interesting morning whizzing around the Wildenrath test track aboard one of Siemens new r-car Desiro HC (high capacity) EMUs which will run Rhine-Ruhr Express services from December 2018. The two centre cars of each set are double-deck vehicles. Here’s what they look like from the inside.

16:05

Now the fun starts! I’m about to board my flight from Dussledorf to Heathrow, then hot-foot it to Euston to meet Dawn to swap my brogues for walking boots and waterproofs before heading up the WCML to catch up with the team heading iff to do “3peaksbyrail”. It’s unlikely i’ll make it to Crewe in time to meet them at the start, so I’ll have to chase them as far as Bangor (or even Holyhead, where the train will be serviced whilst the walkers ascend Snowdon). Wish me luck…

16:32. Bugger, not a good start. Our plane’s been delayed by air traffic control. We won’t be pushing back for another 20 mins and it’ll take at least another 15 after that before we’re in the air…

16:50 (UK time)

Landed! In the end we were allowed to leave a bit earlier. The flight’s taken an hour so i’ve literally landed at the same time as taking off thanks to the time difference…

17:22.

I sped through passport control here at terminal 5. There’s plenty of biometric gates & few passengers! Now I’m kicking my heels by the baggage carousel, waiting for my suitcase. There’s no chance of making the Crewe connection now so the pressure’s off. Now all I’ve got to do is get to Bangor before the train collects the weary climbers after they’ve come down from Snowdon.

At least I get to have a more than a few fleeting moments with my other half now!

17:37

Still kicking my heels in baggage reclaim. An “incident” has delayed them apparently..

18:29

My bag finally arrived at 17:52. I’ve opted for Heathrow Express as I want to make up time.

Catching the Express wasn’t cheap but it was a good move as I got to meet Dawn at Euston with an hour to spare before her train back to Yorkshire. I have to admit, I couldn’t have done this without her love and support. We swapped all my conference gear for outdoor clothing, a sleeping bag and (vitally) midge spray! The hour passed in a flash. I left Dawn at Kings Cross, then made my way to Euston.

21.10.

I’m now speeding towards North Wales aboard a Virgin Pendolino, working the 21:10 Euston-Preston. I’ll be leaping off at Crewe but right now I have a table seat in the unreserved coach U which is giving me chance to charge up some of my batteries ready for the trip. The 3 Peaks stock is old mark 2 stock so charging stuff up is a challenge to say the least!

00:55

Phew! This is the final leg now. I’m on Arriva Trains Wales 00:15 from Crewe to Holyhead as far as Bangor. It’s a 2-car 158 fitted with power sockets and wifi. Unfortunately (tonight) it’s also been fitted with a group of loud and obnoxious young drunks. Yep, they’re the one’s who noticed I was taking a picture!

Thankfully, they got off at Chester so I’m enjoying the fact there’s only four of us left in the coach, allowing me to hog power sockets & suck up enough juice that I’m amazed this 158s keeping time!

Whilst I was waiting at Crewe the ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ called on its way to Fort William. As that’s where I’m headed it was rather tempting, but it would have been a cheat on a grand scale!

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