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Another day, another train! This morning I’m off to Shrewsbury to do a job for RAIL magazine. We’re visiting the largest mechanical signalbox on the UK, which I’m rather looking forward to!

Right now I’m heading across the Pennines via the Colne valley from Huddersfield rather than my usual route. I’ve not been this way since the timetable change, so it seems odd being on a TPE 185 that’s stopping at Marsden and Greenfield! One thing I did notice was how Network Rail have been busy clearing trees and bushes from the lineside. The work’s opened up new vistas on this scenic line.

As is often the case the Standedge tunnel doesn’t just seperate Yorkshire from Lancashire, it was the border between weather patterns too. High cloud and haze that was a feature in white rose territory gave way to clear blue sky in red rose land!

Shrewsbury. 10:57.

My time in Manchester was brief. I was there long enough to swap trains and head off again, this time with Arriva Trains Wales on one of their Alstom built Class 175s. For passenger comfort they’re hard to beat. The service was busy at first but only as far as Wilmslow, which was a bit of a surprise. I’d bagged a bay of 4 seats with a table so that I could catch up on editing some of the pictures I’ve taken over the past few days (expect a load to appear on my website over the weekend). In fact I was so engrossed Shrewsbury arrived in a blur! Now I’m swilling coffee in the station’s Starbucks, waiting for Paul Stephen from RAIL to arrive.

Shrewsbury’s a stunning station…

Now, if you’ve never been to Shrewsbury and you’re unfamiliar with Severn Bridge Junction signalbox, here it is in the background.

DG275706. 158824. Shrewsbury. 1.7.17

18:47. Recrossing the Pennines.

I’ve had a fasinating day thanks to Network Rail staff who gave Paul and I a brilliant tour of the largest mechanical signalbox left in the UK. You’ll be able to read all about it in a future edition of RAIL. Today was an ideal time to visit as the weather was perfect. It’s a heck of a vantage point being that high above the station triangle.

Was was less than ideal was the weather’s impact on my journey home. Speed restrictions were placed on several lines to to the danger of excessive heat buckling rails, so I had several nail-bitingly tight connections which left me missing my final one by a couple of minutes. Luckily, there’s more services in the new timetable so I’ll only be 17 mins adrift by the time I get home. I’m heading back on an old friend, 150120. This unit used to be one of the Silverlink fleet which worked my local line in London – the Gospel Oak to Barking. When the Class 172s arrived it transferred to First Great Western. Now it’s been cascaded to Northern!

Home. 22.14

It’s been a long day and I’ve got to start wearing another hat as an ACoRP awards judge tomorrow, so I thought I’d leave you with this picture. Ever wondered what the view might be like from Severn Bridge Junction signalbox? Here it is! Thanks to Paul Stephen for taking the picture.