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Paul Cook and I are back on the ACoRP judging trail today, visiting the last 3 of the 25 stations on the shortlist for 2018. There’s two in the Manchester area then one much closer to home back in West Yorkshire. 2018 brought some fantastic entries which means the pair of us are going to have a tough time choosing an overall winner.

Right now I’m heading over to Manchester from Sowerby Bridge on a Northern Rail Class 156. These units were rare visitors to West Yorkshire until recently as they worked services out of Liverpool and Manchester until they were displaced by electrification and an influx of former Thameslink Class 319s.

Northern’s DMU train fleet is a real mixture of cascaded units in a variety of liveries right now. 150s and 153s from GWR and 158s and 170s from Scotrail have been added to the fleet recently (with more to come). Meanwhile, the first of the new DMUs from builders CAF has arrived and sits in the depot at Edge Hill, Liverpool. Clearly, the writing’s on the wall for the old BR ‘Pacer’ fleet…

The run of sunny weather appears to have ground to a halt. We had a superb day at home yesterday. Today the skies wall to wall with grey clouds of a variety of hues and densities. I’m hoping it will recover as I’ve more scenic rail pictures to try and get in the can this week.


First visit done! Now we’re moving on from suburban South Manchester out to rural Derbyshire, this time aboard a refurbished Northern Class 150/2. These are my least favorite DMUs. Noisy, slow and with high window cills and poor visibility, they’re less than ideal on scenic lines. The 2+3 seating doesn’t help make them feel any less cramped.


We’re heading back to Manchester now ready for the final visit. Here’s a clue to where we were visiting.


The weather’s warming up and the skies are clearing, so I might see the last station at its most colourful…


Having made the dash over the Pennines to Huddersfield I’m now aboard yet another of Northern Rail’s Class 150 fleet. Oh, for a Pacer with their big windows! Luckily, I’m not on here for long…


Dun judging! That’s it for another year. Now I’m bouncing my way back to Sowerby Bridge on a Pacer.

As predicted, the sun had got his hat on and the afternoon’s turned into a lovely evening. I popped into one of my locals, the Jubilee refreshment rooms on Sowerby Bridge station for a celebration beer. The Jubilee is unique in that it tells you when the beer barrel was put on.

As well as being blessed with the Refreshment Rooms the local station friends group has built a very attractive garden by the car park (as well as maintaining tubs and planters on the platforms).