Yet another gloomy start to the day in the Calder Valley, but now it’s time to begin my travels to Lincoln whilst stopping off to have a look at a few places on the way. The weather’s not exactly ideal for photography but I’m sure I’ll have some interesting shots to show you by tonight. Follow this blog and see what I get up to…
Not the best of starts. After walking down to Sowerby Bridge station I found the 10:04 to Leeds is delayed by points failure and not expected to arrive until 10:42! As usual, that keeps slipping. It’s now due at 10:50.
on the plus side, the platform extensions (needed for the new trains) have been completed.
Whilst I’m killing time I’m grateful to the local station friends group for putting up their interesting information boards on local celebrities and historical events. For example – did you know that a V1 flying bomb landed around here during world war 2?
I’m finally on my way and in the warm on the 10:54 (running late in place of the 10:04 which is now 58 mins late). This is a 3-car Class 158 so there’s spare seats.
I hung around in the gloom and drizzle at Leeds long enough to get shots of one of the new Hitachi ‘Azuma’ trains for LNER. There’s a daily departure at 11:45 apparently. Here it is passing some older traction.
Right now I’m heading for Sheffield on a Cross-country Voyager. As usual, it’s busy, but then these 4-car trains are far too small for the franchise now as passenger numbers have grown so much since they were introduced.
Well, it’s good to see that the weather’s ‘improved’ here in Sheffield!
On my travels again aboard another of Northern Rail’s Class 158s, which is a step above the Pacer that I was expecting to see turn up.
I’ve bagged a table seat. It looks like the last occupants were in a party mood and I’m hazarding a guess that they were women…
I’m heading for Worksop via Kiveton. This line was once synonymous with coal mining. It served a large number of pits and Worksop was a nexus for coal trains thanks to its stabling sidings and wagon repair shops. Like many lines that relied on “king coal” it’s a shadow of its former self, the extensive sidings at Woodhouse Jn are all gone and most of the large station building is boarded up and mostly disused. Only a (refurbished) ticket office remains.
To be fair to Northern (and its predecessor), there’s obvious signs of investment in stations like Kiveton Bridge, which had new shelters, CCTV and information systems. What’s different is the economic decline in an area reliant on mining.
Kiveton Park’s the same, although the station building’s now in private hands. An old Great Central Railway signalbox still guards the level crossing . Here’s a picture I took of it back in 2011.
At Shireoaks the main station building’s been demolished although the disused wooden signalbox survives. It’s paint slowly peeling like a snake shedding its skin.
Well, that was both interesting, and depressing. I stopped off to explore Worksop for an hour between trains. I’ve not really spent any time here since the early 1990s. In those days the rail yards to the West of the station were a hive of activity. Now? They we’re full of stored coal wagons, but they’re gradually being cut up for scrap, leaving acres of empty, weed-strewn sidings. On the bright side, the substantial station buildings – although mostly empty – house a pub one one platform and a cafe on the other. A lot of money’s been spent on reglazing and repainting the platform canopies as well as the footbridge and former East signalbox, presumably with assistance from the excellent Railway Heritage Trust.
Then I walked into town. Oh dear…
Don’t get me wrong, there are some lovely old buildings here, but thriving? No. It has the same problems as many UK town’s, an oversupply of commercial premises and pubs in a fast changing world, so many of them are closed or looking tatty. It’s not what I’d describe as an economic hothouse.
What I cannot understand is how some folk think Brexit will put all this to rights. How leaving the EU, single market and customs union will be an economic magic wand that will restore heavy industry and mining. These have been in decline for donkeys years. The UK’s economy (70%) is built on the service sector now. A sector that will be badly hit by Brexit. It’s bonkers and I fear people are going to learn some very hard economic lessons in 2019. Meanwhile, here’s one of the attractive old buildings that has successfully found a new use. The former Council Offices.
Now I’m heading on across the Lincolnshire flatlands in failing light, on another Northern 158 all the way through to Lincoln. The weather’s getting grimmer as persistant drizzle’s set in. Hopefully, I can get a few night shots to salvage the day…
I’ve booked into my hotel in Lincoln and dumped my spare bags and kit which as certainly put a spring in my step! Now I’m off wandering a dank, dark Lincoln, looking for a few photographic opportunities. Watch this space…
Whilst exploring Lincoln (waiting for the bloody drizzle to stop) I came across this shop. Looking at it’s window display I can’t imagine queues form at the door waiting for them to open. Still, if you’re in desperate need of an old Vulcan bomber fuel gauge…
I’m now relaxing back at the hotel and this is the end of the blog. The drizzle defeated me as there was a slight breeze, which meant it kept blowing into the camera lens – which was a shame as I love wet nights. Anyways, here’s a couple of shots from this evening.