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09:29

Morning folks! I’ve had a later start than normal as it was a late night last night. It was a fabulous evening (which you’ll hear more about later), but right now I’m concentrating on catching up with some emails and admin over a coffee at the wonderful art deco Centenary Lounge at Moor St station before making the most of the sunny weather here in Birmingham.

Time to hit the rails, more soon…

13.56.

Phew! It’s been a busy few hours, the weather’s been pretty good here in Birmingham but I’ve finally stopped for a break and chance to download a few pictures. To start, here’s a couple from last night. The entertainment was excellent, but also a challenge to photograph. Come on, you didn’t think I was going to leave my camera at home, did you?

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Last night’s compere was an old friend, Richard Salkeld, who works in the Comms team for GWR, here he is in typical ‘selfie’ mode with Andrew Haines, the new Chief Executive of Network Rail.

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Whilst I’ve been bumbling around Birmingham I’ve been out updating shots for the Rail Delivery Group that include the new West Midlands train livery which is being carried by more and more of the fleet. Here’s a couple of examples.

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Of course, I couldn’t not pop in to see how work’s progressing on the site of the new HS2 station that’s being built at Birmingham Curzon St on the site of the old parcels depot. So, here’s an overview of the site as the old concrete base is being broken up.

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Right, that’s it for new. More later. Hopefully my journey home won’t be quite as complex as yesterday!

15:55.

Ho hum. I’m heading for Manchester on Cross-Country’s 15:57 from Birmingham – and it’s absolutely rammed! There’s 17 of us crammed into a vestibule on this 4-car train!

I’ve written and blogged about this plenty of time before, but in this day and age, 4-5 car trains between Birmingham-Manchester is just mad – and they’re diesels running all the way under the wires, which is doubly mad.

So, there’s not much chance of doing anything productive on this train. It’s like being back on the tube in London.

16:48.

We’ve just left Stoke and the crush has eased. There’s still no seats available, but I’ve managed to find a perch in the luggage rack!

18:07.

After arriving at Manchester and fighting my way through the Friday crowds in the city centre from Piccadilly to Victoria I’m now standing on Northern’s 17:55 to Leeds! Well, I’m actually jammed in a luggage rack at the end of the saloon…

As usual things calmed down a bit after Rochdale, where a lot of folk got off. It didn’t mean there were any spare seats, just that we could all breathe! This is how things look after calling at Littleborough, our last stop in Lancashire before crossing the Pennines.

19:18

Bugger! I had to change trains at Jensen Bridge. It’s a Victorian gem of a station, but the weather’s not up to much this side of the Pennines!

Now I’m having a drink in Williams Bar in Sowerby Bridge before heading home. Well, it IS Friday…

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