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Dawn and I are on our way to Birmingham for the ACORP Association Of community rail lartnerships) AGM. It’s not the quickest of journeys to Britain’s second city due to our Victorian rail network. Right now we’re on one of Northern’s no-frills Class 150s heading to Manchester Victoria. In my opinion these are the worst trains Northern have – even the Pacers beat them. They’re very much in as-built form, which means there’s no tables, the seating’s 3×2, it’s difficult to find a rubbish bin and the views are poor because of the window and doorway arrangements.

Admittedly, there’s not a lot that you can do with the major design defects, but Arriva Trains Wales refurbished their 150/2s and brought them up to a much higher standard. I’ll see if I can dig out a picture to compare later.


After a brisk stroll across central Manchester we’re now sitting on Cross-Country’s 11:05 to Bristol Temple Leads which is being worked by a 5-car Voyager. I can’t wait to be doing this trip on Hs2, although I’ll have to as it’s not going to open until 2033!


We’re well on our way to Birmingham now. The train’s pretty empty for a change, I’ve managed to get a table seat and crack on with some picture editing. Dawn and her colleague Hazel have the table opposite me, so I’m leaving them to it!

The weather’s picking up the further South we get, so I’m hoping to get one or two rail shots before the ACORP AGM starts…


The ladies have headed off to AGM venue and I’ve nipped off for an hour to get some new library shots of the cross-city line which is operated by these old Hunslet built Class 323s.

26 of these trains (which date from 1992) work around Birmingham with another 17 based in Manchester. They’re nippy units that are comfortable to travel on as well as being popular with drivers. Despite this, they’re due to be displaced by brand new trains from 2020. However, there are plans to transfer these trains to Northern allowing them to replace the 4-car Class 319s there and work in multiple to run 6-car trains (2×319=8, which wouldn’t fit in most platforms).


The AGM’s over and there’s six new board members elected from nine candidates.


Dawn and Hazel with the outgoing Chair of the ACORP board, Peter Roberts, who’s been keeping order for the last 18 years.