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10:35.

Despite the lousy weather in the Calder valley this morning I’m going to tear myself away from my desk and get out and about in order to grab a few pictures and blow the cobwebs away. The high winds we’ve got this morning should be ideal for that!

Watch this space to see where I go and what I get up to…

11:22

I’m now on the 11:23 from Sowerby Bridge to Leeds via Mirfield which is made up of two of an endangered species: the Pacer! Over half the fleet should have already gone off lease but delays in electrification of other routes and problems with commissioning new trains has seen them soldier on. Here’s 142053 and 142094 arriving on my train.

Set 094 is one that’s had its original bus style bench seats replaced with more modern high-backed ones.

I abandoned the Pacers at Dewsbury, where I was sorely tempted by a visit to the excellent West Riding refreshment rooms on the station. Instead, I grabbed a couple of pictures in the mixed weather before heading on to Leeds. Dewsbury’s some classic old Victorian building’s as it was once a wealthy town, making it’s money from the production of ‘shoddy’. Nowadays it’s more famous for poverty & social ills. Still, there’s an interesting double footbridge across the station which makes for good pictures.

14:06.

The weather’s not entirely played ball so whilst I’ve waited for it to pick up I’ve enjoyed some Pacer perambulations, catching a 142 from Leeds to Wakefield Kirkgate via Castleford. The train traverses some interesting and varied tracks, first passing the Freightliner loco depot at Balm Rd where at least 10 class 70s are in store. They’re expensive bits of kit to leave idle, but many haven’t turned a wheel for some time. Once past the intermodal terminal we hit the section of route towards Woodlesford which will be shadowed by phase 2b of the new HS2 railway into Leeds. The area’s a mass of old industrial scars and closed railways so It will be good to see expansion for a change. At Castleford our crew changed ends as the train reverses here. The lines continues on but few passenger services use it except on diversions. On departure we headed for Normanton, another old industrial area that once had a famous steam engine depot and thriving goods yards. All are long gone and the station’s a shadow of its former self – unlike my next port of call: Wakefield Kirkgate.

The station’s undergone a renaissance in the past 10 years, going from a derelict building to a thriving hub with a cafe and 1st Class lounge for Grand Central passengers. I didn’t have time to visit either as my next train was only a couple of minutes behind. This time it was a later version of the Pacer, the Class 144, the interior layout is less like a bus and more like a train.

I was heading back into Leeds via the connecting line from Kirkgate to Westgate stations and the direct line to the city, which took around 20 mins. The weather had picked up in Leeds and we were following one of the new Hitachi Class 800 ‘Azuma’ trains that was on a test run so I was keen to get some shots but I found an embarrassment of riches when we pulled in. Not just one but two Azumas, closely followed by one of the loco’s they’ll displace, 91119, which has earned celebrity status after being repainted in the original Intercity livery it carried when it entered service with BR in the early 1990s. Here’s 800202 just before departure.

14:55

I couldn’t resist a ride and chance for a decent pic of 91119, so I’m heading back to Wakefield behind it…

15:12

LNER trains don’t hang around in platforms long! I barely had enough time to leg it across the exceedingly high footbridge (with lots of steps) to the opposite platform try and get my shot before the train was pulling away.

DG318627crop

Now I’m retracing my steps into Leeds for the final time before beginning to head towards home. This time My conveyance is one of the old Class 155s built for Calder Valley services back in the 1980s. This example’s been refurbished.

But, if you look above the doors in the vestibules you’ll still find this.

15:39.

Off again, this time back to Dewsbury. I ended up playing hide and seek with the sun at Leeds, which was rather frustrating. On the plus side – I may have made a young lad’s day…

I was approached by a train driver who’d seem me taking a shot of his train as it arrived. He explained that his young son is always scanning the internet for pictures of his dad driving – and would I be able to help? A quick look at the cameras LCD confirmed I’d a clear shot of Tom at the controls, so I’ve arranged to email him a copy of the picture for his son!

15:56.

Back at Dewsbury, and this time I didn’t resist! Well, it IS Friday…

16:52

Now heading home to meet the wife and spend the evening together as I’m away over the weekend (see tomorrow’s rolling blog). Whilst waiting at Dewsbury I noticed this around a few doors on the Westbound platform.

This is what can happen when you you raise the platform edge on an old Victorian railway station and alter the camber!

Right now I’m on my last train- a pair of 150s on a Leeds – Manchester service via Sowerby Bridge. I’m on an old friend, set 130 which used to work on the Gospel Oak-Barking line in London when that was one of my local lines. How things come full circle!

I’ve a favour to ask…
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