09:58.It’s a gorgeous spring day today, so I’ve abandoned the office to head to London with the camera and hunt down some of the new trains coming into service at the moment. I’m on LNER’s 10:15 train heading South after arriving on a Northern service from Sowerby Bridge which was worked by one of the increasing number of refurbished units, this time a 150/2.
My LNER service is very busy. I’m assuming this is because it’s the first post peak train, although to be fair, most of these trains seem to be well loaded. Today the trains worked by one of the three Class 90 locomotives hired in from DB, 90036 named after the train driver who was badly injured in the ‘great train robbery’, Jack Mills.11:12.I changed trains at Doncaster in order to grab a shot of one of LNER’S new ‘Azuma’ trains that was sat in the station, ready to head to York, then caught a following service, so I’m on the move again..12:23.I made another stop at Newark Northgate where I was in time to catch another Azuma working North. This one stopped in the station, allowing the crew and platform staff to practise dispatching the train, which looked very smart in the sun. Here it is, pulling away from the station. For the number crunchers, it’s 800113, the last of the LNER 9-car Azuma’s
Afterwards I caught 1B86, the 12:56 service to London, which is on of the Newark terminators. Out of curiosity I walked through the train to see what the loadings were like. It seemed to be 25% full but I noticed a lot of seat reservations from Grantham, suggesting it would fill up later. 1B86 is also due to call at Peterborough and Stevenage, so I expect it’ll be busy getting into London. Unlike the other weekend when trains were kept busy moving hundreds of thousand of people to the anti Brexit march in London I’ve only seen two men who looked and sounded like they were going to today’s UKIP/Far- right and ‘March to Leave’ bunfight in Parliament Square. They were easy to spot by the gammon colour, beer guts and a loud voices complaining of ‘left wing’ newspapers!14:19I’m now basking in the sunshine at Welwyn Garden City, where the new Siemens Class 717s have entered service. Well, a pair of them anyways. Here’s one of them.
Well, that was an interesting day! After having a spin on one of the new class 717s for the first time in the UK I narrowly missed meeting up with two friends who were in London on business. Instead I took a detour to Parliament Sq to have a look at the pro Brexit demonstrations. Yes, there was more than one due to the factionalism in the Leave camp. Two stages faced each other. One was the Leave campaign’s, the other UKIPs. It was like a gammon Glastonbury, only no matter which stage you went to, the acts were shit! In truth, the whole atmosphere felt weird. As I arrived, so did the “football lads alliance”, who marched in under a West Ham banner, singing “God save the Queen” whilst escorted by police. Looking around the crowd I could see that they were exactly who I suspected they would be: overwhelmingly white and old. This was the Daily Mail and Express letters page brought to life. The placards didn’t exactly fill you with joy either. It was hate, not humour that filled them. MPs were ‘traitors’, apparently and the EU was some sort of dictatorship that was determined to abolish the UK. It was all a bit bonkers to be honest. The stage on Whitehall was the UKIP one and that had the most poisonous atmosphere as it had attracted to football hooligan and far-right element. There’s no doubt that UKIPs new leader, Batten, has turned them into a far-right party. You only had to look at their audience to see that. Here’s a few shots from the event to give you a flavour of it.
I’m now back in Yorkshire after catching the 17:33 from London to Harrogate as far as Leeds, where it arrived 20mins late. The set was an HST and it had a poorly power car which meant our acceleration was pedestrian to say the least! Fortunately, this time of night trains to Halifax are frequent, so I only had a few minutes to wait before catching this, the 20:18 to Manchester Victoria.