Tags

, ,

06:18The week begins with me heading South again, with a early start on the 06:26 train from Halifax to Leeds. The walk to the station’s always pleasant at this time of day as much of the town still hasn’t woken up. Apart from the dawn chorus of birdsong, there’s little human life to be seen until I get closer to the station and join some of the early commuters and cleaners sprucing the town up ready for another day.My train, a two-car Class 158 turned up from Huddersfield on time and I’m nwow in the warm, sipping coffee and contemplating what the day might bring. Clearer skies hopefully as the haze that’s been hanging around for a few days now is proving persistent.07:00This two car train is now full and standing after calling at New Pudsey, which is always a busy pick-up point. I’ve never been sure why it’s so popular but then I don’t really know the area. I’m assuming there’s plenty of car parking, hence so many people commuting into the city by train.07:12This time of morning Leeds station hasn’t hit its commuter peak, so my cross platform interchange to LNER’s 07:15 to Kings Cross was easy. The trains worked by one of the TOC’s venerable HST sets – only this one’s in early condition as it’s still fitted with the original IC70 style seats with the awful fixed armrests!08:05We’re now bowling along towards Grantham through the gloom and murk as the haze is sticking with us, which isn’t exactly condusive to good photography!I was surprised to see how many folk on my train were commuting from Leeds to Doncaster. No doubt some were rail staff, but I wonder about the others as you don’t exactly see ‘Donny’ as a thriving centre of commerce.09:05The closer I get to London the worse the murk gets! We’ve just passed Hitchin and visibility is down to 200 metres. If it’s no better in London I may need to rethink my plans for the rest of the day as it’s grim down South. One of my community rail friends has just sent me a picture of sunny Accrington to cheer me up!10:38My luck’s changing at last. The wet weather I was greeted with has changed an the skies are starting to clear. Meanwhile, a friend at Hornsey depot is keeping me abreast of preparations to tow away the first Class 313 (026) to South Wales and the scrap yard. Here it is passing through Finsbury Park on its final journey, hauled by 57312.DG320874crop.jpgDG320879CROPTomorrow night, sister unit 313055 is due to head in the opposite direction, from Hornsey to Yorkshire, where the unit will be scrapped.Here’s the new order that will replace them, seen at Hornsey earlier. The Siemens built Class 717s are a step-change in quality compared to the 1970s designed 313s.DG320840crop.jpg13:00.Due to the weather I didn’t hang around in London. I began heading North, looking for sunshine. I found it at Bedford, on the Midland Main Line, where these units working the Bedford-Bletchley line are due to be replaced by Vivarail Class 230s very soon.Of course, the times have changed here earlier now that Thameslink are running an entirely new fleet to Bedford.15:36.Northward, ever Northward! My next stop was at Wellingborough to check out progress on both MML electrification and also the massive housing development that’s being built to the North and East of the station. Here’s the view looking North, with the old Midland Railway steam loco shed to the right.17:22.I’d hopped my way up the Midland Main Line as far as Sheffield where I couldn’t resist stopping for a swift beer in the magnificent Sheffield Tap, which gave me time to upload a few more pictures to the blog. Now I’m heading for Leeds on one of Cross-country’s HST’s which are rather a contrast to the one I started the day on! All the way North the weather’s been a patchwork quilt that’s alternated between sunshine and low clouds or haze. Still, it’s mission accomplished – despite the weather and the all-invasive Buddleia! As someone who spent many years travelling on the old Class 313s I wanted to record the beginning of their end. I only hope GN give the last one’s a proper send-off as they’ve moved millions of people in years they’ve served the railways.17:55I made the cardinal error of using one of the toilets on this train only to find coach C has run out of water, so the sight greeting you in the toilet bowl can be imagined. I’m at Leeds. This trains going all the way to Glasgow and there’s no chance of replenishing the water supply…18:22.The last train of the day is a refurbished Northern Class 158 that’s taking me and dozens of other weary commuters home. Like every commuter service, no-one’s window-gazing, they see this view 10 times a week at least! Instead, the vast majority are staring at screens of varying sizes and I’ve only heard the rustle of a single newspaper. One or two are taking the chance to doze. All this means it’s a very quiet train…