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09:45

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny here in the Calder Valley today, so I’m making the most of the weather as it’s not due to last. I’m out and about, heading to the West Coast Main Line at Preston. The stroll from home down to Sowerby Bridge station was a joy as I had the sun on my face and oodles of cherry blossom to admire. The valley’s burst into life in the past week and the pavements are littered with casings now the trees are coming into leaf. Spring has arrived and it’s glorious!

I arrived in time to catch the 09:06 to Southport as far as Mytholmroyd where I stopped to get some shots in the sunshine before carrying on to Hebden Ridge where I changed for the train to Preston.

Hebden’s new lifts are now up and running. They’ve been constructed out of the shafts of the former goods lift which has been abandoned for years. Built to blend in with the rest of the Victorian fabric of the station, they’re quite unobtrusive, although a new period style sign leaves you in no doubt they exist.

After catching two refurbished DMUs I’m now on one of Northern’s original sets, two cat 158855 which is looking rather tatty on the outside, although the interior’s presentable enough. Half the Northern fleet’s been refurbished now, so these sets are becoming increasingly rare.

10:18.

We’ve arrived in Blackburn where the weather’s already on the turn. Ahead of us lies a tall bank of clouds that are ominously dark and dense. It looks like I could be in for some interesting weather!

10:52.

I arrived at Preston just in time to catch sight of the tail of a new Northern Class 195 disappearing North, which was a bit of a bugger but that’s life. Sadly, the rain had arrived ahead of me!

12:20.

I finally found what I was looking for. Not one, but two of the brand new CAF built Class 195 DMU’s that will be entering service with Northern next month. Whilst sunshine would have been nice, the rain has added reflections that work rather well.

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13:12.

I’m taking an enforced break as I need to send a bunch of pictures to a client via the station wifi, so I’ve time to grab a coffee and people-watch. It’s Friday and Preston station’s an interchange for services to Blackpool, so you get to see some sights here. A bunch of heavily tattooed young blokes wearing tutus and Fedora hats festooned with flashing LEDs (as you so) have just walked past. There’s no prizes for guessing where they’re heading – apart from the bar…

Meanwhile, my Wetransfer is counting down. It’s times like this I wished my picture file sizes weren’t as large as they are. Thank God I’m not sending the RAW files!

16:17.

I’m finally homeward bound after managing several more shots of the Class 195 training runs. Sadly, a number of timetabled paths remained unused, including one for the new Trans-Pennine Express trains. To cap it all, my 15:47 Preston-York train home was delayed by 25 mins on the inbound working due to “disruptive passengers” which isn’t that unusual event round here, especially on a Friday. To make up some time we’re running fast to Burnley.

17:11.

Despite the late running, I’ve had an easy journey. The train’s been pretty quiet so I’ve been able to relax and enjoy the trip. We’ve even got broken blue skies back in the Calder valley! I’m going to bail out at Halifax and walk back to our local pub to join friends and partake in the quiz from the ‘Pub Paper’ which is read out by another friend. I’m not saying that her Lancastrian accent is broad, but she should come with sub-titles! Dawn’s on her way from work to join me, so it should be a convivial evening.

19:03.

All’s well with the world…

Tomorrow Dawn and l have a day together as on Sunday I have to head to London because I’m on an 06:00 flight from Heathrow Monday morning. I’ve a two day press trip to Vienna, so watch out for more rolling blogs!

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