05:15.Although getting up at 04:45 isn’t much fun at all to be honest! I’m just about to walk to the station to head back to London. At least the rain’s (mostly) holding off as I walk to the station. Here’s the view over the valley this morning.
06:13.I’m on the first train of the day, the 06:03 to Leeds, which started from Hebden Bridge. Today it’s worked by an unrefurbished ex-Scotrail Class 158 which still retains its old First Class section, so some people are travelling in style!
06:24.Whilst on the train I’ve been catching up with posts from friends on social media and found that a friend of a friend has bought and is doing up the closed Wigan pub I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. Talk about a small world! Apparently, it’s going to become a railway themed real ale pub. No doubt I’ll be paying it a visit and blogging about it once it reopens.Right now, coffee, not real ale is foremost in my mind. It’s going to be a long day…07:17.I’m settled in on LNER’s 07:00 off Leeds which started off from Bradford Foster Square. It’s just left Wakefield. Next stop is Kings Cross at 0859…09:13.We arrived on time at Kings Cross. Here’s hundreds of folk from Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield flooding off the train to earn their daily bread in London. Most of them will return later today.
13:04.Paul Stephen and I have just finished our tour of the Hs2 work at Euston which was amazing. The sheer scale of what’s going on, the complexity and the ambition is breathtaking and the archeological work is in another league. We were shown what’s going on in St James Gds and it’s on a vast scope. You’ll be able to read all about it in a future edition of RAIL. All I’ll do now is give you a teaser. This is the site of the old Euston Downside carriage shed. The portal for the Hs2 tunnel to Old Oak Common and on to Birmingham will be at the far end of the site.
15:21. After leaving Euston to head North I was planning to try and get a trip on the Vivarail Class 230s on the Bletchley Bedford line but bad luck struck again. Firstly, I arrived in time for another torrential downpour and secondly, when the service turned up it was worked by an older class 153 DMU. In the end I gave up and headed North on the next train to Milton Keynes, which was basking in glorious sunshine.Now I’m aboard a London Northwestern service to Crewe as far as Tamworth. It’s a four-car and it’s standing room only. For the number of passengers using these lines 4-cars is clearly inadequate. This is a journey that you put up with, not enjoy.
16:28. I changed trains at Tamworth, a station that’s hardly my favourite. Although facilities have improved in recent years it’s still pretty basic and few intercity services stop here nowadays. They were sacrificed to speed up West Coast services after the West Coast Route Modernisation. When Hs2 takes those long-distance, non-stop trains off the WCML there’s the opportunity to improve the situation. I headed up to the even more basic high-level platforms where I taught the late running 16:20 to Glasgow. Despite the fact it’s worked by a 7-car HST set, this Cross-Country service has plenty of folk standing in the vestibules – including me in Coach E!