It’s a damp start here in Glasgow this morning. I’m sitting in my hotel room with a coffee, watching the TV weather forecast which really isn’t working in my favour today. If they’re right, it’s going to be raining all day here in this neck of the woods, which is going to cramp my photographic style as it’s not quite the impression of Scotland my client wants! Still, there are some things that I can do, but it might be an early finish to head home today. We shall see. My plans are fluid, so let’s see what happens.
I didn’t go for the full Scottish breakfast this morning, I don’t think my arteries would take it two days in a row, although I did enjoy the haggis and scrambled eggs served by a woman who bore a striking resemblance (in face and voice) to ‘Mrs Brown’ from ‘Mrs Brown’s boys’. Now it’s time to head off and se what the day brings.
It’s a busy time at Glasgow Central, with trains old and new filling every platform as they bring rush hour commuters into the heart of the city.
Here’s a real mixture of trains. The old BR built Class 318s and Class 314s (many of which have already been withdrawn) and the brand new Hitachi Class 385s which have started working into Central following the timetable change.
It’s been a busy day – hence the lack of updates, but now I’m sat on LNER’s 14:00 Edinburgh – Kings Cross, heading back across the border as the rain really did settle in on the Scottish capital. When I first left Glasgow things were looking up. I caught one of the new Hitachi trains up to Stirling, where the weather was cloudy but dry. Stirling’s a station that’s changed hugely in the past couple of years. Most of the old semaphore signals have disappeared and replaced by modern LED ‘colour light’ signals. The whole station is now ‘under the wires’ as electrification’s spread upwards from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Dunblane and Alloa as part of the ‘EGIP’ programme. A ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ lounge has been added too, taking over formerly empty buildings on platform 2. The rebuilding is still ongoing as the old lattice footbridge across platforms 8-9 had to be removed so that the piers it sat on could be lengthened and the bridge raised to allow the wires to pass safely underneath. It’s been dropped back into place now but work continues to make it fit for the future by adding glass sides and accessible to all by adding a new lift tower.
The arrival of the wires has brought the new Class 385 EMU’s to the line as well as Scotrail HST’s working in four car formations, Sadly, all the ones I saw were un-refurbished sets in a variety of versions of First group, GWR and Scotrail liveries.
Having got the shots I needed I caught another Class 385 through to Edinburgh, another station that’s undergone major changes. I swear that the place grows another platform every time I visit! Since the last time I was here the new (full length) East facing bays numbered 5 and 6 have opened. These allow LNER to park a full length Mk4 set without clogging up any of the six through platforms. A lot of clutter’s also been removed from the area around platform 5, making that part of the station feel remarkably spacious, as you can see from this picture.
After a brief but photograpically unproductive stop in Newcastle I’m heading South again on the LNER service from Edinburgh that was following my earlier one. The wet and miserable weather’s finally abated. We’ve enjoyed some rays of sunshine and broken blue skies now that the low heavy cloud’s finally in disarray.
I’m now on my way from York towards Leeds after changing trains and enjoying another brief (and more fruitful) photographic stop. The weather’s improved too, the winds dropped and the mercury’s really climbed up the thermometer. It’s positively balmy compared to Edinburgh. I’m content as I’ve managed to secure a table bay on a TPE service as far as Leeds, which is akin to winning the lottery!
It’s the final countdown now. I’m on a Leeds – Chester train that’s just pulling into Bradford Interchange, which is rather convenient as I had a picture request for this new service earlier today!