11th June. As promised, I’ve added a few more pictures and comments to this blog.
I’m sipping my first coffee of the day, getting ready to leave the house and head off to an assignment for RAIL magazine in Bedford, looking out of our bedroom window out over the Calder valley I’m relieved to see it’s not raining, although parts of the valley are obscured by low cloud. I only hope the weather’s good down South. Let’s see what happens…
Here’s the view from my walk to the station this morning. It’s constantly changing and why I love living here. Sowerby Bridge is down there somewhere!
I’m now on the 06:00 to Leeds which is made up of a Class 150 & 153 combo. Even this time of the morning it’s busy with early morning commuters heading to work.
Whilst changing trains at a bright and sunny Leeds I was greeted by one of LNER’s new ‘Azuma’ trains on test in an adjacent platform.
I was waiting for the 07:00 which is an LNER service that starts from Bradford Foster Square. I wasn’t the only one, the platform was packed!
This is obviously a popular service for business folk as it’s non-stop from Wakefield Kirkgate, getting into London just before 09:00.
We’re not far from the metropolis now and I’ve just been for a wander. This train is absolutely rammed, despite it being a peak service! There’s bodies everywhere.
My time in the capital was brief. I stayed long enough to walk from Kings Cross to the subterranean Thameslink platforms at St Pancras and catch a late running 09:06 to Bedford. Thameslink aren’t having a good day. Due to earlier problems there’s delays, skipped stops and even cancellations. I’m now on a very quiet 12 car Class 700 which is speeding through the rain and North London suburbs.
I’m now at Bedford, having left my 12-car mass people mover for something a little smaller. A 2-car Class 230! It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!
Having met up with Pip Dunn earlier we’ve been busy putting the Class 230 through their paces from a passengers perspective. You’ll be able to read all about it in a future edition of RAIL magazine. We were lucky that we’d decided to catch the 10:50 Bedford – Bletchley and 12:01 return as the next service has been cancelled due to a shortage of train crew! The outward train was really busy but the 20 minute layover gave me plenty of time to get shots of an empty train as most passengers don’t pitch up until just before departure. Personally, I’m quite impressed with the Class 230s, but let’s see what Pip says…
Job done, I’m back at Bedford where the rain’s got even heavier! There’s no point in hanging around so I’m heading home up the Midland Main Line to check out progress on electrifying the line and hoping for better weather.
I’m bowling along the MML towards Wellingborough and there’s plenty of progress with electrification. In fact, just a mile or so out of Bedford the wires are up for a short stretch. Elsewhere most of the masts have been installed and are gradually being fitted out. Four tracking’s progressing well too.
I stopped off for a quick visit to Wellingborough to get some shots. It’s a lovely station. The original Midland Railway building is still in use and it has another couple of gems. One’s the old goods shed which still has its original interior.
At the opposite end of the platform is another gem, a tiny real ale bar in a building that’s seen several uses over the years, including a Home Guard ammunition store.
I’ve moved further North, this time to a station I’ve never visited before. Most of it is also brand new! The original station building survives but the platforms, footbridge and shelters have only just been built at Market Harborough because the railways been realigned to improve line speeds. That said, the area’s a building site with much work still to do.
Here’s the view from the footbridge looking South, so – the opposite direction to the picture above.
What remains is the original station building which is out of sight in this picture because it’s at a lower level. The building is Grade 2 listed and was built in 1884 by Hirst of Rugby.
Here’s the tiled entrance with the ticket counter and café.
Having changed trains at Leicester and been unfortunate enough to see Michael Gove on TV launching his bid for the Tory leadership (pure unicorn thinking) I’m now on my way to Sheffield. The weather’s still crap with leaden skies and heavy showers but at least I’m in the warm – and dry!
We arrived in Soggy Sheffield 10 mins late. The weather’s lousy for pictures so I paid homage to the Sheffield Tap instead of taking the camera for a walk. From the comfort of the bar I could see that my next train was also late. I’d plumped for a 17:11 TPE service via Doncaster for one last chance to escape the rain and get some pictures. Problem was the delay kept growing, and growing. When the screens swapped from counting down minutes to just displaying ‘delayed’ a number of us bolted and headed for plan B – Northern’s 17:25 to Cleethorpes.
We shouldn’t have bothered. Just as we got to it over on platform 4 the TPE service rolled in, then was given priority over us. The words of ‘Dick Dastardly’ spring to mind… This ex-Scotrail Class 158 doesn’t have wifi either. On the bright side, it’s not too busy, whereas the TPE train looked rammed.
We’re just passing through Wakefield on the way back to Leeds and no – the weather didn’t improve. It’s still chucking it down, so my hopes of getting decent pictures at Donny were dashed. It’s time to go home…
When I get there I’ll add a few more pictures to give a flavour of the day. I’m blogging on my phone right now so I don’t want to eat my data limit by posting more shots.
We’re just pulling out of Bradford Interchange on the final trip of the day. It’s finally stopped raining so I’ll risk walking home. I’m pretty much going to be office bound tomorrow as I’ve loads of paperwork and pictures to sort out – and the weather forecast it awful. Plus, I need to start getting my kit ready for Thursday, when I join the other ‘Railway Children’ volunteers for the annual ‘3 Peaks by Rail’ charity fundraiser.
I’m curled up in bed with the cat beside me after a long day although the weather and spending so much time aboard trains has cramped my exercise a bit, as my Fitbit score shows.
As it’s been a long day and I’m ‘cream crackered’ I’ll add some more pictures to this blog (and also the Liverpool trip blog on Saturday) tomorrow. Until then, it’s goodnight from me…