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I’ve been at work since 07:30 this morning, busy editing the mountain of pictures from yesterday, sorting out paperwork and job enquiries and all the other stuff that comes with being a freelance photographer, writer and ACoRP judge. Sometimes I feel like I could do to clone myself as there’s just not enough hours in the day to get through everything. On the bright side, my commute from bedroom to office takes about a minute – or possibly 10 if I go downstairs and make coffee first!

Editing the pictures I took yesterday made me realise just how much the railways in the North are changing. The location I picked in Central Manchester is one I’ve not used for a few years. Since then, several of the franchises passing through (EMT, Northern and Transport for Wales) have or are changing hands, whilst a number of new services are using it due to the extension of electrification and the opening of the Ordsall Chord. Here’s a couple of pictures I didn’t add to yesterday’s blog that illustrate what I mean.

DG327070. 319374. Manchester Oxford Rd. 1.7.19.crop

Here’s 319374 working 2F17, the 1318 Crewe to Liverpool Lime Street. The 319s started appearing in the NW in 2015, displacing many of the Class 323s on Crewe trains when the service was extended to Liverpool Lime St thanks to electrification.

DG327141. 323223. 319370. Manchester Oxford Rd. 1.7.19.crop

A sight you never used to see. 323223 works 2A90, the 1428 Liverpool Lime Street to Crewe whilst 319370 is working 2N69, the 1502 Hazel Grove to Blackpool North.

DG327184. 175107. 175109. Manchester Oxford Rd. 1.7.19.crop

I’d never seen a five-car on this train before. Here’s 175107 in the new Transport for Wales livery and 175109 in the old ATW livery working 1D30, the 1536 Manchester Airport to Llandudno. These units will be replaced by brand new stock in the next few years.

DG327177. 67014. Oxford Rd. Manchester. 1.7.19.crop

Another train that’s due to be replaced by new stock is this, TfW’s 1H89, the 1307 Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly which still uses ex-Virgin Trains Mk3 coaches and a DVT. The DB Class 37 still sports the old Wrexham and Shropshire livery, despite that company ceasing operation in January 2011. 

DG327121. 185117. Manchester Oxford Rd. 1.7.19.crop

185117 just after leaving Oxford Rd whilst working 1P76, the 1255 Middlesbrough to Manchester Airport which has passed through Manchester Victoria and traversed the Ordsall chord.

As you can see, it’s a changed network and it will change even more over the next few years as the CAF built Class 195s enter service en-masse and if the West Midlands Class 323s are cascaded to Northern to replace the 319s in order to allow 6-car trains to run. Then there’s the new TPE stock which will (hopefully) begin to enter service later this year. The North’s railways are going through some exciting and positive times, not that you’d know that from listening to the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, who only mentions the railways when it’s an excuse to stick the boot into the Northern Rail franchise. Despite an invitation to attend the launch of Northern’s new trains, he was conspicuous by his absence.

The rest of this evening’s been taken up with planning the logistics of the next couple of days work for a client. Thursday – Friday will see me in London and Manchester and I’ll be travelling down to London later tomorrow. It will involve another early morning commute to the office as I’ve plenty to do before I head South. So, it’s goodnight from me! Watch out for a rolling blog tomorrow…

 

 

 

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