12:12.After a busy morning catching up on paperwork and checking and packing my PPE ready for tomorrow and Friday I’m getting ready to head down to London. The weather forecast is looking promising, so I can travel a bit lighter for a change. Let’s see how the day goes…13:38.I’m on the move after walking down into Sowerby Bridge. It’s a gorgeous day for a stroll, or it would be if I wasn’t carrying both the camera bag and a rucksack full of PPE!I caught a Leeds train, the 13:23 via Brighouse which is running 7 minutes late. It’s made up of a pair of refurbished Class 150s which are mostly empty this time of day. If anyone’s any sense they’ll have taken the day off to enjoy the sunshine!It makes a change to be heading for Leeds without a reversal at Bradford. I’m also enjoying the different scenery. The line through Brighouse to Mirfield is a shadow of it’s former self. Once it was four tracks all the way from ‘brig’, with massive goods yards and a vast amount of freight traffic along with a large steam locomotive depot at Mirfield, one of the last to close in the UK. The site is now a housing estate that was built in the last decade.Some of the towns haven’t fared much better, such as nearby Dewsbury (although it still has a lovely station and great station bar) and Batley, once renowned for its variety club and all the famous names that played there. Now, it’s infamous for the awful murder of Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox by a far-right fanatic.What Batley does have is one of the last surviving signal boxes in this part of the world, which protects a small level crossing to the East of the town. I’ll add a picture later.14:43.I’ve enjoyed a short break in Leeds in the sunshine, now I’m heading South bit by bit. First off is LNER’s 14:45 to Kings Cross which is worked by one of the companies fleet of HSTs that will soon be replaced by Azuma’s. The HSTs replacement on Intercity services is sounding the death knell for something that dates back to the dawn of the railways. The slam door…The HSTs that will remain in service are being converted to power operated doors, meaning the remaining slam door stock will be operated by charter operators and a couple of the freight companies like DB who lease them out to one or two operators like Scotrail, Abellio and Transport for Wales but they’ll be history on intercity services17:12.Far later than I expected due to technical issues with dealing with last minute picture requests, I’m now speeding south from Doncaster on another LNER service from Leeds, only this one’s a crowded and toasty Mk4 set. The air conditioning is struggling in my coach (F) but it’s the only one I could find a free airline seat in. Despite that, the crew have been great.All I can say is I’m glad I’m not dressed in full PPE (other than boots, which are easier to wear than carry) and I can dress down and pretend this is a local train in Thailand. Well, apart from the sights, sounds and smells, obviously!18:21.I abandoned my LNER service at Stevenage which offers a very handy connection to cross-London Thameslink services. The days of having to fight your way from terminal to terminal via the London Underground have dropped dramatically and will do so even more when Thameslink finally opens.20:18.OK, I admit I dallied in old haunts in central London for half an hour as the weather was so perfect. I bailed out of my Thameslink service at Blackfriars after seeing the stunning weather. I couldn’t resist a short walk aking the south bank just see see how the ever changing skyline of the ‘square mile’ looks like now.
Mind you, it’s not just the city. After my stop-off I continued on to the rebuilt London Bridge station before heading back to Waterloo, where my train to Feltham was leaving from platform 24. Hang on a minute – 24? Yep, one of the old Eurostar platforms.
See you tomorrow!