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05:30.I wasn’t planning to be up this early but the cat had run out of food, spotted me moving so decided to sit at my side of the bedroom and mew me out of bed! The little sod know I’ll get up and feed him just to prevent him waking up Dawn. Pavlov’s dogs eat your heart out! So, I’m now sipping coffee in the office, checking the weather forecast (it’s worsened overnight), catching up on the news and waiting for Dawn’s alarm to go off. I might as well have an earlier start than planned…Today we have three stations around the Greater Manchester area to judge and all have confirmed that they’re ready for us, so it’s not too onerous a day. I’ll update the blog as and when throughout the day.

07:53.

I’m currently stood on an absolutely jam-packed Pacer working 1D71, the 07:24 from Sowerby Bridge to Chester which was already full and standing after leaving Halifax. It’s short formed as there should be a single car Class 153 attached. I’m lucky, I managed to get on, many others at Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Rochdale weren’t so lucky!

All through the trip our Conductor has maintained her smile. She’s abandoned her ticket machine in the back cab to stand in the rear door well so she can get to operate them.To add to the fun, we’re now 9 minutes late leaving Rochdale.

11:30.

We’re now on our way to our second visit. After arriving at Victoria I hotfooted it over to Piccadilly for the train out to the first station (Glossop). We were so busy I didn’t have time to take any phone pictures. Now we’re chugging along through South Manchester to our second.

14:15.

We’re now on our way to the third station of the day. This was taken at our second one. Any guesses where we were? This is ‘Joe’, who was being given a spruce-up by the local station friends group as we visited

16:08.

With our last visit of the day done Mark and I are heading off to our respective abodes. It’s been a delight to meet the volunteers at the three (very different) stations and see and hear about the work they’re doing. Here’s a clue about which station was the last one on today’s list. Can anyone tell me where this is?

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