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06:15.

I’m up, sipping coffee, catching up with the dawn of a new day and preparing for my journey from West Yorkshire down to Upminster in Essex. Hopefully all’s well with the world (and especially the East Coast Main Line) so I won’t be having any ‘adventures’ on the way…

07:14.

It’s a beautiful still, sunny morning for walking to Halifax station.

After a brisk stroll I arrived at the station with a couple of minutes to spare before joining my first train of the week, the 07:42 to Leeds which arrived bang on time (I hope this is an omen for the rest of the week). Today we had the luxury of a 4-car 150/142 lash-up, so I’m happily bouncing my way to Leeds aboard this!

My train’s only half full, allowing plenty of choices for a seat, which makes a pleasant change.

08:25.

We’re arriving at Leeds and it’s the usual stagger from signal post to signal post before a platform becomes free. It’s rare that you get a clear run into the station nowadays, especially in the peak. No doubt the new platform that’s under construction will help matters but it won’t be until Hs2 comes along that we’ll see much more capacity released. If only Leeds had a tram network that could be connected to the national network and run tram-trains on services like the Knottingly or Brighouse routes.

09:11.

I’m now speeding South on a late running Azuma which is working the 08:45 to Kings Cross. The set was delayed on the way North by a trespass incident so arrived 20 mins down. Speedy work by the onboard crew and the platform staff loading catering kit managed to reduce the deficit to a mere 5 minutes, which is time we should make up on the way. I’m relaxing in the quiet coach at the rear of the train, which is quiet in more ways than one, there’s only half a dozen of us in it, and that’s after leaving Wakefield Westgate. This was us at Leeds.

Today’s a gorgeous day to be travelling as the weather’s superb, there’s hardly a cloud in the Yorkshire sky but the forecast for London’s not so bright. Even so, I’m not complaining as my commission’s an indoor one!

10:16.

We’re now bowling along through the Cambridgeshire fens South of Peterborough at 104mph. The weather forecast has been spot on and we’ve left the Yorkshire sunshine behind for a blanket of fluffy low clouds with just the odd tantalising glimpse of blue sky.

10:31.

We’ve just sped through Biggleswade at 125mph, having made up the time we lost earlier. The Azuma’s are certainly nippy things and their acceleration and braking is impressive. I fully expect to arrive in London on time.

11:35.

As expected we made up the time by Kings Cross. I soon picked up my old London pace and ducked and dived between the tourists, navigating rapidly through the tube to Tower Hill than dashed up the staircases at Fenchurch St to catch the 10:32 which will take me to Upminster.

On reflection, next to the Isle of Wight lines, the c2c TOC out to Southend and Shoeburyness is the one in the country that I use the least. It wasn’t always so. For a decade (when I lived in London’s East End) I lived within spitting distance and often used it for business and pleasure. It still feels familiar, even if the suburban scenery that surrounds it has changed a bit in the past 30 years!

What hasn’t changed is some of the people and I have a stereotypical ‘Essex girl’ sat behind me, complete with hooped earrings, Tango tan and incessant chatter about nothing!

17:23.

Sorry for the gap in blogging but it’s been a non-stop afternoon. I was kept busy at the IECC as the staff were more than happy to be involved in the photo shoot and it turned into a really informative and interesting time. So much so that I ended up staying beyond my allotted time just chatting about the industry

Afterwards, as the weather was breaking and the sun was muscling in on the act I decided to head out to Leigh-on-Sea to capture some c2c train shots for another client. I’d not been around the area for several years so I was curious to how much it had changed. The answer was – not a lot! I’ll add some pictures later. The combination of great weather, views across the Thames estuary and a couple of good pubs was sooo tempting, but it’s a busy week and I needed to get home so (reluctantly) I tore myself away after getting the pictures I needed. Right now I’m heading back to Fenchurch St, hoping to miss some of the rush crush.

21:19.

Sorry! – another gap…

My Azuma to Leeds is just pulling out of Doncaster as I’m on the final(ish) leg of the journey home. I’ve been busy editing pictures, distracted by a superb sunset evening – and trying to keep up with events in Parliament, where the 3rd Reading of the Hs2 Phase 2a Hybrid bill has passed 3rd reading by 263 votes for, only 17 against. It’s another crushing example of how little political support the anti HS2 campaign had in real life. Anyway, here’s one picture from earlier. This is a trio of the latest sets to join the c2c fleet to complement the 357s. Six of these Class 387s are leased from Porterbrook, which means this train is made up of half of the fleet!

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