11:48.

It’s been an interesting and busy day so far, even if I’ve not got done everything I hoped. Yesterday the details of the Oakervee review panel into Hs2 came out, which saw me write a comment piece for RAIL mag about it, then a much longer blog that looked at the composition of the Committee. The past 24 hours have seen a barrage of comment – much of it woefully ill- informed or politically driven – but it’s been good to see the projects supporters wade through this nonsense to forcefully rebut it. Few of us have any worries about the review, but we know the next few days and maybe even weeks will be full of froth until the Committee reports back and we can continue with building HS2 without anymore daft diversions. There’s enough political theatrics going on as it is what with Boris the Clown humiliating us on his European tour. Brexiters are finding out to their cost that the excuse they used that the only reason Brexit wasn’t going well was because a ‘remainer’ was PM, was as true as all their other claims.

Away from the froth I’ve been busy sorting out pictures for clients and my website, along with future travel plans and events. This Saturday we’re having a day on a friend’s narrowboat and I’ve also been sorting out Eurostar tickets for the next ‘Big 6 on Tour’ adventure, which sees a group of us venture further afield to Bruges for a few days.

I’d planned to head out and top up the library shots as I’m meeting a friend in Stalybridge later, but – despite all the predictions of brilliant weather to come – it’s been pretty miserable in the Calder Valley today, with rain issuing from some very gloomy skies. Hardly conducive to photography. That said, I’m off out shortly (if this bloody rain ever stops) , so let’s see what transpires…

13:33.

The rain finally eased enough for me to make a dash for freedom and walk down into Sowerby Bridge. The weather may be wet, but it’s also humid, which I wasn’t expecting. Waterproof + camera bag + mile long walk = clammy!

Now I’m drying off on Northern’s 13:21 to Chester as far as Manchester Piccadilly. It’s a Class 150/153 combo with plenty of spare seats. I think the weather’s put a damper on things for many leisure travellers, although a couple of hardy cyclists did detain at a very miserable looking Todmorden, where the tops of the surrounding hills are lost in the murk.

14:20.

Manchester’s weather’s living up to the city’s reputation although the sun’s struggling manfully to show its face. The skies are dark and threatening enough to make for some interesting pictures so I’ve decided to look at a place I’ve been meaning to revisit for a while, the area around Northern’s Newton Heath depot. I’m heading there courtesy of these.

Metrolink has been a great success and I’ve never understood the antipathy some rail enthusiasts have towards converting heavy rail routes to light. The Oldham loop was a classic example! Now it’s far more successful and serves more communities than the heavy rail route ever did.

15:58

I’d forgotten just how run-down and depressing the area around Newton Heath is! Despite regeneration efforts it’s still struggling. The area seems to be a classic example of the fact you can regenerate buildings, but people are far more of a challenge. The depot is expanding as a new shed’s being built to service the new CAF built Ckass 195s.

16:49.

I’ve moved on again and left the dereliction and despondency of Manchester behind. A pair of Pacers have brought me to Stalybridge, home of one of the finest station bars on the network.

21:18.

I’ve enjoyed a very pleasant evening being a Northern Ambassador to a friend from South of London who’s never really explored Manchester. We only had a couple of hours but a look around the city’s ‘Northern Quarter’ has done the trick. Now I’m on my way home as tomorrow’s a very busy day as I’ll soon be on the move again.

21:42.

The final trip of the day. I’ve changed at Hebden Bridge to get a connection to Sowerby Bridge. The problem is the Blackpool- York train I’ve connected with is a human zoo. The contents of these trains doesn’t inspire of the future of the human race, nor the planet

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