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Unusually for a Saturday I’m on the rails again today to take advantage if what may be the last sunny day for a while as the forecast has changed. Yesterday was stunning as I made my way back to Yorkshire from London and the National Rail awards. As usual, I didn’t get chance to talk to half of the friends and colleagues I’d hoped to because it’s such a huge event with 1200 people in the room.

I’m hoping to get some of the pictures online this evening. Right now I’m Breadford bound after a slow start due to the valley being shrouded in cloud and mist which only burned off in the past hour. I was down in Sowerby Bridge by 10:00 to photograph the passing of one of West Coast railways charter services which was working from Preston to Scarborough.


My next choice of destination was made up for me by the fact the next two Northern services West were cancelled, so East it was! I caught a York bound train as far as Bradford, then walked across from Interchange to Forster Square. Sadly, the city has lost both its magnificent old train sheds and neither replacement is a showcase to match some of the lovely old Victorian buildings like this, the Midland hotel.

The graceful trainshed and massive goods yards that it fronted have been replaced by a tiny station that’s all the aesthetic appeal of a car crash.

I’ve added some links that show you what the city’s stations used to look like. Here’s Exchange station, that was demolished and replaced by Interchange. There’s a lot more on Bradford’s railways here.


I’ve moved on as far as Shipley where I’ve changed trains. Whilst I’ve been here I’ve noticed this footbridge and the damage caused to it by our outdated insistence on using rock salt for gritting in the winter. Look at the state of this..


From Shipley I stopped briefly at Bingley to pick up a snack for the next leg of my trip, which was out to the pretty little village of Cononley aboard one of what I was hoping to photograph, a new Northern Class 331. On arrival in the village I trekked up the back road towards Skipton that climbs the valley side, allowing some great views across the valley – and the railway. Conditions are perfect today, so this is where I’m spending the next half hour before walking on into Skipton – which is all downhill!


I’m on the homeward leg via Bradford, retracing my earlier route, only this time I’ve stopped off in the city centre for a quick drink and to get some pictures. This is nothing to do with the railways, this is street photography and architecture. Bradford has some beautiful buildings and today, the square by the Town Hall us oacked with people of all ages, colours and religions making the most of the sunshine and the fountains. I’ll add some pictures later. I don’t really know this city at all as I’m normally just passing through, but I’m encouraged to learn more and make some more photographic forays. One thing that does stand out is this is a resolutely working class city nowadays. This isn’t the affluent South-East. The amount of casual ‘effing and jeffing’ you hear is noticable, even if you don’t have delicate ears! Oh, and did I mention the bloke who’d turned up on a horse which had a habit of knocking over and slurping up people’s alcoholic beverages?


I’m now heading home on the voyage of the damned, otherwise known as the 18:02 to Chester. Only it’s 12 minutes late due to the Constabulary having to be called to remove an incontinent drunk earlier. Other passengers who left at Bradford didn’t seem to be in much better state. For some mysterious reason they’ve left the wheelchair area of the train scattered with dog biscuits. Fortunately, two genuinely disabled people (both with white sticks) arrived to take their place. They say love is colour blind. In this case they’re genuinely blind – and a lovely couple they make too – and it shines though…


It’s time to say goodnight folks as I’ve been settled down at home for several hours, getting to grips with editing the pictures. As promised, here’s a couple from the camera..

One of Northern’s new Class 331’s works a service from Skipton to Leeds through the Aire valley.