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07:24.

It’s time to say adieu to the Calder Valley for a few days as we’re off to the ACoRP awards in Telford, Shropshire. First port of call is the ACoRP office in Huddersfield to meet up with other members of staff, then begin our rail journey to Telford via Manchester and Shrewsbury. The rain’s abated, the skies are clear and the sun is rising. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, hopefully, so stick with me and see how the day goes…

08:50.

Oh, the joys of driving in the rush-hour! Dawn’s usual route from home to Huddersfield is via the infamous Ainley Top roundabout by the M62. On a good day, without traffic or a motorway snarl-up it can be done dorr to door in 15 mins. Today, 35m after leaving home we’re still queueing at the Ainley Top traffic lights!

09:24.

Finally, after 50 mins in the car, we arrived at Huddersfield, having missed the train we were aiming for. All’s not lost as we’re now on TPE’s local service to Piccadilly, where we’ll catch up the others before getting the Transport for Wales service to Shrewsbury. This time of day our train’s quiet. After years of travelling ln jam-packed 185s, I can’t get used to seeing them like this…

Despite our train starting in Huddersfield it still had a 3 minute late departure, but at keast we’re on our way and Dawn can let others worry abkut the driving…

What a beautiful day for crossing the Pennines. The sunshine’s highlighting the seasons change in the leaf colour of the trees en-route. It’s a perfect day for lineside photography, but I’m stuck on a train! We may have been empty at the start but after stopping several times on the way we’re now about half-full. To TPE’s credit, the conductor on this train’s excellent, keeping oeople informed of delays and connections in an informative but relaxed way.

10:40.

Time for a change of TOC. The gang’s all here on Transport for Wales 09:31 to Shrewsbury. At least we’ve all got seats at tables, even if there’s no power sockets.

11:31.

Not a great day on the trains today. Our TfW service is now 9 mins late, having dropped time ever since leaving Manchester Piccadilly. This means we’ll miss our connection at Shrewsbury and have to get the later train. No big deal, but frustrating nonetheless.

12:15.

The enforced delay allowed a mad dash for sustenance as the group tried to find food tgat suited all tastes. Mission successful, we’re now on West West Midlands Railway’s 12:13 to Telford. The weather’s not as cloudless here, but it’s still a great imorovement to the past few days – and it’s dry!

15:00.

On arrjval in Telford we went straight to the venue and got stuck into the various jobs that needed sorting, such as last minute table changes, cancellations and checks. We even found the time to set up a production line and stuff the 450 goody bags we need…

17:09.

Preparatory work done, a group of us are off for a littke jolly to Wolverhampton thanks to WM Trains. You’ll see where they’re taking us shortly….

20:20.

– well that was the plan anyway! We were taken on a trip to a museum I’ve never visited before, but the snapshot we had of the Black Country Museum was so enjoyable I’ll definitely be coming back to explore more of what it has to offer.

We’ve been treated to a private night at the museum, complete with rides on a trolleybus, drinks in the rebuilt Mechanics Institute building, tours of selected old shops and fish and chips from their vintage chippy. I’ve too many pictures to add now, but I will do in the morning (along with links to the museum). Right now we’re being taken back to Telford by road, ready for the big day tomorrow.