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Today’s really been a mixture! My plan was to spend most of it at home catching up on picture editing and paperwork but the weather was so good this morning that I kiboshed that idea after a few hours. Admittedly, I was in the office at 6am, so I didn’t feel too guilty as I’d got a lot done already.

I stayed locally as there’s enough of interest at the moment because of the new trains we’ve got in the area, plus the abundance of woodland which makes for a fantastic backdrop this time of year. In fact I was in two minds about which locations to choose, but a changing forecast made my mind up for me.

My first port of call was half an hour’s walk away, which was a really pleasant stroll as the weather was so balmy. I headed down to an overbridge near Dryclough Junction which is where the line from Halifax splits into two routes. One heads West through the Calder Valley, the other heads to Brighouse and Huddersfield. Here’s how it looked today.

A splash of autumn colour as 195107 passes Dryclough Junction whilst working 1D77, the 1238 Leeds to Chester. Timekeeping’s improved today, this was only seven minutes late! The lower lines in the background lead to Greetland Junction and the route to Brighouse. Halifax town is behind the train.

This time of year the sun doesn’t hang around. I only had a 30-40 minute window at Dryclough before heavy shadows crept in, so I moved on to a very different location and a completely different kind of shot in the hills above Halifax, helped by the fact the weather completely clouded up in the afternoon, otherwise I’d have been shooting straight into a low winter sun. I do like the views around Halifax and beacon Hill as they can really reflect the era when the Industrial revolution (and a colonialist empire) transformed the landscape in both Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The first of the class, CAF’s 195001 leaves Halifax, past the famous confectionary factory in the background that produces such well known items as ‘Quality Street’ before the unit disappears off the Beacon Hill viaduct into the 1105 yard long tunnel of the same name. Back in the 1980s this picture would have been impossible as all you’d have been looking at was a huge multi-storey mill that was blocking the view. It’s long gone and the site’s now occupied by a low height ‘Matalan’ shop.
Here’s a slightly different view as 195104 arrives into Halifax station whilst working 1D79, the 1438 Leeds to Chester which was (almost) on time! To the right of the picture you can see the old Halifax signal box which was decommissioned last October. The stone wall in front of the white van was once the start of the series of viaducts that carried the old Great Northern Railway line to Bradford via Queensbury. It closed to passengers in 1955 but remained open for goods traffic until 1963.

Tomorrow we shift tempo – and country – as Dawn and I are off to Belgium by train from Halifax with a small group of friends from our local pub, the ‘Big 6‘. Six from the 6 are off to Bruges for three nights of fun and frolics, food beer and culture – as well as some history, so expect a rolling blog tomorrow as we make our way to London by train before catching the Eurostar to Brussels, then an internal service to Bruges. It’s going to be wonderful to be back on the European mainland in a civilised country and away from the continual and utter shambles that’s Brexit – which I promise not to mention, (well, not much, anyway) Stay tuned!