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Today weather’s far too good to be stuck at home so I’m having another day out with the camera. This time I’m heading West from Sowerby Bridge – and hoping I’ve not made a mistake in doing so!

I’m currently sat on the 09:22 from Sowerby Bridge to Chester. The weather in the Calder valley was wall to wall sunsine and the valley looked stunning. Then we passed through the Summit tunnel into Lancashire and arrived into a blanket of fog! It’s a fine example of what a barrier the Pennines are and how they can influence the weather.


Phew! Now, where was I? I’ve been on the move so much and making the most of the weather that I haven’t had a chance to blog. I’m currently on a service from Manchester Piccadilly that’s heading to Blackpool North.

After disembarking at Victoria earlier I strolled across town to Piccadilly in bright sunshine. The fog I’d encountered earlier had quickly burned away, leaving Manchester’s reputation as a wet city in tatters. My first move was out to Stockport, where I wanted to get shots of trains crossing the famous viaduct. With the sun in the right place you can have fun with a long lens here, but the shadows from the overhead wires present a challenge. I’d been hoping to grab a shot of a Pendolino in the new Avanti livery, but there was no such luck.

Moving back North I stopped at the elevated and open station at Levenshulme where the overhead masts span all four tracks to give a wide vista. Plus, the bare lineside trees don’t cast heavy shadows at this time of year. There’s also the opportunity for some interesting backlit shots.

I moved on again when I felt the shots were in danger of getting repetitive. Heading back to Piccadilly I changed trains once more to enjoy a brief stop in Bolton. The new CAF 331 that carried me there had a noticeably rough ride on the way. Something I’d never noticed before so I can’t ascribe it to train or track. I’d be curious to repeat it in an old DMU to see if there’s a difference.

Bolton was a bit of a bust. Heavy shadows blocked any worthwhile shots, so I’m now on my way to Wigan…


My Wigan sojourn was interesting, but it didn’t yield many pictures as the light (or me, depending on your viewpoint) was in the wrong position for the shots I had in mind. On the bright side, I’m now fuelled-up on chips and curry sauce – which is giving me a few calories to burn off!

Right now I’m on another Northern service. This time the 15:24 from Wigan North Western to Manchester Airport. Oddly, it’s worked by a diesel Class 195 as it originated from Windermere. Hardly the most ‘green’ diagram as it’s ‘under the wires’ all the way from Oxenholme.


I arrived back in Manchester as the sun was just at tipping point. I had intended to visit an old vantage point on the Castlefield Corridor but the volume of new building in the past year has meant it’s disappeared. The sun’s been blocked out by high-rises, casting the whole area into shadow. Instead I added some pictures around Piccadilly, then backtracked to Oxford Rd. Abandoning the railway I wandered the backstreets to explore to photo opportunities in the new skylines. I’ve always found architecture and cityscapes fascinating. They make for some great pictures, so the past hour’s been spent exploring to find photo opportunities that will become impossible by the end of the year as the railway from Castlefield to Piccadilly will become hemmed in by new building.

Here’s another sight that will disappear even sooner…

A pair if Pacers at Manchester Piccadilly. In a sign of the times these units now work in tandem with Class 150s as they’re fitted with ORM compliant toilets.


My day in Manchester was rounded off by what could be the inauguration of the the first branch of the Irish Railways Record Society outside of London. 50 people from across the North turned up to hear Dick Fearn and Tim Morton sound out the idea.