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13:10

Today’s been one of those mixed days where you never know quite how things are going to turn out!

When I woke up and gazed out of the bedroom window this morning I looked out on beautifully clear skies and idea weather for heading out with the camera. I’d a list of shots that I needed to get for a client so as soon as I had breakfast and sent some emails I headed out.

Typically, by the time I got down to Sowerby Bridge the weather had changed as the clouds had rolled in rendering it impossible to get the shots I needed. Instead (on a whim) I decided to head over to Manchester and reconnoiter some different images. Unfortunately I’d just missed a Manchester bound train. Northern’s new timetable has cut a lot of trains that used to at Sowerby so I had the best part of 45 mins to wait for the next one. Eventually, a Class 158 arrived. To my shock, it was the 11:06 running 5 minutes early! I’m not used to such early running. Needless to say, it waited time and I had an uneventful journey Westwards across the Pennines on an uncrowded train. Whilst I was travelling I heard that an interesting job I’d had pencilled in for next week was cancelled, which was a disappointment, but that’s the nature of freelance work.

Once in Manchester I grabbed a few shots but the weather was still damp and miserable. On another whim I plumped to head over to Liverpool in an effort to find some sunshine and check out a couple of locations. Here’s the beastie that’s taken me back to my birthplace.

68021 blows some dust off the roof as it arrives at Manchester Victoria on its way to Liverpool Lime St.

My timing was less than perfect. Plugging in my new laptop on its maiden voyage away on the rails I checked my emails and found one from a magazine asking for a potential cover picture of – Manchester! It looks like my Liverpool visit is destined to be brief…

14:10.

– as indeed it was! I’m now racing Eastwards again, this time aboard on of TPE’s Class 185s. They may be the oldest trains in their fleet, but they still over the best ride qualities. I seem to be heading back towards sunshine too – so maybe this particular change of plan’s paid off…

16:26.

Well, my gamble almost worked! The weather played ball in Manchester. Sadly, the trains didn’t and the juxtaposition I was hoping for never quite came off. The photo I hoped to recreate with the current liveries is next to impossible now. Even so, I did manage a few useful library shots before heading off to Stalybridge to do a quick bit of shopping and see if I could get a hair cut (natch). Interestingly, whilst I was there I came across the pubs that’s in the Guinness book of records for having the shortest name in the UK whilst just a couple of doors down is the Inn that could quite possibly have the longest!

17:45.After a quick ‘libation’ in the renowned Stalybridge station buffet bar I headed back to Manchester Victoria on a Class 153/158 lash-up that was shuttling between the two locations. Almost empty heading back into the city it had crowds waiting for its arrival.In the adjacent platform was a 2 – car Class 195 heading to Leeds but I was already rammed. Then, as I watched, the lights failed. That’s when I noticed the engines had already stopped running. I decided to abandon that odea and make a dash to get a sabdwhich fron the Co-op across the road vefore trying my luck with the 17:37 to Leeds. When I came back the 195 was still stuck in platform 1, but the 17:37 was in at 6 and it was worked by a 3-car Class 158. OK, it was rammed and I was stuck in a vestibule, but these things nornally disgorge 20-25% of folk at Rochdale anyway.

And so it came to pass…

21:55.

Right, it’s time to sign off for the day folks. After getting home and sorting out some of today’s pictures I made an effort to catch up with the past by getting through a few old slides I had set up before my ‘other half’ came home. Here’s a sample.

This is Ely, back in July 1990 before the world changed. These are some of the remnants of the old semaphore signals that had controlled the railways almost since their inception. Ely had a veritable forest of them, but they were all being chopped down to make way for the modern, electrified railway. I miss them, but I don’t mourn their passing as the railway had to modernise.

You might not get much of a blog tomorrow as it’s Valentine’s day…