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08:15.

After yesterday’s abortive attempt to get to Manchester I’m having another crack at it this morning. I’m currently getting ready to head down to the station, hoping services are running more smoothly today, despite the gloominess and wetness of the weather. Let’s see what happens…

09:02.

I’ve walked down into soggy Sowerby Bridge to catch the train. The weather’s less than inviting and the “sunny periods” mentioned on the forecast have failed to put in an appearence, but at least the rain’s stopped for now. As I crossed the Calder I noticed the river levels shrunk. It’s still looking angry, but not livid!

My first train of the day is the 09:06 to Wigan Wallgate. My least favourite type of train’s turned up on it. The Class 150. This one’s an ex-GWR set that’s been refurbished to make it reasonably presentable, although it still has 3+2 seating.

09:30.

We’ve just crossed the Pennines into Lancashire where the weather’s just as grim as it is in Yorkshire! As we passed the site of the culvert I featured in yesterday’s blog I saw that it’s still blocked and flooding the track, with little sign the torrent has lessened any.

After calling at Littleborough our train’s rammed which is no bad thing as the extra bodies might generate some heat as it’s freezing on here!

15:00.

Sorry for my absence for the past few hours. I’ve been too busy taking pictures to blog! The weather’s been pretty mixed here in Manchester but at least it stayed dry. Now the day’s moving on we’ve even seen some of the sunshine we were promised. Most of my attention has been focussed on trying to fulfil a brief I’ve been given by RAIL magazine. Sadly, it’s not as easy as it once was due to the ever-changing nature of the railways, but I’ve given it my best shot(s) as it were. Time will tell if the pictures do what they’re imagining.

Whilst I was at Piccadilly I noticed the new East Midland Railway franchise seems to be rather short of serviceable regional trains. Whilst I was there a ‘double Dogbox’ and Class 158 passed through on a Liverpool Lime St – Norwich working, then this turned up – ‘double dogbox’ and a Class 156! This is only for the hardy, 75mph max and no air conditioning…

This was the 07:46 from Nottingham to Liverpool Lime St which was terminated at Manchester as it had no chance of keeping to time. It left Sheffield 44 mins late and was 63 minutes late by the time it got to Piccadilly.

Having got the pictures off to RAIL I’m now having a break in the warm and catching up with blogging before heading out again. I’ve lots of pictures to add to my Zenfolio website later and a bit of travelling to do yet today. Let’s see what happens next…

23:00.

Apologies for the way this blog got lost. It’s now late and I’ve been back at home for several hours, sorting out pictures from the day and also scanning yet another batch of old slides.

After sending pictures off to rail I hung around in Manchester for a couple of hours to capture another series of library shots along the Castlefield rail corridor. Here’s an example of just how congested it is.

On the left a Northern Class 195 is held at signals on the approach to Manchester Oxford Rd. In the background a TPE service is sat at Manchester Piccadilly, waiting for the Northern service to clear the section so that it can follow. Meanwhile, a Freightliner service from Trafford Park heads in the opposite direction.

My time in Manchester was interesting as it made me realise just how much the railways have changed in the past year because of the introduction of new trains. Both Northern and Trans-Pennine Express services have altered tremendously with new trains and new routes. The only Pacers I saw were operating services to New Mills in tandem with Class 150s, a situation that’s a far cry from how it was just a couple of years ago. Once all the new trains have entered service the railways around Manchester and Leeds are going to look very different. Not that the changes stop there. Next up is electrification and expansion of the railway from Huddersfield to York, which (hopefully) will make a big difference to the reliability of trans-pennine services.

Tomorrow I’m going to enjoy a day working from home as I’ve got a lot of pictures to edit, so expect to see some appear in a blog and the rest on my Zenfolio website. After today’s perambulations (my Fitbit tells me I’ve walked just over 14 miles today) I’m looking forward to a more relaxing day. For now, I’m going to bid you goodnight!