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Well, not just the rain, but it has been another wet and frustrating day. My cunning plan was to head over to the Wigan – Southport railway to get some shots of the new bi-mode Class 769 trains that are on test there to fill a gap in the library and also for a client.

I dutifully headed off in that direction this morning. The weather here in Yorkshire was less than ideal but I don’t have much time to spare at the moment as the diary for March is looking rather full.

The trip across the Pennines from Sowerby Bridge was uneventful. I was on a direct service from Leeds to Wigan Wallgate which was worked by one of Northern’s cascaded Class 158s. Once the staple of more express services, they’ve been displaced onto secondary duties that would once have been worked by Pacers. It was comfortable and not particularly busy until it called at Rochdale so I used my time wisely and got some work done. The lack of wifi and power sockets wasn’t an issue now I have my new ‘super duper’ Dell laptop so I managed to plough through and edit quite a backlog of pictures whilst keeping a wary eye on the weather which was worsening the further West I got.

Sod’s law being what it is, by the time I got to Wigan and checked the Class 769 workings on Real Time Trains it was obvious today’s runs had been cancelled. It’s always the luck of the draw with these things and the fact it was raining cats and dogs in Wigan (or ‘Wiggin’ as the local pronounce it) meant I wasn’t too disappointed. Instead, I admitted defeat to head back East and attempted to salvage the day by getting a couple of shots around Manchester Victoria, like this one which rather shows how much the railways around the city have changed in the past few years.

A pair of Hitachi Class 802s operated by Trans Pennine Express pass at Manchester Victoria. On the left 802215 works 9S12, the 1224 Liverpool Lime Street to Edinburgh. Yes, Manchester now has direct services to the Scottish capital – and from Victoria too! On the right 802209 was working the unfortunate 1P22, the 1047 Newcastle to Manchester Airport which was terminated at Victoria due to signal failure. It’s great to see the way Victoria has regained the intercity services that it lost decades ago – and with brand new state of the art trains providing them too!

Heading on East I managed to get home without getting drenched thanks to my trusty Siemens supplied umbrella and a new pair of walking boots that kept my feet above the many puddles I encountered on the way. This evening has been spent on different activities. Both Dawn and I love to cook and tonight the muse was upon me. Whilst Dee slaved away working from home I tried an Indian recipe I’ve never cooked before, Chettinad Chicken curry. It’s fiery due to the Kashmiri chilli powder and ground black peppercorns and aromatic due to the cumin, cinnamon and coriander seeds. Served with rice and a few pickles and chutneys it certainly brought some colour into an otherwise dreary day.

The weekend weather isn’t looking much better. In fact, it appears we’ve yet another storm on the way, so I doubt I’ll be getting out with the camera over the next few days although I might get a few more old slides from 1990 scanned – just to keep the momentum going. As chance would have it, the next ones to be done are from Bristol – a city that I’ll be back in on Monday as I’m at an ACoRP seminar on Monday – Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll have chance to get a couple of up to date shots as a comparison…