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For the past couple of days we’ve had lovely weather here in the Pennines so I’ve said ‘sod it’ when it comes to being chained to a desk and escaped out into the countryside to take the camera out of storage, breathe fresh air and stretch my legs. Yesterday I took a wander locally in the Calder valley to update my library shots of the local rail network. Sadly, things didn’t quite go to plan due to me leaving later than intended so by the time I’d arrived at my intended location the sun had already moved around! Even so, I had a lovely walk along the canal. The feeling that we’re finally coming out of hibernation was compounded by the confirmation of two photographic commissions over the next week, the first I’ve had since last November – which is a wonderful feeling as I know more are in the pipeline. As much as I enjoy writing, there’s nothing like the challenge of being on site in a strange location for testing your photographic skills. The two jobs are very different and one involves an iconic railway structure, but more about them nearer the time.

Today Dawn had to visit her office in Huddersfield so I accompanied her to take the camera for a ‘test run’ as it were. The combination of sunshine and the opportunity to document stretches of the Trans-Pennine railway via the Colne Valley before electrification work starts was too good to miss. Plus, it involved a lot of walking, so my exercise levels benefitted too!

Of course spending two days away from my desk means that there’s a backlog of scanned slides to edit, but they can wait. This is West Yorkshire after all – so it won’t be long before I’m trapped indoors by the rain again…

Now, the question is – what should today’s picture be, one of the old slides from my travels – or one of the new tranche of shots? I’ve plumped for one of today’s – purely for a change. After all, I’ve waited 30 years to get some of my slides into the public arena so another day or two’s hardly going to make a difference!

I took this shot at an area West of Huddersfield called Paddock. There’s a whole series of bridges over the railway at this point so there’s lots of photographic opportunities especially as the line passes through a deep cutting in the rock. Once four tracks, the line was reduced to two back in the 1970s. At the moment Network Rail are planning the upgrade of this section of line, which may (or may not) be electrified.

Taken with a telephoto lens, train 1K68, the 10:31 Scarborough to Liverpool Lime St accelerates to the linespeed of 75mph in the deep cutting at Paddock, West of Huddersfield. The train’s worked by a pair of Siemens Class 185 diesel multiple units. In the background is the spire of the ruined St Thomas’ church. Oh, and thank you to the driver of the train for giving me a cheery wave as he passed!

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