Oh, the joys of having a lie-in! As I stayed in Birmingham last night after a long, hot and busy day I thought “sod it, I’ll have a lie-in and get to Rail Live an hour later than yesterday” – which was a great idea until I turned up at New St station only to find that – due to a shortage of units – Cross Country had cancelled the 10:30 to Worcestershire Parkway! So now I’ll arrive two hours later…
Even so, it’s worth going as I’ve a couple of meetings to make, plus the rain that had been forecast hasn’t materialised so hopefully there’s no need to hide in marquees.
As phone reception’s non-existent on site there’ll be a gap in blogging. Right now I’m on my way as I’m taking an earlier train via Worcester Foregate Street rather than kick my heels at Birmingham New St. One thing I did notice whilst I was waiting for my train was the gradual rollout of the resignalling programme at New St.
The new signals aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing examples of their kind, but they’re less prone to failure and the fact they’re hinged at the bottom so they can be swung down to platform level for maintenance means there’s no need for the traditional ladders attached to allow access to the signal head.
It’s going to be one of those days, isn’t it? I’m currently in Worcester. I’d hoped to get a couple of shots of trains framed by the lovely old GWR semaphore signals before mine arrives, but one of the two I have a window for has been cancelled!
Almost there! I’m now on a GWR Class 800 on my way to Honeybourne to catch the Avivarail shuttle to the site and into a communications black-out! See you on the other side…
Depending on how my meeting goes and who I bump into I’m hoping to leave earlier than yesterday in order to get some pictures on the way home, but let’s see what happens. The last shuttle train leaves at 16:00.
I’m back! Despite arriving on site later than I managed to get all my meetings in and saw all the people I was hoping to (and more) – mainly because we were all in the same place at the same time – outside the Porterbrook marquee!
I’d have liked to have spent more time exploring the stands as (really) two days isn’t enough to see everything so I didn’t even try.
After leaving on the 15:00 shuttle I retraced my steps via Worcester as far as Droitwich where I stopped off to get a couple of pictures of the fine array of old GWR semaphore signals. The weather had clouded up so the shots weren’t as warm as I’d hoped, but that’s life. Sadly, West Midlands Rail are having a bad day, with many trains cancelled due to crew shortages, so half of what I hoped to photograph wasn’t running. I’m now on the 17:34 from Droitwich which is still running but has stops at Bromsgrove and University dropped as it’s running fast from Droitwich to New St via the line through Stourbridge instead of its booked route. Good for me, but not others. I suspect getting back to West Yorkshire might be ‘interesting’…
The problems I was anticipating at Birmingham failed to materialise. One of my options was running late enough for me to miss my connection but plan A worked out just fine. So much so I had time to saunter into the city to buy a snack for the train. The area around New St’s teeming with life once again as people enjoy the good weather and chance to let their hair down again. The atmosphere wasn’t oppressive or claustrophobic either as most people were being cautious and respectful of others.
Back at New St I managed to find a seat on Cross-Country’s 18:57 to Manchester Piccadilly. It was a busy train but not uncomfortably so, despite a growing number of people returning to the railways.
I have to admit – I’ve really enjoyed the chance to network and mingle with real people again and from many conversation I had at ‘Rail Live’ I know that I’m not alone in that. The idea that everyone’s going to work from home in the future is just stuff and nonsense!
Not that I’m looking forward to having some home time myself in the next few days as I’ve got a lot of things to do – not least get all these pictures edited! I’ll be back on the road again soon enough as next week I’ll be visiting the HS2 construction site at Calvert in Buckinghamshire – so watch this space…
The final leg…
A brisk but pleasant stroll across Manchester city centre between the two stations saw me arrive in enough time to catch the 20:55 to Leeds and home – although looking East the skies look anything but inviting due to the masses of heavy grey cloud I can see on the horizon. I suspect the fine summer weather I’ve been experiencing may be about to come to a rather abrupt end…
No matter. It’ll save me worrying about having to water the garden and I’ve plenty to do indoors! Expect to see lots of pictures appear on my Zenfolio picture website over the next few days. Oh, and tomorrow there should be a blog on HS2 as the Amersham by-election is being held today, so the result will be in tomorrow and I’ll be looking at how the Green Party’s throughly dishonest and hopelessly Nimby based anti HS2 campaign fared. But for now – goodnight! I’ll leave you with one last picture from ‘Rail Live’ which I took yesterday. Here’s Vivarail’s Class 230 destined for Transport for Wales (TfW) to work services on the Wrexham to Bidston line. It was used to form the shuttle train from Honeybourne to the Rail Live site…
I’ve a favour to ask…
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I did keep an eye out for you at Rail Live, if only to say hello to you as a real person rather than a social media entity, but clearly our paths weren’t destined to cross today.
Paul Bigland said:
Sorry I missed you! Myself and other friends spent quite a bit of time with Porterbrook today, so I wasn’t wandering around as much as yesterday, then I caught the 15:00 shuttle back to Honeybourne. Hope you had a good day regardless.
Yes, Rail Live is always worth a visit, although there didn’t seem to be as much there as in previous years. But that’s understandable I suppose.
Yes thanks it was a good day, no rain for one. Rail Live is always worth a visit, although I did think there was less there this year, but that’s understandable I think.
Paul Bigland said:
Indeed. A few companies were unable to attend due to their Covid policies.