We have another lovely day here in West Yorkshire so I’m repeating my photographic travels in the next-door Colne Valley, hopefully hunting down some of the diverted freight services that are gracing their rails for the next 10 days, plus adding some library shots of a line that will be changing dramatically over the next few years as part of the multi-billion pound TRU (Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade).

Right now I’m making my way from Sowerby Bridge to Huddersfield via Dewsbury aboard one of Northern’s refurbished Class 158s. I much prefer them to the old as there’s actually some leg-room at the table seats, plus they’re fitted with USB charging points. The 11:23’s a quiet train with just a handful aboard. I’ll be curious to see what others look like later. Stay with me to find out…


Beat laid plans and all that, eh? I stopped off at Mirfield to get photographs of the extended garden looked after by the station friends. They’ve done an excellent job (as you’ll see later). Whilst there I checked to see how the freight services I was hunting were running only to find they’d been cancelled! Now I have to come up with a plan B. There’s no point sticking the the Colne valley so I’m going to venture West across the Pennines to (hopefully) look at some of the TRU work around Manchester. Watch this space…

Right now I’m on a stopper heading for Stalybridge form Huddersfield which is busy with folks on days out. I’m please to report the vast majority are still wearing masks.

After calling at Greenfield and Mossley we got even busier with folks heading into the city.


Sorry for the break but I’ve been busy travelling. I abandoned my TPE chariot at Stalybridge in order to sample what are one of the most hated phrases in the English language. The ‘rail replacement’ bus service! Trains to Manchester Victoria via Ashton-under-Lyme are being substituted by buses to Ashton, thence Guide Bridge where you can rejoin the railway. I gave it a go and I have to say it worked without a hitch. Double-deck buses run every half hour. They’re clean -and empty as most people have already found alternative routes. I actually qute enjoyed it as it took me places in East Manchester I’d never been before although it was a mixed bag of derelict mills and churches leavened with a lot of closed shops with the occaisional hint of what a prosperous area it must once have been. That said, as someone who enjoys architecture, I loved some of the buildings. The lovely red Accrington brick dominates here.


An intresting and varied day. On arrival at Guide Bridge I caught a train to Manchester Piccadilly. The weather was excellent and the city centre full of life so I decided to visit the top floor of a car park I knew near Oxford Rd that provides a great vantage point over the rail connection known as the Castlefield corridor – although bottleneck is more apt. This two-track section of line is horribly overcrowded with both passenger and freight services.

Having had my fill of rail photographs I nipped into bearby Chinatown to pick up some culinary supplies as we’ve run out of fish sauce and the evil red birdseye chillies. I found fish sauce without a problem but – despite trying several Chinese supermarkets – I couldn’t get the chillies for love nor money. I believe they’re imported from Thailand. As that country’s struggling to get its population Covid vaccinated this nay have something to do with it.

I was tempted to risk coming back via the rail replacement service via Rochdale but decided I’d had enough ‘bus fun’ for the day so returned via train to Huddersfield instead.

The trip was quite sad because I sahed the front portion of the train with an elderly, wheelchair-bound woman and her middke-aged son who was acting as her carer. The dynamic was awful. The pair of them obviously had ‘issues’ which made me feel so incredibly grateful for my life and circumstances. Never forget – there but for the grace of God (even if you don’t believe in Gods)..

Public transport has a myriad of functions. One of which is to showcase how the other half lives – and I’ll always be appreciative of those lessons.


I’m pausing this blog now as I’ve more thoughts and pictures to add – but that’s not going to happen until tomorrow as I’m back at home and it’s time to relax. I’m working from home all day tomorrow which will give me time to finalise this blog, edit the past two days pictures – and finish filleting Simon Jenkins Guardian nonsense – which has turned into an epic as there’s so much rubbish to refute with evidence. Until then – goodnight!

I’ve a favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances need all the help that we can get. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Thank you!