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Welcome to a new week. I had it scheduled in my diary as one I’d been spending entirely at home as I had to finish judging entries in three different categories for the 2021 Community Rail Awards. As Dawn wasn’t at work today because she was driving down to Surrey I decided to get up at Sparrowfart, let her sleep and get on with the marking. So, coffee made – I was in the office at 06:30 this morning, reading and annotating the final entries out of the three groups I’m judging for, which meant I was finished before lunchtime. There’s some excellent entries but there’s nothing I can say at this stage – for obvious reasons. Tomorrow my fellow Judges and I come together on ‘Zoom’ to see what we’ve each shortlisted and agree the final shortlist and placings. I’ll be fascinated to see if we near enough have the same people placed!

Having completed my effort and seen Dawn off on her travels I decided to make the most of the sunny weather and escape with the camera for a few hours. There’s a huge amount of subjects on my shot-list, but today I decided to stay local. Well, within Yorkshire anyway! Having walked into Halifax I caught a train to Bradford then walked between the city’s stations to take the long way around to Leeds. On the way I stopped to grab a few pictures at Kirkstall Forge station as the light was ideal. What was less than ideal is the frequency of the stations automated announcements. The station has a half-hourly service, which means there’s several trains per hour that pass non-stop. Not a problem in itself, apart from the fact ‘Digital Doris’ seems to have no idea when they’re due so fills the air with ‘Stand well back from the platform edge, the next train is not scheduled to stop here” every minute. Great, but no train’s due to pass for 7 minutes! I timed them! It’s like the boy who cried wolf. You get so sick of hearing the announcement that you turn off. Then suddenly, a train does whizz past. The old expression ‘less is more’ springs to mind.

Anyway, gripe aside, I continued my trip into Leeds in time to catch one of the trains I was after. LNER used to have a daily service from Harrogate to London Kings Cross. Essentially it was one out in the morning that would return in the evening. I never managed to get pictures of them, but now the service runs roughly every two hours, so I thought it was time to get this one in the can. Besides, the chance to juxtapose new intercity trains with traditional (albeit a renewed version) semaphore signalling isn’t that common. Here’s one of the shots.

Having worked 1D16, the 1333 London Kings Cross to Harrogate, set 800205 slinks off to the refurbished and renewed turnback siding before returning to London as 1A46, the 1736 Harrogate to London Kings Cross. To the left is a replicated bracket semaphore signal which was installed as it was easier than replacing it with modern signalling as the station’s still controlled from the old BR built signalbox behind the train to the right. The signal has all the aesthetics of a car-crash compared to a (once elegant) LNER lattice structure beyond. The semaphore arms look like they’ve been mounted on standard-length scaffold pole that no-one could be bothered to cut to size or cap-off.

Signalling aside, seeing these units at Harrogate makes a change from the standard diet of ‘Northern’ multiple units , even if they have gone more upmarket since the demise of the ‘Pacers’. Here’s a case in point. this is a shot of 800205’s return working passing an ex-Scotrail Class 170 which has been cascaded to Northern. The pair are seen at Horsforth, the only other station between Harrogate and Leeds that LNER call at.

Right, enough from me tonight. I’ve another early start tomorrow in order to clear the decks for Judging. Depending on how it goes I *may* venture out again tomorrow. If not, there’s still plenty of old pictures to keep you entertained with. So, for now – goodnight…

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