I’m enjoying a slower start to today than the past couple in order to get some sleep in the bank as I’m going to need it over the next few days. I had a lie-in until 07:00 today – luxury! Now I’m enjoying topping up my caffeine levels whilst repacking all the kit need for for Infrarail plus all the stuff I’ve brought with me for the next few days volunteering for the Railway Children and their epic ‘3 Peaks by Rail’ challenge which starts this evening. But first, I’m heading back the NEC and Infrarail for a last session of photography. Feel free to keep popping back during the day to see how things unfold…
It’s much quieter here at Infrarail today. The Seminars all finish before lunch so I’m planning to make a break for it by then.
Job done! The final speakers have finished and all the pictures are ‘in the can’ as it were. The irony? I’ve spent the best part of two and a half days stuck indoors whilst the sun’s been beating down on us and the place has been red-hot. As soon as I pack up and leave to get the train to Crewe the heavens have opened and it’s raining cats and dogs!
Still, here’s a couple of pictures from Infrarail taken just before I left…
I’ll try and catch up with some blogging on my way up to Crewe and fill out some more details of the final day of Infrarail.
I’ve finally left Birmingham to make my way (in fits and starts) to Crewe to join the rest of the Railway Children volunteers, staff and entrants to this years 3 Peaks by rail. Thankfully, the torrential rain we had earlier has passed. Now the skies are a multitude of shades of grey with the odd snatch of blue. It’s also very humid. I must admit it was great to be back at Infrarail even if it was hard work. Covering three seminar theatres spread over two halls plus the traipsing around after politicians and VIPs certainly kept me fit! Even so, seeing so many familiar faces again after such a long gap made it all worthwhile. Then there’s the new contacts and offers of work which you can only get face to face. Zoom and the interweb will never be a substitute for that.
After a brief stop at Wolverhampton to change trains and grab a couple of pictures I’m on the move again, this time on another West Midlands Class 350. It’s hard to keep track of this fleet as not only do they have three sub-classes, they’re also a mix of refurbished and refurbished sets. The first train had tables and power sockets, this one (350235) doesn’t. Outside there’s some impressively moody and thunderous looking skies which could make for some great pictures if only I was in the right place!
We’re on our way! Everyone came together in Crewe without any major difficulties. The teams assembled, registered and received their briefings, the volunteers stocked up the train (a job and a half) and then – we were off. Here’s everyone ready and raring to go.
For the enthusiasts out there, the train’s made up of LSL Mk3 coaches and triple headed by two Class 37s and a Class 47.
We’ve just left Llandudno Junction after a 50 minute layover which gave the on-board team the chance to serve everyone with a hot meal. Now we’re heading for Bangor where the walkers will transfer to coaches for the trip to the base of Snowdon.
We’ve deposited the teams, the guides and some RC staff and volunteers at Bangor where they’re being bussed to the base of Snowdon. Before they left they were provided with plenty of fresh fruit and other snacks to makes sure they weren’t short of energy.
Meanwhile, the train and the onboard crew are heading to Holyhead where the train will be serviced overnight and prepared for picking up the walkers when it returns to Bangor at 04:21.
Whilst the teams climb Snowdon the train and its crew are at Holyhead where they’ve been busy unpacking and storing all the food and drink that was loaded aboard at Crewe. Meanwhile, chef Nick Hebborn and Alison are rustling up a meal of sausage stew on a bed of rice for them in one of the buffet cars. We don’t have a kitchen car this year, so facilities are limited.