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The festive season’s rather put a damper on blogging these past few days, as has family commitments but today such things end as I’m finally heading home after my Surrey sojourn. Whilst Dawn and her parents have driven back I’ve headed North by train as I had to make a detour for both business and pleasure.

I’ve had a long lens in for repair at Fixation in London since the end of August but a lack of spare parts has meant it wasn’t fixed until just before Christmas. As I had to pop in to Vauxhall to pick it up, and I have an old friend who lives in Clapham – and the Southern main line between London Victoria and Balham was closed for resignalling work it seemed like the ideal opportunity to kill three birds with one stone!

The family dropped me off in Farnham where I caught a train into London. The weather was still as crap as ever but at least it’d stopped raining. That said, temperatures are ridiculously mild for this time of year. Double figures in December? Sheesh!

My train through to the capital was quiet, because of Omicron many people are either choosing to work from home or have extended their holidays to avoid having to travel. Apart from a few souls like me heading home after being with family the majority of my felloe passengers seemed to be folk heading into London for a day out shopping or sightseeing whilst the city’s quiet.

Having picked up my lends I met Hassard in Clapham where the two of us explored photographic avenues that allowed us to capture pictures of the resignalling work. As this sort of stuff (engineering possessions) is Hass’s day job at Network Rail it could be called a busmens holiday for him, but that’s what happens when hobbies and work collide!

Afterwards we spent a convivial hour at a pub enjoying a pint and a light lunch before I traipsed across London to get to Kings Cross and home. The Underground was surprisingly busy but mask wearing was adhered to by the vast majority of people, which was reassuring. Unfortunately, the East Coast Main line was suffering from a common malaise – overhead wire problems – this time around Stevenage. I’d visions of being heavily delayed as the train that was meant to be working my service to Leeds was over 40 minutes late on its inbound trip. Fortunately, LNER control stepped up sets and ran a Class 800 that was already platformed in its place. Even so, we were caught up in the congestion the issue caused, leaving us 20 minutes down by Grantham. My connection in Leeds was now out of the window, but at least I was getting home.

We were still 20 down on arrival at Leeds but having over half an hour to wander round was no problem as a large part of the station was under an engineering possession which made for some interesting photo opportunities, plus one rather surreal one – but only folk with railway experience will understand why it’s not as mad as it first seems.

Now I’m back at home as Dee picked me up at the station in order to save getting a soaking as the weather’s wet and windy back in the bosom of West Yorkshire. Still, it’s good to be home. Today’s excursions are my last train journey’s of 2021 as the pair of us are going to kick back and relax tomorrow with only each other for company. Oh, expect a year end blog even so. After all, it would be rude not to…

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