Far from being housebound today I’m out and about on the Yorkshire rail network, getting some pictures for a client whilst also seeing how the network and its users are coping with the reduced services imposed by the Treasury and Dept of Transport. It’s already evident from complaints across the South-East that service levels are totally inadequate for the numbers of people returning to work, but what’s the picture in the North?
I’m currently on the 08:46 from Halifax to Leeds which is made up of a pair of 2-car Class 195s. It was easily 60% full heading for Bradford where there was a large exchange of passengers that kept the loading around the same. There’s plenty of people waiting at Interchange for other services and the station’s actually very busy. As we sat at Platform 4 two more Class 195 (one from Leeds and one from Halifax) rolled in simultaneously and in formation into platforms 2 and 3. It was almost choreographed! The service levels seem to be frequent enough not to have caused consternation here in the way they have elsewhere and the number of people travelling justifies the levels.
Here’s passengers departing my train at Leeds.
Having changed trains at Leeds which was busy but nothing like it can be I caught a Trans-Pennine service bound for Newcastle as far as York, which is where I’m typing this. The 5-car TPE train was quiet, certainly in the front car where I was anyway. The journey to Yorkshire’s county town was releaxed and easy – even if the weather was worse than expected (you know that fine drizzle that gets in everywhere? That..). En-route I observed the progress on erecting the over head wires from West from Colton Junction on the East Coast Main line to – well, the middle of nowhere really…
The current scheme as approved peters out just before the Junctions at Church Fenton. We’re told the wires will continue to Leeds as part of the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade (TRU) but that’s going to take some time.
York station was subdued and suffering from recent storm damage. Part of the concourse and footbridge by platforms 5-9 is taped off due to the roof taking a hammering.
One thing that’s really evident at places like York is the absence of foreign tourists who used to make up a substantial proportion of the passenger flow. Admittedly, February was never their peak time but there was always a steady flow. I spotted one group of young (bemasked) Asian women, but that was it.