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I’d planned to be working from home all day today but things changed when Dawn asked if I’d come into Huddersfield with her whilst she checked the Community Rail Network offices in the old water-tower at the station. How could I refuse? Dee also had a meeting at the offices that was still going ahead despite the weather so I made myself scarce for a few hours by nipping over the border into Lancashire to get some pictures and see how the railway’s coping with the torrential rain and storms we’ve been having. I’d had a quick look on Real Time Trains which showed Colne Valley services running with just a few delays, so I wasn’t expecting any real problems.

My first stop was at Greenfield where there’s a rather nice juxtaposition of road and rail to be had. The weather wasn’t as its best, but even so – it’s important to document our rail network in all conditions, not pretend the sun shines 365 days a year. I managed a series of shots but was curious when an Eastbound TPE service hove into sight at a very slow speed before pulling up at a nearby signal despite it showing a green aspect. The Class 802 sat there for a few minutes before moving off – as did I because I was catching the 12:14 further West.

185109 and 185139 thunder past me whilst working 1P66, the 0907 Redcar Central to Manchester Piccadilly.
802201 crawls away from Greenfield after being asked to inspect flooding on the line between there and Mossley whilst working 1P23, the 1054 Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle.

My 185 arrived on time but soon slowed to a crawl. The Conductor came on the PA to announce that Control had reported flooding on the line and asked them to do a slow-speed inspection. Why soon became evident. The massive rainfall we’ve had has left the ground saturated and incapable of holding more water so any extra is running straight off the land and forming streams all over the place. The steep sloping fields on the North side of the line had released several cascades of water which where beginning to flood the line. None of it was above the railhead (the crucial measure) but it was an obvious cause for concern. We crawled on to our next stop at Mossley where we regained line speed before calling at Staylebridge where I disembarked.

Initially, the weather to the West of the Pennines was little better than the East, so I sought refuge in and old haunt – the Station Buffet bar. I’ve known the place for over 20 years. It’s always had a cracking range of real ales and a fascinating collection of railway memorabilia adorning the walls but there’s a personal touch lacking now that it’s owned by the Beerhouses pub chain who also have the West Riding bar on Dewsbury station. The famous pie and peas have disappeared off the menu too, leaving little choice for the hungry traveller.

I stayed long enough for a pint and to gather my thoughts before heading back across the Pennines to Marsden, my next stop. As I’d not planned a day out I hadn’t packed any food so the first thing I did was make a beeline for the town centre, hoping to find a ‘chippy’ and indulge in a rare threat – chips and mushy peas. Sadly, the purveyor of such products was closed so I had to make do with an cold Cornish pasty from a local bakery. On the bright side, the Riverhead Brewery had re-opened after its Covid hibernation so I was able to enjoy a quick pint and a warm before heading back to Huddersfield on a very busy local service, demonstrating that rail passenger numbers are really recovering in this neck of the woods.


I’m now back at home with no intention of venturing out again as I’ve too much to do over the next few days. Still it was nice whilst it lasted…

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