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09:30.

Today sees me travelling around the shire from West to South as I’ve a variety of things to do. First off this morning is one that’s familiar – and local. The friends of Mytholmroyd station are having a big volunteer event where Northern Rail staff volunteers are descending for the day to add extra bodies and muscle-power to help tackle some of the bigger and more complex jobs around the station that could do with a hand (and younger sinews). As an old friend of the group I’m dropping in to capture shots of the day, documenting what these partnerships can achieve and also showcase what the community rail sector gets up to.

After Mytholmroyd I’ll be travelling across to South Yorkshire to visit Sheffield where I’ll be catching up with at least one old friend (and maybe more). Feel free to keep popping back to see how things pan out as I document the day.

10:25.

Not the greatest start. Having walked down to Sowerby Bridge station for the short hop to Mytholmroyd I find my train is losing time by the minute. Due in at 10:24 it’s now scheduled to arrive at 10:29, having slipped as each minute’s passed. It’s a minor inconvenience in the scheme of things but it makes me late for the briefing and being late is one of my personal bugbears.

10:30.

Hmm, a 2-car 195 working all the way to Chester. That’s going to be cosy!

12:15.

I arrived just in time to miss the group briefing in the local church hall, but as I’m very familiar with the station and the group it wasn’t a big deal. Seventeen volunteers from Northern rail had turned up to offer a hand and they were allocated a variety of tasks such as digging up old Daffodils, repotting the planters on the platforms, general weeding or moving larger plants that had outgrown their spaces. The place was a hive of activity as people dressed in high-vis buzzed around like a swarm of angry bees! Here’s some examples of the activities.

Northern Rail volunteers clearing out old plants from the recycled plastic planters on the platforms before replanting them with a fresh display.
The platform approaches at Mytholmroyd have steep banks on either side. Here, volunteers clear the entrance to the car park of old Daffodils and weed the area before replanting.
Doing the hard work (digging out and moving plants) under the watchful eye of one of the station friends.
The latest art installation is these terracotta impressions of the various station friends!

Sadly, I couldn’t stay for lunch so I bid adieu and caught the 11:53 to Leeds via Bradford Interchange, which gave me enough time to download, edit and post the pictures as a Class 195 makes a decent mobile office – unlike the train I changed onto in Leeds where a Class 150/2 was waiting to take me to Sheffield. These things have neither tables nor power sockets and I dislike balancing my laptop on my knee. So, it’s back to typing via my smartphone.

My steed awaits…

18:45.

Well, that’s been an interesting day…

Due to timings Richard Clinnick and I ended up catching the same train to Sheffield. I joined it at Leeds whilst Richard picked it up at Wakefield where he’d been to meet the staff at the Rail Business Daily offices where he was inducted into his new role as Editor of Inside Track magazine. On arrival at Sheffield we met up with another rail industry partner in crime – Lucy Prior. The three of us spent over an hour swapping intel and gossip before I headed off to explore parts of the region I wasn’t familiar with. In this case, Rotherham. Having taken a short break between towns I now know why I’d never had it on my radar. It’s a depressing place. Ignoring the fact the station is famous for turning into a place where you’re more likely to use a canoe than a train in heavy rain, the town itself isn’t exactly what I’d call buzzing. Here’s my introduction to the town centre after leaving the railway station.

Nice…

Frankly, if you wanted to make a ‘zombie apocalypse’ film, Rotherham’s your place. Not only does it have the right levels of decay and dereliction it’s also pretty much deserted. Plus, many of the few souls still shambling around the town centre could easily be signed up as extras – and it wouldn’t cost you much money in make-up either…

I didn’t hang around. One lap of the centre was enough. After that I was on the train back to Sheffield!

– but not on one of these tram-trains, seen here approaching Rotherham Central central station earlier. I caught the Northern rail service following behind. At least the fact I managed this shot was worth the trip…

21:15.

I’m now back at Bigland Towers after uneventful journey’s home. Neither of my Northern trains back to Halifax was particularly busy but then neither was Leeds station. Mind you, Halifax was even quieter – almost everything seemed to have closed down for the night despite it being before 8 ‘o clock. Even the pubs had given up and decided to shut up shop.

Now I’m having an easy evening editing pictures from the day. I might as well make the most of my time – Dawn’s gone round to a friend’s for supper, so there’s only me in! Ah well, it’s another day tomorrow…

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