I’m on my way to Huddersfield for an appointment that was cancelled at the last moment this time last week. Today it’s so far, so good. The meeting’s not until this afternoon but I’m taking the ‘scenic’ route on foot and public transport.
Walking from home to Halifax station I was struck by the lack of political posters. You’d be forgiven for not knowing there’s local elections happening next week! Apart from a few Labour banners I’ve seen nothing from any of the other parties. I’ll cover this more (and why we should be concerned about it) in another blog.
My first steed was Grand Central train heading for Mirfield. It’s hardly a direct way to get to Huddersfield but in their wisdom the Treasury – sorry, the Dept of Transport have reduced the hourly Halifax – Huddersfield service to two-hourly as a cost cutting measure, making it very unattractive.
On the bright side, the GC service was well loaded. As an open-access service they don’t recieve any Govt subsidy so stopped running completely during the height of the pandemic.
A short walk under the attractively lit and decorated subway brought me up to the Westbound platform where I found the 11:11 is running 3 mins late. Not untypical but not a problem as I’ve no other connection to make. This used to be a good place for photography but the growth of lineside vegetation had reduced visibility so much that any shot of a train heading East would look like it’s running through a field! All this will change soon when the Trans-Pennine route upgrade (TRU) begins. This section will be restored to four tracks, the station rebuilt and the line electrified.
Slight change of plan. I was going to walk along the canal from Huddersfield to Milnsbridge but I got distracted by the delious smells emenating from the station buffet so I popped in for a chat with Chris and his wife and to purchase one of their delicious bacon teacakes (as they call rolls in this part of the world) and a coffee.
Now I’ll get the train to Slaithwaite and walk to Milnsbridge from there which is a bit further but should be a nicer canalside walk. I have just enough time to do it..
Phew! A brisk 55 minute walk has got me to my appointment on time. The canalside walk’s far nicer this way and the Canal and River Trust are busy resurfacing the entire towpath, which will make for some easy walking.
Right, catch you later…
Appointment over I caught the bus back into Huddersfield to save some time and also because that section of the canal towpath isn’t as attractive due to it being a favourite for rubbish dumping and fly-tipping. Plus, it got me back to the station in time to catch a train back towards Bradford rather than having to go via Leeds. I’m currently enjoying the ambience of a refurbished former West Yorkshire PTE Class 158/9 that’s been refurbished with new seats as well as being fitted with USB sockets and wifi (hence this update). I’m not going to go home straight away. I feel the need for some further wandering. The question is – to where?…
And the answer was – Skipton. Having caught the train to Bradford I traversed the city twixt Interchange and Forster Square stations which neatly cut out the meed for Leeds and added to my daily fitbit ‘brownie points’. Oh, and the chance to travel on another parochial train fleet. The Class 333s are limited to the local electrified lines West of Leeds covering Bradford, Ilkley and Skipton. They’re comfortable trains that were recently refurbished – just not up to a specification folk expect now – hence the absence of power points and sockets, even if (perversely) they were some of the first Northern trains to be fitted with Wifi!.
They do look smart inside tho’
My Skipton sojourn was brief. I’d come here for two reasons and with it being such a gray day photography wasn’t one of them! Dawn had expessed an interest in some new outdoor clothing and Skipton is full of such shops. Plus, a group of retired and still serving railway staff were on on a regular outing. I’ve been invited along for years but the stars never aligned. Today I gave said stars a nudge – even if that meant I was only for an hour!
It was lovely to catch up with some people whom I’ve not ssen for years. I could have stayed a lot (lot) longer – but another time maybe..
Right now I’m heading into Leeds having missed my Bradford option by the skin of my teeth. This train’s quiet as it’s operating contraflow so it’s only carrying early revellers who’re heading for a night out in Leeds.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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