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We’ve had a busy day here at Bigland Towers due to two events. Dawn had to go into the Community Rail Network offices in Huddersfield bright and early whilst I was engaged in my last Zoom judging panel for the Community Rail Awards. The law of Sod being what it is, my internet started playing up shortly before I was due to join the meeting. Luckily, there was a plan B. I have a large data allowance on my mobile phone contract so I tethered it to my laptop and used it as a surrogate internet connection for a few hours whilst myself and my esteemed colleagues (all with a wealth of experience) judged our final three categories totaling over 50 entries . What was reassuring was the the fact that during our individual initial sifting and marking we’d all come to an independent (and unwitting) consensus on who the winners were. 2nd and 3rd place took some more discussions but an agreement wasn’t too difficult – despite the fact there were some excellent entries and the overall standards were so high. I’ll say no more other than that there are some very worthy winners and the awards ceremony in Manchester later in October will be a brilliant and inspiring event and celebration of the best the world of community railways has to offer.

Now my judging duties are over for another year I can concentrate on other things. I’m looking forward to be able to get out and about again as there’s so many things to see and do – although today wasn’t going to be one of those days due to the latest rail strike which meant there were no trains at all running through the Calder Valley, which would have rather cramped my style! Anyway, there’s another week and another month coming up on Monday which will see me stretching my legs on a number of different projects. But not tomorrow – as the weather’s meant to be crap again! I’ve been sending pictures from the heatwave to several different magazines today. They seem like an age ago due to the fact we’ve had constant rain since – it’s almost like it was a dream. Hopefully the summer will return soon.

On that note I’ll leave you with today’s picture which is an archive ‘trains and the landscape’ picture taken at Arnside on the edge of the Lake District in November 2021.

CAF built Class 195 number 195132 crosses the viaduct at Arnside whilst working 1C54, the 1228 Manchester Airport to Barrow-in-Furness on the 4th November 2021.

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