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I’m on my way to Manchester as expected, but under very different circumstances due to a sudden family tragedy that’s happened to a friend and colleague from Community Rail Network. Dawn and I were planning to go into Huddersfield where I’d catch the train and Dee would spend a day at the office. Now we’re both going into Manchester from home because Dawn’s providing cover as she was involved in running the awards for many years. I’ve gone on ahead to do some bits first, with Dawn following on behind.

It’s a beautiful day for travelling anyway. There’s clear blue skies across the valley and the mercury’s rising. I’m on the 09:44 from Halifax which is busy but with seats available which has allowed me to set up the laptop and begin blogging. Feel free to pop back and see what I get up to as the day goes…

Manchester bound…


Rather than hang around in the Stygian gloom of Victoria I decided to change trains at Rochdale to grab pictures in the sun. My time was brief and services piled up on me, but I managed a couple before joining a pair of class 150s sat in the ‘new’ bay waiting to leave with a service to Clitheroe. It’s an all-stations stopper which has filled up rapidly.

On arrival at Victoria I noticed this bell symbol which I’ve never seen on a Northern unit before.


We’re at Manchester Central, food-tasting. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it…


Our meetings over the awards ended up taking most of the day, but that was no bad thing as we were really thorough and went through all the event with the ‘tech’ team and I got to see the awards hall and plan the photography.

My plans for getting some pictures went out of the window but that was fine. Instead we headed to Victoria to get a train home. That’s when the farce began. The 17:22 was running late due to a fault on the train but was due to arrive on the same platform (6) as the 17:37 so we joined the crowds packing the area.

At the last minute it was announced the 17:22 would leave from platform 5, so we took the chance and trotted over the footbridge to wait. The pair of 2-car 195s arrived and we joined the rear unit. Bad move No2. As we sat we saw the 17:37 pull in next to us. The conductor then announced we’d be running fast to Hebden Bridge due to our lateness. Result! We thought…A minute later he annouced the rear set was being split off so we’d have to join the front train. Deep joy! Whilst this farce played out the 17:37 left ahead of us, meaning we’d be stuck running at reduced speed behind it despite running ‘fast’. So, now we’re stood on a packed 2-car with many people who’re missing their stations as they were unaware of the change.


Well, we made it home, albeit later than anticipated. To be honest it’s been a good day, despite the unfortunate circumstances. We’re all really happy the the awards venue, the logistics of the event and the food. Oh, and the wine – which we forced ourselves to sample – purely to ensure we wouldn’t expect guests to drink something that wasn’t up to scratch! Roll on the awards on the 4th October….

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