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08:20.

It’s another hot and sunny day here in West Yorkshire so I’m heading to the seaside for a few hours to get a selection of pictures for a client. Right now I’m packing my kit before heading off to the station. It’s going to be a flying visit as I need to be back in Halifax this evening as we’re out for a meal with a friend this evening. I’ll update this blog as I go along…

09:20.

With the sun already heating the place up I decided descretion was the better part of valour,so rather than walking up our steep hill to head to Halifax I took the shorter and easier downhill route to Sowerby Bridge. The only problem is there’s no direct trains to Blackpool from here anymore (bar weekends) so I have to arrive slightly earlier to catch a Manchester Victoria service as far as Hebden Bridge and change there. Here’s my train now…

09:45.

Well, there’s worse place to change trains!

As expected, this 3-car service to the seaside is packed with ‘the bucket and spade brigade’ – young couples, families with prams and a brood of kids or elderly solo travellers whose only encumbrance is a suitcase.

10:05.

We’ve just left Burnely Manchester road where we gained dozens of new passengers including a family with a mamber in a wheelchair plus two old dears with wheeled walking frames which have been added to the pram collection.

At the last moment we were joined by a second wheelchair which has made this vestibule rather cosy – and we haven’t reached Blackburn yet…

10:20.

In order to insulate myself from the onboard mayhem and chatter I’ve retreated into listening to music. As a homage to my destination I’m playing the album ‘Too old to rock and roll, too young to die” by Jethro Tull. It’s an old favorite and those who’re familiar with it will know the connection.

10:25.

During our stop at Blackburn we lost a handful of folk but gained far more – and plenty of suitcases! Looking around I’ve observed several people who’ve clearly kept the local tattoo parlours in work. Shame it wasn’t the dentists…

11:40.

Well, this is fun! I changed trains at Preston where I had plenty of time to observe the melee as hundreds of day-trippers and holidaymakers changed trains. Many had kids in tow which was a bit like herding cats! Not easy as the island platform used by trains to the resort (1 and 2) is narrow so staff were constantly exhorting people to stay behind the yellow line. Unlike the unwary and uninitiated I knew our train would be a 2-car so stood in the right place to ensure I was one of the first one and able to get a perch seat to observe the fun. To say this 156 is rammed is an understatement! On days like this the train really could to to be a 3-car at least.

16:00.

I’ve bid adieu to Blackpool to head back to Halifax and prepare for our evening out. I’ve certainly had an interesting time. I managed a handful of pics that fit the clients needs but also captured many others that will sit quite happily in the archive for future use. It’s a shame the trip was so rushed as the weather was ideal. I need to spend a day documenting the Blackpool South branch. It’s a curious hangover from the days of BR rationalisation in the 1960s when it was reduced to a ling siding from Kirkham and Wesham. I’ll add some links later to show just how important a railway it used to be, complete with an express link. Now it’s hopelessly under capacity. It really needs to be trains a minimum of every 30 mins, not once an hour – and not 2-cars either!

Having got the shots I needed at Blackpool pleasure beach I walked along the promenade all the way up to Blackpool North, taking pictures on the way. I first visited as a child back in the late 1960s and have one abiding memory of the family visit. We visited a cafe serving fish, chips and peas (as one did). My late sister Ruth was a baby who was duly plumped in a high chair. Not being old enough to use a knife and fork she was given a spoon. This worked well until it came to eating the peas. The sight of her determinedly chasing the peas around her plate with a spoon still raises a chuckle half a century later.

To be fair to Blackpool it’s a town that’s invested heavily in the seafront and tried to reinvent its image somewhat. I didn’t see one ‘kiss me quick’ hat or anyone eating candy floss and only heard one bingo caller in the whole time I was walking. The town’s visitors have become much more multi-racial too. It’s no longer just a refuge of the white working classes. Southport, just down the coast where I grew up was always known as the place the middle classes holidayed, although it was also a big venue for Scousers on a day out.

Whilst Blackpool’s changing, the clientele isn’t always. I passed several couples deep in arguments and the use of four-letter words (even in front of small kids) was endemic. ‘Fcuk’ and its derivatives are used by many almost as punctuation.

Anyway, I’ll add a few pictures from my trip tomorrow, but here’s a few for now.

The ‘Paris of the North’, allegedly…
Vintage trams are still running tourist trips.
The concourse at Blackpool North has been improved with new retail outlets. Despite the infamous reputation it has with both railstaff and enthusiasts I found people polite and helpful.

18:10.

I’m home, showered and changed, ready to pick up our friend before heading over to Honley for an evening eating tapas – and not just the Yorkshire kind* either!…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

*’Yorkshire tapas’ – slang for bags of nuts and crisps.