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I’ve spent my last night at home for several days. Now I’ve an extra bag to add to my kit as I prepare to head off this morning. As a consequence I’m getting a lift to the station off Dawn as starting off a long day as a hot, sweaty mess is never a good idea!

Besides, the weather’s not particularly good right now – even if it’s beautiful. Tendrils of cloud have infiltrated the valley below, enveloping Sowerby Bridge and threatening rain.

The view from our bedroom window is a window on an ever-changing world…

Now I’m at Halifax station, waiting for my forst train of the day which will carry me to nearby Huddersfield. This service was introduced over 20 years ago now, bringing back to life a disused freight line from Greetland Junction to Salterhebble Jn and providing a direct rail link between Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield. It was hourly but the recent DfT cut-backs have reduced it to two-hourly. This and the fact the train is often cancelled have made it impossible to rely on, damaging passenger numbers and the railways reputation. It’s daft as it saves just a single 2-car train plus Driver and Conductor.


Ah – the ‘good old days’ are back. I’m now on a hot, and late 3-car Trans-Pennine service heading for Manchester. We had an extra couple of pax from Marsden. The doors in the front car didn’t open (SDO I assume) but no-one announced the fact so one man and his dog couldn’t get off before we pulled out!

14:00. Apologies for the gap in blogging but I’ve been a busy bee! Since the last update I’ve passed through Manchester and Liverpool, crossed the Mersey to the Wirral and made my way South into Wales at Wrexham. Right now I’m South of Craven Arms on the Welsh borders heading down via Ludlow, Hereford and Abergavenny to Cardiff. I’ve had a variety of weather on the way but managed to stay dry. Fortunately, the problems Network Rail had yesterday when they were forced to shut this line due to a shortage of signallers have been rectified today. Even so, I’m not taking any chances by stopping off en-route! I’ve a long way to travel to get to my hotel for the night so discretion’s the better part of valour!


More apologies for the gaps in the blog. I’m on my final trip of the day right now, the 21:03 service from Carmarthen to Fishguard Harbour and the end of the line until tomorrow.

I made it to Cardiff without incident and spent a couple of hours around the city’s railways, appreciating just how much has changed. The ‘Pacers’ are all gone now. In their place is a real mixture of hand-me-down units. There’s ex-Anglia 170s, Thames Valley Class 165s and even a Northern liveried Class 150/2 on loan. Then there’s the Class 769s, converted from former Thameslink Class 319s. It’s very strange seeing these former 100mph electric units with their pantographs removed and running on diesel power. I tried a trip on one up the bank from Central to Queen street which it made very heavy weather of. Having spent time photographing these beasties I headed for Swansea on a GWR Class 803, then swapped to a pair of Class 153s for the leg to Carmarthen. TfW are the only company operating these in regular passenger service nowadays and they certainly bring back memories. Here’s a couple of pictures from the day.

769002 stands at Cardiff Central earlier today.
Double “dogboxes” at Swansea before working the 19:34 to Carmarthen.

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