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It’s been another busy day here at Bigland Towers. Well, for me anyway. Dawn’s been equally as busy but working from the Community Rail Network office in Huddersfield rather than from home so I’ve been the sole occupant of the manse. Editing and sending off the pictures of my recent round Britain trip for RAIL magazine took up a lot of the day whilst sorting out my next work trip to Europe took up much of the rest. Some of the stuff was mundane, like renewing my National Union of Journalists press card. To the NUJs credit they do this very quickly and sent me a useable PDF of my new card by return email. I needed it to gain accreditation for where I’m off to next week – the vast Innotrans railway trade fair in Berlin.

Originally, due to various other recent ‘happenings’ I wasn’t sure I’d be able to attend. Innotrans is held every two years, the last one was in 2018. We should have had one in 2020 but Covid but the mockers on that so this is the first event in four years. I’ve been going since 2008 and was loathe to miss such an important worldwide event in the railway calendar. This week I looked into the logistics and decided that – despite the last-minute nature of booking I could pull it off – and get there in the greenest possible way – even if it will cost me.

I’ll be heading to Europe on Sunday via the Harwich – Hook of Holland ferry. I’ve not used this route since 1981 so I’m expecting it to be part trip down memory lane and also part new adventure as so much has changed since then. From the Hook I’ll be making my way to Rotterdam via the metro, then catching a series of trains that will carry me all the way to Frankfurt (Oder) where I’ll base myself for the next 5 nights. Hotels in Berlin are far too expensive because of Innotrans which is attended by tens of thousands of people from all over the world. It’s OK if you book months in advance but right now hotels are charging anything from £2,000 upwards – which is OK if you’re on generous expenses – but that’s not us freelances! Instead, I’m within 70 minutes commute, which isn’t much different to travelling to work in London from many locations. In recent years the weather at Innotrans has always produced to fine sunny days. I’m hoping this year will be the same. Even if it rains there’s miles to be walked through the vast indoor halls of the Berlin Messe. You certainly use up a lot of shoe leather!

I’ll be attending all four days of the event before retracing my way across Europe by train – a trip I’m really looking forward to almost as much as the event itself. Expect daily blogs and lots of pictures like these from the 2018 event.

Before I go to Germany I’ve one more day working from home, then both Dee and I head to London for a short break, which leads me on to today’s picture which is a view of the city of London (aka the ‘square mile’) taken from the South bank of the Thames by Blackfriars in October 2017. Needless to say, it’s changed a bit since then!

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