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My original plan to work at home today has been altered by a change in the weather. The forecast for the next few days is lousy but today (so far) has bucked the trend – and the forecast – so I’m heading over to Manchester for a couple of hours in the hope of checking on progress on Trans-Pennine electrification and return clothes I bought from Uniqlo the other day. I’m flattered to say that ‘medium’ size is just too big!

Right now I’m on the train from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester Victoria. It’s a Chester bound service operated by a pair of 2-car Class 195s which is pretty busy for the time of day although I had no problem bagging a table seat to set up the mobile office. This is a lovely time of year to be traversing the Calder valley as the colours in the remaining leaves on the trees are glorious and the low winter light shows them at their most intense. I only hope the sunshine I’m seeing now stays with me. Let’s see. Expect some pictures soon…


Neither my luck nor the weather’s held, so it’s time for a different mode of transport to Shank’s pony…


That was an interestinginterlude! I caught a couple of trams out to Ashton-Under-Lyme which turned out to be a good idea as the rain persisted until a few minutes after I arrived. The plan was to have a look at progress electrifying the line from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge. This should have been completed years ago but it was one of the schemes delayed by political dithering. Now it’s well underway. Now, most of the masts and stanchions are in place.

802206 speeds through Ashton-under-Lyme en-route from Liverpool Lime St to Newcastle whilst the masts march towards Stalybridge.


I chose to walk between Ashton and Stalybridge in order to check out the views from various bridges on the way. It was an interesting trip as it took me down all sorts of streets I’d never explore otherwise. The area’s a maze of brick-built, late Victorian terrace houses with patches of much wealthier properties. But not all’s well. In the space of a couple of hundred meters I passed three closed pubs. One was derelict, one was ‘closed until further notice’ and the other was up for sale.

I find derelict pubs terribly sad buildings as I can imagine all the happy times people must have had there in the past. They were community centres, but now they’re dying.

I arrived at ‘Stalyvegas’ station just as the rain did, so ended up with a soaking, but I dried out on the train back into central Manchester, where I am now, indulging in my least favourite activity. Shopping!

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!