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06:30.

I’m up showered and in dire need of coffee (no such luxuries in an ‘Easyhotel’ room) here in Reading, ready to head off to London to take part in the farewell tour of the Class 315 trains which have plied their trade in and out of London Liverpool St station since 1981. It makes me feel old. I moved to London in 1986 when these trains were just 5 years old. I used to watch them pass from the balcony outside our flat. Now they’re nearly all gone. Just last few sets remain and two of those will be working the tour to Shenfield today.

Right, time to go…

07:55.

I’m on my way! It’s another rail strike day so Reading station was deathly quiet this morning. On the bright side, Costa coffee was open so I’ve been able to get my caffeine fix.

The Elizabeth line isn’t affected by the strikes, so they’re running a normal service. Here’s my train.

What’s also running normally is revenue protection! Two officers are on my train and immediatelycaught two arrogant young men who thought buying tickets was for other people. An expensive mistake!

08:10.

My trip along the Great Western main line’s been an interesting one. So much has changed since I left London. And it’s still changing. I’ve just passed Old Oak Common and the site of the new HS2 station. I was here on a press trip the other day but it looks completely different when you pass it on a train as you get to see the start of work on the new main line station.

10:30.

Despite the strike a lot of people have turned up for today’s commemorative trips. Here’s the train before the first run.

21:45.

I’d intended to blog about the trip today but in the end I was just too busy taking pictures, so I’ll do a separate report on what turned out to be a very good day out. I don’t often do railtours nowadays, but I found this one really interesting because of the demographic it appealed to. Oh, and full credit to all those involved in making it happen. MTR, the Branch Line Society and Network Rail especially – not to mention many others. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture of the team at the end of the trips. My special thanks go to an old friend (Jon Bradley, bottom right) who was instrumental in making the event happen.

Right now I’m relaxing in my hotel in Reading after an ‘interesting’ journey on the ‘Lizzie Line’ thanks to an earlier incident outside Paddington on a day when (because of the strikes) plan B’s were hard to come by. Tomorrow I head back up North, so expect a more relaxed rolling blog as I’m under no pressure.

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