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We’re packed, all electronic devices charged and ready and about to head off to the station to begin our journey to Nottingham to prepare for the Community Rail Network conference. I’ll blog about the trip en-route so feel free to pop back later to see what we get up to…


We’re on our way on a bright but bitterly cold day. We even had a snow flurry before we left. Right now we’re on Grand Central’s 10:40 train from Halifax to London which we’re using to get to Wakefield where we connect with Northern’s Leeds-Nottingham service. This GC class 180s busy and even more so after calling at Brighouse where a few dozen were waiting to join. The latest ORR statistics show that GC services have really bounced back from Covid. They’re currently at 103% of pre-Covid figures. Great news for an open-access operator.

The section of line between Ellend (where a new station’s due to open in 2025) and Brighouse has recently been opened up by a huge amount of lineside tree clearance which makes it feel less like a green tunnel.


We had 10 minutes for a cross-platform interchange at Kirkgate, where a new building has appeared on the island platform 2-3. Built on behalf of Grand Central it’s a substantial 3 room structure that replaces the draughty and basic shelter that used to be there. There’s staff accommodation at one end, a seated waiting area in the middle and what looks like a potential retail outlet or small office at the other. Only it doesn’t appear to have any power sockets, just a fuse board, which is odd!

The new structure at Kirkgate.

Our Nottingham train arrived spot on time. Thankfully, it’s formed of a 2-car Class 195 so we can make the most of the power sockets and wifi as there’s other members of the CRN team aboard too.


Having reached Nottingham and the venue in plenty of time I’ve a few hours to kill before I’m needed I’ve nipped out to make the most of the good weather and grab some new library shots whilst I’m here. East Midlands Railway have had many Class 170s cascaded to them from other operators to start replacing their old BR built fleets. Some have come from Anglia, via Transport for Wales, such as this example.

With Nottingham Eastcroft depot in the background 170271 works 1K67, the 13:43 from Newark Castle to Crewe. To the left is the former parcels depot. The building’s intact and used as a Virgin active health club.


I’ve enjoyed a couple of hours exploring and getting pictures of railways, trams and the town. One thing that struck me is how many vacant shops there are now. Parts of the town centre are almost deserted. One street I walked along was 90% derelict. Here’s a couple of phone pics to be going on with. I’ll add camera shots later.

The old parcels depot which is now a fitness studio.
There’s one mad Tory Chiltern Cllr who insists that reopening the Great Central is a viable alternative to building HS2 as most of the route is intact. Really? This was the Great Central through the centre of Nottingham. Nothing remains.

Right, now it’s time to go to work…