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The sun doth shine so I’ve escaped the office and the Calder Valley to have one of my regular looks at progress on the Trans-Pennine route upgrade. Right now I’m on a Northern service heading into Manchester from Sowerby Bridge in order to access the route from the West and begin my examinations there before heading through the Colne valley back into West Yorkshire.

I’m not the only one making the most of the weather. This off peak 2-car Class 158 is busy with day-trippers doing the same.

I’ll be updating this blog throughout the day so feel free to keep popping back to see what I get up to…

158860 arrives at Sowerby Bridge en-route to Wigan Wallgate.


Due to disruption and late running with services via Victoria I’m taking the ‘scenic route’ via Salford Crescent where I picked up a very busy Northern Class 331 electric to get me to Manchester Piccadilly where I’ll connect with a Newcastle bound TPE service to Stalybridge. Here it is, worked by 802213.


I’m now on the late-running 12:33 which still has plenty of free seats at this point in its journey. It won’t be like this once it gets to Huddersfield.

I don’t envy the passengers joining the nearby Transport for Wales service to Cardiff Central. They’ve got this 75mph ‘delight’ in store today…


On the move again! The trip to Stalybridge via Guide Bridge was interesting as it allowed me to glimpse the work done on the curve between the two. The chord’s now full of TTLs (two-track cantilevers) waiting to be fitted out and the wires added. The irony? This section of track was originally electrified as part of the 1500v DC Woodhead line scheme from the 1950s and some of the original lighweight masts survive – although not for much longer.

Things hadn’t changed majorly at Stalybridge despite bank holiday works. No new TTLs or portals had appeared but the structures that did were being fitted out with downpipes and registration arms.

I didn’t hang around. Now I’m on a local TPE service to Huddersfield. Thus section of the route shows no descernable progress other than vegetation clearance and a few concrete hardstandings installed for future worksites or lineside cabinet locations. Don’t even ask about the new line from Liverpool to Marsden which exists only in the imagination..


My stop at Huddersfield was brief in the extreme. 5 mins to change trains and grab a quick picture. Huddersfield stations about to undergo major changes as part of the TRU, so savour views like this whilst you can.

The grade 1 listed Huddersfield station will be seeing a major rebuild with the two small bay platforms behind the camera abolished and two new through platforms provided instead.


At my next stop (Dewsbury) train times went pear-shaped again as my connecting service is 20m plus late. Oh, well. Time for a swift half in the station’s West Riding refreshment rooms. Choices, choices…


I’m now heading home from Batley after an interesting interlude looking at the TPU work and also reminiscing about the town which is hardly a place I can say I know well but it seems to keep cropping up in my memories and mentions.

The work to install the footbridge and abolish the foot crossing is well advanced. Most of the earthworks are complete and sections of the footbridge have arrived on site. On a Facebook forum one of the signallers working the box has said it will close on June 23rd. Here’s a look at work today.

The location of the footbridge is made clear by the abutment wall next to the rails.
The wider view from Lady Anne crossing looking towards Batley. The two people in PPE in the left foreground are standing on what will be a tarmac’d ramp from the footbridge down to the site of the level crossing out of shot to the left.
Sections of the footbridge have already arrived on site. They can be seen in this picture sat on the back of a pair of HGV trailers.
A TPU compound has been established adjacent to Batley station on the site of the old GNR platforms and yard. It extends beyond the industrial unit to the left. You can see one of the new tilting, ladderless signals that are being installed in the cess to the right of the picture.


I’m now back at home and winding up today’s blog after an interesting day out. Walking back into Batley I noticed that that the pub next to the station had reopened. Located in the basement of one of the lovely old Victorian buildings that line the exit to the station, the Cellar Bar closed suddenly in December 2022 after six and a half years but reopened under new management at the end of January this year. It’s well worth a visit as it has a selection of hand-pump real ales as well as the usual lagers, wines and spirits.

Having had a swift half I made my direct train back to Sowerby Bridge with minutes to spare. After picking up some shopping en-route I’ve had a leisurely evening being a good husband and cooking for us both whilst Dawn’s been out to visit her hairdresser! Tonight’s meal was made up from these ingredients. To use the catchphrase of a discredited Australian artist – ‘can you tell what it is yet’?

I won’t keep you in suspense. These are the ingredients of a hearty chorizo and Cannelloni bean stew.

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