Apologies for the lack of blogging these past few days but I’ve really not been in the mood. It’s not that I’ve nothing to say (far from it) but I wanted to spare you from the splenetic invective! Today I’m back on the move as I’ve a dentists appointment over in Huddersfield, after which I’ll be popping into the town before taking the camera for a walk. Compared to the past few days when we’ve had masses of sunshine and warm weather today’s reverted to cold and grey weather, but as we’re in the midst of the next tranche of rail strikes there was no chance of me getting out anywhere yesterday anyway!
Feel free to pop back later to see what I get up to…
I’m getting to the dentist via a combination of shank’s pony and bus so I’ve left in plentyof time to enjoy the walk through our local woods. This year’s been a fabulous one for Hawthorn blossom. I passed this display en-route.
There’s local and political history here too. I walked through an area called Skircoat Green past the pub called ‘The Standard of Freedom’. A blue plaque outside explains how it got its name.
Rather conveniently, the bus stop I was walking to sits on the main road atop Salterhebble Junction where the lines from Halifax to Sowerby Bridge and Brighouse part company. I was just in time to get this shot of a Grand Central service heading for London
I now have a grandstand seat at the front on the top deck of the 503 bus. It’s a bit of a circular tour as it passes through Elland, a small town between Halifax and Huddersfield. It’s an odd little place on the banks of the River Calder. Once it was famous for the Gamnex clothing factory. They were made famous because former Prime Minister Harold Wilson (who was born in Huddersfield) always wore one of their Mackintosh’s. The factory is long gone and the old mill it used has been converted into housing. The town centre’s very quiet nowadays with nany businesses closed and buildings up for sale. The irony? It’s a very Brexity area and the expression ‘be careful what you wish for’ springs to mind. Still, there is a good craft beer micropub to visit where you can drown your sorrows.
Having arrived in plenty of time I decided to go exploring. Whilst Huddersfield town centre is run-down and rough nowadays, this area is still rather posh. Down the many tree-lined streets and often hidden behind thick hedges or Rhodedendrons there’s a mix of housing, from soot-stained monumental Victorian piles to smaller Edwardian elegance and more modern stock from the 60s through to the present day which have been built on land freed by demolition of some of the old piles which must be a nightmare to heat and light in this era. Here’s a selection of what I saw.
I’m back! I was given a clean bill of health at the surgery by both the hygienist and John, our dentist, who jokingly offered me £30,000 for my teeth as they’re in such good condition!
On leaving the surgery I walked into the town centre, ppassing this wonderful restored old tram shelter on the way.
Now I’m taking the long way home via train as I’m currently en-route to Stalybridge aboard a Trans-Pennine service from Hull to Liverpool Lime St. Still, it’s good to see that the Dept of Transport taking Trans-Pennine Express back under its control has solved the problems of cancellations and poor performance. Oh, wait…
A quick trip across the Pennines aboard a TPE Class 185 deposited me at Stalybridge where progress on electrification of the route is steady if not spectacular. New OLE portals appear each time I visit, whilst the existing ones continue to be fitted with stovepipes, registration arms and all the other gubbins needed for the wires to be strung up.
I hadn’t planned to hang around long but my plans were foiled by Northern cancelling the next Southport service due to one of the bi-mode Class 769s that ply the route breaking down. There was only one think for it – a swift pint in the buffet bar before catching a following TPE service to Manchester Victoria!
I’m now making my way back Eastwards across the Pennines aboard one of Northern’s venerable Class 150/1s. Hardly my favourite train but Northern have acquired the whole fleet (for now). Plus, they’re the oldest surviving BR built diesel multiple unit fleet so have some heritage value I suppose.
I’m now back on the ‘right’ side of the Pennines! I changed trains at Todmoden where I was greeted by a familiar sight. I’ve posted pictures of the two ducks who inhabit platform 2 and follow you up sbd down the platform from behind the fence. Well, they’re here again today and this time I have a short video of their antics.
Home again! It’s time to relax for a bit after walking 26,000 steps, then prepare to head off to Liverpool tomorrow for an assignment. This could be ‘interesting’ as it’s a one-way trip. Tomorrow’s another strike day which means there are no Northern trains running through the Calder Valley and TPE are running a skeleton service between Leeds and Manchester. I can (hopefully) still get to Liverpool and our target (Merseyrail) isn’t on strike and will be running a full service, but it means a night away from home as there’s no trains to take me back. Watch this space…
I’ve a small favour to ask…
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