I’m heading back to London today as I’m picking up a load of old slides that were with a picture library. They were digitised years ago and now the library is moving premises so wants to give them back. Rather than entrust them to the post I’ve arranged to collect them and do some work whilst I’m down there.
Unfortunately, the weather here in the Calder valley’s dismal, I just hope the forecast for the South-East’s accurate. I’ll keep you updated on my travels and any travails.
Having just missed a train I was left kicking my heels at Sowerby Bridge station for 25 minutes in the cold, rain and sleet! Sadly, there’s no warm waiting room to seek refuge in. The station’s facilities were severely pruned in BR days, especially on the Leeds bound platform which I was on. There have been improvements. At least now there are ticket machines on both platforms and simple platform shelters, but they’re not much use in a Pennine winter other than to keep the rain or snow off you.
At least my train was on time, a refurbished three car Class 158 rolled in at 09:04 and now I’m seated in the warmth, heading to Leeds.
Me and my big mouth! We left Halifax packed to the gunwhales but on time. Then it all went a bit Pete Tong. We’re currently crawling from signal to signal for reasons unknown as neither driver nor conductor have made an announcement. Still, this has given me plenty of time to observe all the shiny scarlet painted Pandrol clips which attach the rails to the sleepers. Their colour betrays the fact a lot of the rails on the route have been renewed recently.
We’re now on our way from Bradford Interchange 12 minutes late. The crew have remained mute. There’s not been a single announcement explaining why, far less an apology for the delay. It’s a classic example of poor customer service. It’s not as if the PA isn’t working as the Conductor’s just announced the next station stop!
To add insult to injury, when we approached Leeds the Conductor treated us to the usual long-winded announcement about tickets, security and luggage yet she completely neglected to mention the we were late, never mind even offer an apology! This is simple, basic customer service and it’s where the railway is so inconsistent.
In complete contrast, I’m now on LNER’s 09:15 to Kings Cross. Before we left the Train Manager announced this Mk4 set was short formed (it’s had coach C knocked out for unscheduled maintenance) and offered repeated apologies to passengers with reservations, telling them which coaches had spare seats.
Talking of maintenance, due to the current shortage of Class 91s, I have this on my train! 90036 ‘Driver Jack Mills’
I’ve been too busy to blog these past few hours as I’ve been constantly on the move. I changed trains at Stevenage in order to catch a Siemens ‘people-lover’s in the shape of a 12 car Class 700 to Finsbury Park, then backtracked to my old stamping ground of Harringay on a decript Great Northern Class 313.
Walking down to Green Lanes evoked lots of memories. Far too many to share here. It’s still as vibrant an area as ever with some fantastic Turkish cafe’s and brilliant greengrocers. My destination was the station which bisects the lane high up on an embankment. The ‘Goblin’ as the Gospel Oak to Barking line is known was electrified last year. The electrification was completed late. Even so, the new Bombardier built Class 710 electric trains that were being built for it were even later and still haven’t entered service. The problem is, the old diesels were due elsewhere. Some have already left and the last three will depart on March 18th. As a stopgap, London Overground have converted three Class 378s from five cars to four and are using them instead. Here’s one at Green Lanes earlier.
It’s really rather odd seeing these units on the Goblin as they make you feel you’re on the wrong route and are really on the North London Line!
I’m now hopping across London from Finsbury Park to Brixton via the new Thameslink tunnel, Blackfriars and Herne Hill.
I’m heading Northwards again now after a busy day. It was lovely being back in Brixton again. Living in the Pennines is lovely because of the scenery, but I do miss the hustle and bustle of London and the sheer diversity of the place. After picking up two big bags of slides I had time for a mooch around the Brixton arcade which was very quiet as it was the end of the day. It’s gone upmarket. Now there’s lots of great looking little bars and cafes as we as all the butchers and fishmongers.
On my way back across town I cracked open the slide packets to see what there was and some wonderful memories came flooding back. The pictures date from 1990 to 2003. They’re a mix of social issues and travel photography from across the UK, along with some rail images. I’ve found memories of old friends and places, my days working as a Housing Officer in East London and a whole host of demonstrations and protests. There the Iraq war, ‘Fair’ fuel protest, anti Afgahan war and more. There’s even my nephews and neices! One day, I’ll find time to get the most valuable ones scanned…
Well, my journey back all went a bit Pete Tong too due to late trains and dodgy connections. The East Coast Main Line has had another difficult day due to obstructions on the line and train failures. I won’t go in to much detail as I’d be typing a few thousand words. I did end up ‘doing a Jeremy Corbyn’ on my train out of London but in the peak that’s to be expected!
I’m now on a Cross-country service from York to Leeds! The bright side was that I managed to get a shot of an LNER liveried ‘Azuma’ under York station roof.
It’s definitely been ‘one of those days’! My 125mph capable Voyager got stuck behind a late local service and staggered to Leeds where it arrived 10 mins late, so that was another connection missed. I’m now on the 21:39 Leeds-Manchester Victoria instead.
It’s time to bring this rolling blog to an end. It’s been a chilly walk home but, judging by the amount of salt scattered on the roads around Halifax, worse is to come. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Goodnight folks!