Having been too busy sorting pictures out at home for a client whilst eyeing the indifferent weather, I’ve finally made it out of the house for a few hours in order to get some exercise – and a few pictures.
Now that the nights are drawing in other photographic oportunities arise, such as dusk or nightime long exposure shots. With that in mind I’m heading over to Bradford for a little while in the hope of capturing some. Let’s see how it goes…
I’m now on a half-empty Northern Rail service bound for York as far as Bradford. This 3 car train will have carried commuters home from Preston to Blackburn and the Lancashire towns before heading across the Pennines. At Bradford it became busy again with folk hwading to Leeds, whilst I decamped to see if there were any decent shots in the offing…
Sadly, things haven’t panned out due to a combination of clear skies and too many Pacers and other trains in the old Northern livery, so I’m moving on to Leeds – and possibly Huddersfield. I’ve got a coupke of usable shots ‘in the can’ as it were, but not what I’m after. This location would be better on a wet winter’s night. I’m heading to Leeds on another of Northern’s unrefurbished Ckass 158s which is almost empty, i’m not used to this as I’m not normally swimming against the tide but caught up with the flow of commuters heading home from Leeds! It certainly makes a pleasent change.
I’m now in Huddersfield and heading home, having finally got the type of picture I wanted. There’s plenty of opportunities at Leeds and I’ll return later when the nights have drawn in more but I need a pitch black night there for what I had in mind. Huddersfield proved to be a challenge due the old-style lighting installed on the platforms which flares quite badly, but other shots and angles were available which worked – as you’ll see later. Right now I’m spending the next half an hour on this!
It’s midnight and time for bed, but I thought I’d add just a couple of pictures from tonight’s foray.
The skies are blue today so I’m making a bid for freedom from the office to head out hunting some of the new Northern trains that were introduced into public service from Monday. The Class 331 electrics have spread their wings from operating solely on the Leeds to Doncaster route. They’re now on diagrams between Leeds, Bradford and the Aire Valley services. They’re also out and about on the Blackpool North to Liverpool Lime St route, displacing more old diesel units to allow more Pacers to head to the scrapyard. I’ll update this blog throughout the day. Let’s see what happens and where I get to…
I thought I was being clever by hitching a lift into Huddersfield with Dawn, but it’s all gone pear-shaped at the station. Track-circuit failures at both East and West mean hardly anything is running to time. Delays are averaging 15-20m. My next service to Leeds is 16m late, leaving me lots of time to admire Northern’s shiny new Class 195s which are stood idle in the sidings.
My trip to Leeds was spent standing in a vestibule aboard a 3-car Class 185, so no change there then! The service was busy with holiday makers including a gaggle of middle-aged professional women who were already on the Prosecco, but they were very well behaved, so no bother to anyone. Once in the city I caught the first available train for the Aire valley, the 11:12 to Bradford Forster Square which is worked by a refurbished Class 333. In fact it’s the first of the class – 001!
My first port of call was the new station at Kirkstall Forge, a brownfield site that’s rapidly redeveloped. As I stand here all I can hear is the clanking of catapillar tracks and the warning horns of earthmovers. A new 7-storey office block immediately outside the station’s already open for business.
I’ve moved on a couple of times now, first tk Shipley, then down to Bradford Forster Square for a brief photographic stop before returning to Shipley, which is a rare beast on the UK rail network. It’s a station built in the middle of a triangle of railway lines that has platforms on each side of the triangle. Only one other exists, at Earlestown on Merseyside. There did used to be several others, including nearby Queensbury, but they’re long gone. Shipley still has 5 out of the original 6 platforms as well as an old Midkand Railway station building which contains a booking office and traincrew depot.
After several stops heading West up the Aire valley I’ve pitched up in pretty Skipton for lunch.
Frustratingly, the only Class 331’s I’ve found are all here – laid up in the carriage sidings! On the bright side, I’ve git several decent library/client shots and recorded the imminent demise of the trains Northern will be surrendering – the BR built Class 321/322s, known affectionately as “dusty bins”.
They have an interesting history. The Class 321/9 fleet were bought by the local passenger transport Executive especially for Aire Valley and Leeds-Doncaster services. The 322/4s have had a peripatetic existence. Originally built for ‘Stansted Express’ services from Liverpool St in London, they were displaced and ended up in Scotland where they worked Edinburgh – North Berwick services. Displaced once again, they ended ul being transferred to Leeds Neville Hill depotto strengthen services in the Aire Valley.
Having ‘acquired’ copies of the two diagrams Class 331s are meant to be operating it’s clear that there are a few issues. I’ve found one running at Skipton but that’s on a training run to Shipley, which is where I’m going to head for as almost everything passes through there!
Despite my best efforts 331s in traffic proved elusive. Services were’t performing well today so it was very muuch the luck of the draw. However, my luck did hold at Keighley where I managed an interesting historical comparison which I’ll upload this evening. As it’s Friday I called it a day early and headed into Bradford. A sprint between the two stations meant I made the 16:30 from Interchange back to my starting point in Huddersfield. It’s worked by one of the Pacers formerly based up at Heaton in Newcastle, so I’ve a vintage ride home and chance to enjoy one of these old workhorses before it takes its final trip to the scrapyard.
There’s not much blogging from me today as I’ve been spending another day cooped up at home for most of it, trying to get catch up on DIY, chores and paperwork. Add to this the fact the weather here’s been ‘mixed’ and there’s been little opportunity for photography. Here’s the view across the Calder Valley and Sowerby Bridge earlier when I wandered out to do some shopping. The latest rain shower’s sweeping up the valley from the West.
I do love the view from here. It’s a cobbled hill just above our home. You’d recognise it if you’ve ever watched the opening episode of the TV series “Gentlemen Jack” which is based on the life of Ann Lister. Let’s face it you don’t often get views like this walking to and from the supermarket – or the local pub!
Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be out and about again. Let’s see what happens…
After the fun of rush-bearing yesterday today’s a bit of a come-down. The procession does continue but its focus is more rural and I’ve got other things to do – like edit the hundreds of pictures I took yesterday, as well as houshold chores, cooking and some DIY. It’s not exactly the rock and roll lifestyle, but it keeps me occupied!
That said, so does trying to keep track of the latest iplosions/resignations/floor crossings in UK politics! Today the headlines are all about the latest Cabinet Minister to abandon Johnson’s sinking government. That would normally be extraordinary enough but we live in such bizarre times we also have news that the Prime Minister is allegedly prepared to break the law to deliver Brexit. Meanwhile, the Lib-Dems gain their third defector in a week in the shape of former Labour MP Angela Smith. Truly, the old political party system is broken. Tribal allegiances have been torn apart. Brexit’s broken everything as both Labour and Tories have drifted to the extremes of left and right but neither have any answers to the mess we’re in. All we have now is voices of reason on both sides who cut through the crap and deal with the realities of the situation. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be on the side of Michael Heseltine and Ken Clark, but that says it all really.
The depressing thing is seeing how many UK citizens are so ignorant of the trouble we’re in. As long as ‘Eastenders’and ‘Coronation St’ are still being broadcast, all’s well in their world. Apparently, we’re British, so we’re immune to all the world’s normal travails. Shit will never happen to us. Only it is and sticking one’s head in the sand isn’t going to help.
On the bright side, I’ve managed to start uploading yesterday’s pictures to the rush-bearing gallery. You can find them here. For now, here’s a couple of samples. I’ve a lot more to add over the next few days.
Today’s the first full day of the Sowerby Bridge rush-bearing festival. A two day annual event that dates back to 1977 when an old local tradition of delivering rushes to churches was resurrected. It’s a day full of fun and a great event to take a camera to -so watch out for pictures throughout the day. Here’s a starter from 2012. Right, I’m off to catch the rush-cart, see you later…
It’s been all go so far! I decided to catch the procession in some different locations this year so I walked uo to Warley village and caught the procession at St John’s church, Warley just before they started off. It’s quite a climb from there to their first stop outside thd Maypole pub in the village so I hooe i’ve managed to get some decent pictures. The weather’s been ideal, dry but not too sunny. Here’s a couple of shots I’ve taken on the phone. I’ll add camera pictures later.
Right now I’ve got ahead of the procession ready to get shots of them dropping down into Sowerby Bridge.
It’s been a great day so far with a real carnival atmosphere in Sowerby Bridge as the cart goes from location to location. Some of the cart pullers are on their 9th pint by now. Notice the tankards they have clipped to their belts?
What a cracking day! The weather got better as the day went on, so the turnout increased. The procession’s now over but the town is absoluteky buzzing. Many of the pubs have laid on outside bars and barbecues so the carnival atmosphere continues. Admittedly, I’ll be calling it a day soon and heading home to sort out today’s pictures, that said, I’ll bet the ‘Bridge’ will be having a busy night tonight. Rush-bearing continues tomorrow but I’ve got domestic things to focus on.
Every year a commemorative leather badge is produced to celebrate the event. You’ll see them on the hats and waistcoats of those taking part. Here’s this years.
I’ve been meaning to blog about this for ages but never had the time. Today’s miserable weather’s put a damper on other photographic activities as it’s chucking it down here in the Calder Valley so I’ve finally found the opportunity.
Some of you may have noticed the old station building at Mytholmroyd as you passed by on the train. It’s on West end of the Leeds bound platform. What you may not have appreciated from the train is just how big a building it is! Here’s how it looked from the platforms in April 2015.
Here’s a recent view showing what it looks like from ground level. In effect it’s two buildings. The back part of the building (to the left of the drainpipe) was the stationmasters residence. The public part of the building is to the right of the drainpipe.
It’s spread over three-floors and there’s a warren of rooms inside. Built in 1874 by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, it was given a grade 2 listing back in 1984 when it was closed by British Rail. It’s been derelict for over 30 years but the friends of Mytholmroyd station have been trying to get it reopened as a community space and waiting rooms ever since 2007. It was a long process as the building is owned by Network Rail. In 2015 the station building was specifically included in the successful Arriva North Franchise Agreement, which stated that (no later than 2025) the franchise shall ” redevelop for social use redundant or under- utilised buildings at stations including Mytholmroyd and Cottingham”.
With that commitment agreed, negotiations continued with various interested parties, including the Railway Heritage Trust. The original group of station volunteers was joined by representatives from the local community and a Northern Rail director; and an application for Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) was granted in September 2017.
The negotiations culminated in work commencing in March 2018 by Network Rail contractors CPMS who removed asbestos and made the building safe in preparation to repoint and plaster parts of the interior. Local interior designers JSB Ltd assisted with the restoration of the original woodwork, fireplaces and windows.
Northern Rail is planning to include the building within
their (operational) station lease from Network Rail. The Station Partnership
and CIO would have a licence from Northern – with no responsibility for
building maintenance etc.
Northern are planning a public Waiting Room and toilet on the second floor with access from the station platform. They would welcome suggestions for a small trading outlet within the building that would be relevant for rail passengers and be suitable for the general community/social use concept.
Northern envisage that the operation of the building will be through a Management Board consisting of themselves, the Station Partnership together with the CIO and users / tenant(s).
Proposals include –
Second Floor – step-free access from the station platform. Welfare
accommodation for Northern Rail staff. A General Waiting Room – which may include
an Art Gallery and station history display. Toilet. Rooms for Railway Education
First floor – steps only access. Studios for local artists
and office/meeting room for Station Partnership, the CIO and the building
Ground floor – step-free access. Flexible use which could include a small trading unit, a Reading Café incorporation of a library, meeting/conference facilities including a small catering area. Secure storage area for the Station Partnership equipment including an accessible water supply.
In March 2019 the first phase of the restoration of the building was complete. In May I was lucky enough to be invited along to have a look inside. Here’s what we saw.
I managed to escape from the office again today as I’d arranged to meet a fellow photographer who works in the rail industry to give him a guided tour of locations around Marsden on the Trans-pennine rail route through the Colne valley. I’d been meaning to update my library shots and get some pictures for a client from the area, so this was the perfect opportunity – especially as the sun Gods were smiling upon us.
Trevor and I met on the train at Huddersfield for a trip on a line that (as a man of Kent) he’d not travelled on for donkey’s years. Our first port of call was Marsden, the nearest station to the famous Standedge tunnels, where canal and rail occupy almost the same ground under the Pennines. It’s a fantastic photo location but one that will change dramatically over the next few years when the rail route is electrified.
The only downside nowadays is the monotony of the type of trains. Very little freight uses the route as it has such an intensive passenger service. This is Trans-Pennine Express’s core route. Northern Rail used to operate an hourly all-stations Huddersfield-Manchester service but it’s now operated by TPE. This means the line’s almost completely Class 185 operated which is why the introduction of the TPE’s loco-hauled sets is a welcome break from the monotony.
Having trudged up the incline to a spot above the tunnel entrance the sun smiled, and so did we, as we managed to get a range of pictures in decent weather. Here’s an example.
Having exhausted the photographic possibilities we changed locations a couple of times to catch one of the new CAF built trains for Northern which was working empty stock from Preston to Huddersfield.
In doing so we missed one TPE’s new Nova 3 sets as we didn’t know the damned thing was running! Here’s the classic view we’d been heading for.
By that time the Pennine weather had changed from favourable to fearsome, with cold air and showers sweeping in from the West, so we adjourned to the Riverhead Brewery Tap pub in Marsden, which is a cracking place to stop for a pint before heading back East
Back in Huddersfield we connected with the loco-hauled TPE set we’d missed earlier. Well it would have been rude not to!
Trevor used it to get to Leeds before heading off to Keighley whilst I stayed on as far as York as I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get shots of the set under the magnificent station roof. Luckily, a late-running Siemens set allowed me some nice juxtaposition and a study in front ends.
All in all it’s not been a bad day and a lot less frustrating than yesterday. There’s some useful shots in the bank and for a client. I’ve had chance to explore locations I’ve not visited for a while and I’ve also been able to act as a tour guide for a friend. What more can you ask for?
After two days in the office I’ve bunked off for a few hours. I needed to nip out for some shopping anyway but then I noticed that Northern Rail were running training runs on their new Class 195s between Bradford Interchange and Todmorden. As there’s also a fair bit of freight working today and we’ve got some very moody skies I thought I’d chance my arm and get a few pictures. The results will be in the lap of the Gods as there’s a fair chance heavy showers rather than sunshine will co-incide with the trains, but you never know!
I managed to stay dry walking down into Sowerby Bridge before catching a Northern 2-car 150/2 to Hebden Bridge working a Blackpool North service which is normally the exclusive preserve of their Class 158’s, which suggests that something’s gone pear-shaped with the fleet.
The law of Sod has come into play. No sooner had I landed at Hebden Bridge than I found today’s test runs had been cancelled for no explained reason. On the bright side, there’s still a couple of freight services running but I’m not in the best place for pictures. Ho hum…
Well that was a bit of a waste of time! Not a single thing fell right. I ended up heading back to Sowerby Bridge and just for a moment I thought I might be able to grab a shot of ny departing train framed by a gorgeous rainbow – which promptly faded just as soon as the train departed! All that was left was the chance to get a shot of a biomass train heading for Drax power station – just as the next shower arrived! I’ll add a couple of pictures later, right now I’m going to salvage something from the day by getting some shopping and my daily 12,500 steps in…
Time to wind things up. Part of me wishes I’d stayed in the office now and ploughed on with other stuff. But as the old saying goes “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. The weather and operations just didn’t fall right. still, here’s a couple of useful photo’s that salvaged the time.
Whilst I was unlucky with the weather, a friend further East wasn’t as conditions fell perfectly and Tony knew what he was doing to take advantage of them. He should be well pleased with this shot! I’m not jealous really, honest!
Right, I’m now back at home, editing pictures and watching the Tory party implode over Brexit whilst realising that they’ve elected a blustering clown as a Prime Minister. Tomorrow I’m hoping to have a day out with the camera and a colleague. Hopefully both trains and weather will play ball tomorrow…
Well, ones like this where the weather’s been miserable, I’ve been stuck at home collating vast numbers of pictures for a client and I’m watching my country slowly implode both economically and politically. Apart from that it’s been just fine!
Exciting as life is as a photographer, the wading through loads of library images to upload onto a client’s website is the least glamorous side of the job – even if it’s crucial. It’s monotonous and takes time as well as commands attention to detail. I suppose I should be grateful that the weather’s been so iffy so I’ve not been tempted to venture forth with the camera. The seasons really do feel like they’re starting to change up here in West Yorkshire. The nights are noticeably drawing in and the autumn chill is starting to creep in on the tail of shorter days.
My distraction would normally be to have the radio on, but the news bulletins are so depressing as they report on our increasingly dysfunctional Government and its suicide mission to deliver a ‘no deal’ Brexit, thus crippling the economy and trashing our reputation with the rest of the world – who already think we’re mad. That so many of my fellow countrymen think that Johnson’s threat to leave the EU without a deal is actually a threat the EU take seriously says a lot about the state of the UK nowadays. If someone’s holding a gun to their own head and threatening to pull the trigger anyone with an ounce of common-sense knows that there’s only going to be one result. Sadly, common-sense left these shores in 2016 and it looks like it has no intention of returning.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are caught up in this absolute farce as the Tory party morphs into the Brexit party, minus that lying, slimy toad Farage. Instead, they have their other poster boy, Boris – a man who’s relationship with the truth is just as divorced as Farage’s. This is not going to end well…
My only hope is that enough members of all political parties remember where they’ve left their backbones and put country before party. In the meantime, we’re in for a very rocky ride.
Right now, I have other considerations. I’ve finished uploading a batch of pictures to the client’s website and now my attention’s drawn to the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen where Dawn’s busy baking biscuits to take into the ACoRP staff meeting tomorrow. I may be gone some time…
I’m having another rare day at home catching up on chores and a spot of picture editing, mostly of images that don’t fit the main gallery categories on my website and need a bit of research first. Some of these were taken earlier in the week around Mirfield in West Yorkshire. Like many people involved in railways I have a curiosity about the many lines that closed during my childhood or even before I was born. Yorkshire’s rich in such lines and Mirfield has quite a few remains. One I spotted was what’s left of the Spen valley line which lasted a little over 50 years, opening in 1900 and closing in November 1966 although it lost its passenger services as early as 1953. Built by the LNWR it ran from Heaton Lodge Junction through Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton to Farnley Junction and on into Leeds City station. You can find out more about it on this very good website, ‘Mirfield memories’. Here’s what I found.
If you’re interested in abandoned or disused railways there’s a gallery dedicated to them on my Zenfolio website. You can find it by following this link.
I’d love to have more time to spend to explore West Yorkshire’s railway heritage, but there’s little time for that as most of my time’s taken up with the modern, growing railway rather than the remains of a contracting one. That said, Dawn and I are hoping to get out on the bikes to explore several that are close to us which have been converted into some excellent cycle-paths. I first got to know about several of them when I explored them by bike for an article in RAIL magazine. One of their writers and I were given a guided tour on Brompton bikes by a couple of Sustrans officers and I’ve always meant to revisit the places and infrastructure we saw. Some of the viaducts, tunnels and cuttings were really impressive, especially around Heckmondwike, Dewsbury and Queensbury. But as the year is rapidly moving on, that may have to wait until next year!