It’s been a wet and miserable day here in the Calder Valley, the leaden skies have been unloading on us since early this morning. If I had plans for an Ark I’d be tempted to dust them off, but then we live high up on the valley side, so if the flood waters ever reached us an ark is exactly what we’d need!
Earlier, I donned my waterproofs and took a stroll down into Sowerby Bridge in order to pick up some shopping and also to get some exercise. I try and walk 5 miles most days in order to keep fit and get away from staring at a computer screen. Today it gave me the excuse to check on the River Calder which runs through the centre of the town. It’s not at Boxing Day 2015 flood levels but it’s way above normal. Here’s the view from the bridge across the river looking East.
This is a still from 2014 showing how this stretch of river normally looks like!
Here’s another view taken from the left hand side of the first video clip, looking towards the railway. The river that joins the Calder under the railway bridge is the Ryburn. It was just the other side of the railway that the 2015 floods happened due to the sheer volume of water being pushed back from the Ryburn by a flooded Calder – just where Sowerby Bridge is at its lowest level.
Apparently, the railway line is closed due to flooding at a familiar weakpoint today, Walsden, to the West of Todmorden, where a culvert passes under the line, so the pair of Pacers you see in the video were the last train to make it through. I also hear that the road between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden is closed due to flooding!
I’m now back at home in the warm, hoping that the Amber flood warning the Met Office has issued won’t cause us any more problems, but more rain is something we certainly don’t need.
Today’s really been a mixture! My plan was to spend most of it at home catching up on picture editing and paperwork but the weather was so good this morning that I kiboshed that idea after a few hours. Admittedly, I was in the office at 6am, so I didn’t feel too guilty as I’d got a lot done already.
I stayed locally as there’s enough of interest at the moment because of the new trains we’ve got in the area, plus the abundance of woodland which makes for a fantastic backdrop this time of year. In fact I was in two minds about which locations to choose, but a changing forecast made my mind up for me.
My first port of call was half an hour’s walk away, which was a really pleasant stroll as the weather was so balmy. I headed down to an overbridge near Dryclough Junction which is where the line from Halifax splits into two routes. One heads West through the Calder Valley, the other heads to Brighouse and Huddersfield. Here’s how it looked today.
This time of year the sun doesn’t hang around. I only had a 30-40 minute window at Dryclough before heavy shadows crept in, so I moved on to a very different location and a completely different kind of shot in the hills above Halifax, helped by the fact the weather completely clouded up in the afternoon, otherwise I’d have been shooting straight into a low winter sun. I do like the views around Halifax and beacon Hill as they can really reflect the era when the Industrial revolution (and a colonialist empire) transformed the landscape in both Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Tomorrow we shift tempo – and country – as Dawn and I are off to Belgium by train from Halifax with a small group of friends from our local pub, the ‘Big 6‘. Six from the 6 are off to Bruges for three nights of fun and frolics, food beer and culture – as well as some history, so expect a rolling blog tomorrow as we make our way to London by train before catching the Eurostar to Brussels, then an internal service to Bruges. It’s going to be wonderful to be back on the European mainland in a civilised country and away from the continual and utter shambles that’s Brexit – which I promise not to mention, (well, not much, anyway) Stay tuned!
Northern’s new CAF built Class 195s have entered passenger service through the Calder Valley today on the routes from Leeds – Chester and Leeds – Manchester Victoria. Needless to say, I’m out with the camera to capture pictures of this important milestone. It’s the culmination of improvements to the line that have seen the route resignalled, linespeeds increased and platforms lengthened.
I’ll be adding pictures throughout the day. Here’s the first as 195123 picks up passengers at Sowerby Bridge whilst working the 10:22 from Chester to Leeds.
I’ve caught a late-running Chester service which is worked by 195110. These trains are certainly a step-change to the old BR built units we’ve been used to since the 1980s! They’ve far superior acceleration and braking, not to mention all the facilities that passengers have come to expect nowadays, such as power sockets and free wifi. They’ve also got far more seating bays with tables.
Sorry folks, It didn’t turn out to be much of a rolling blog as I was too busy taking pictures! Since I got home earlier this evening I’ve been busy editing them, so here’s a small selection. You can find the full gallery here on my Zenfolio website.
For the number crunchers, the list of units seen in passenger service is as follows. Two car 195002 and 195007. Three car 195103. 195110. 195111. 195119. 195121 and 195123.
Here in the Calder Valley October began exactly where September left off – in the rainclouds! The rain’s hardly stopped all day except for a few moments when you feel emboldened enough to set foot outside, then it creeps back laughing and soaks you! I went for a walk up through our local woods earlier, all the paths had been turned into rivulets as the ground’s so sodden the water’s nowhere else to go. Apart from me, a few soggy squirrels and a couple of determined dog-walkers the woods were deserted. For the past few days I’ve been lucky to see the other side of the valley, never mind further afield.
I’ve not minded too much as I’ve got plenty to do at home. In fact, this enforced sojourn has allowed me to catch up on a huge amount of paperwork and also led me to have a bit of a clear out of stuff I’ve been hoarding for years but never looked at for decades – and certainly not since I left London. You see, this month hold a rather significant birthday for me. It’s my 60th, and it’s make me somewhat introspective. When you’re younger you collect all sorts of ephemera and stuff you physically clutter your life up with. I’m now of an age where I’m thinking “do I really need this stuff anymore? What value is it going to add to my remaining years”? It’s not as if I haven’t got enough to keep me occupied with all the pictures that I still need to scan so that they see the light of day after decades of sitting in albums. Some of this decluttering is actually a catharsis, allowing me to focus on what’s really important.
Tomorrow all this changes as we escape the valley and me the office to head down to Telford for the ACoRP awards. The weather forecast promises something other than continual rain, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get a few library shots to add to the collection as well as everything else. No doubt there’ll be a rolling blog or two coming your way at the same time. In the meantime, here’s a couple of pictures from last years awards which was held in Glasgow.
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…
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.
After yesterday’s fun afloat we’re very much back on terra firma today, ready to soak up the sunshine in the Calser Valley and stretch our legs by taking a stroll up to the Moorcock Inn on Norland moor.
I’ve spent most of the day catching up on editing pictures from the past few days travels and updating yesterday’s less then ‘rolling’ blog! Here’s a couple of examples of the shots I’ve already added to my Zenfolio website.
OK, not everything went to plan today. Both Dawn and I were so heavily caught up in chores that by the time we left the house there was no way we were going to make it up to the Moorcock. Instead, we had a leisurely walk down to the foot of the valley and strolled along the Calder and Hebble navigation (aka ‘the canal’) into Sowerby Bridge. The weather was absolutely stunning, the sort that you really don’t normally associate with Bank-Holiday’s in the UK. The ‘bridge’ was buzzing, the town’s blessed with a number of pubs with beer gardens and I suspect every on was full. Here’s a look at how it was down by the canal.
I’m having another rare day at home trying to keep on top of admin’ whilst not going stir crazy. The day’s been productive so far with several things ticked off the list and with more to come, plus another tranche of pictures added to my Zenfolio website which you can find here. Right now, I’ve nipped out to do some shopping and get some exercise whilst spending a moment enjoying the view across the valley whilst the sun shines and the thunderstorms build up. We’ve had one brief crack of thunder earlier but the skies are certainly changing now. A phalanx of dark clouds is moving in from the East, whilst the higher, lighter cloud is in full retreat whilst the sun’s caught (high up) between the warring factions. As if acting as an out-runner, the wind’s sprung up to ruffle the trees in Scarr woods.
Looking West towards Sowerby Bridge and on to Manchester
Looking the other way and the thunderstorms are gathering…
Then the skies got darker, and darker and…
We’ve had quite a storm! The thunder and lightning passed over pretty quickly, but they left behind a series of heavy showers in their wake which have passed through in a succession for the rest of the day. I’m quite glad I’ve not had to go out tonight and I’m holed up in the dry as it’s a filthy night. It’s given me the excuse to catch up on more paperwork and prepare for another day out on the rails judging the ACoRP awards tomorrow – although I’m not sure how we’ll fare weather-wise. We’ve five stations to visit across the North-West and Cumbria tomorrow, so I expect to get soaked at some point! It’s going to be a busy week as this will be my only one at home, the rest of the week’s taken up with judging and travelling. Not that I’m complaining you understand, we’ve got some fantastic stations and friends groups to visit. Here’s a look at one station from yesterday as an example. This is Bingley on the electrified Aire valley line from Leeds through to Skipton. It was built by the Midland railway in 1892 to replace the original station further East and it’s a fine example of the work of Charles Trubshaw, one of the Midland’s architects.
A Northern Class 333 EMU calls at Bingley on it’s way back to Leeds.
The main station buildings at street level. Sadly, the classic glazed MR canopies that graced the building were hit by a bus many years ago and removed as a consequence. Both shops/offices that you can see here are currently vacant and available for letting.
Thankfully the weather was a lot better yesterday and the local station friends were keen to show us what they’d been up to and what their future plans were. I can only hope we get some more good weather like this over the next few days, although I’m not holding my breath! I’ll be doing a rolling blog throughout the day (judging permitting) but don’t expect to learn too much about what the varied groups we visit have been up to. That will be saved for the ACoRP awards later in the year!
Right now it’s time to call it a day and get all my kit cleaned and charged up ready for a busy few days. See you tomorrow.
It’s slightly later than planned due to circumstances beyond my control, but I’m leaving a wet and miserable Calder Valley behind for a night out with friends in Liverpool. Dawn, plus Fran and Aubrey are already there and I’m catching up. Due to timings it’s not the speediest of journeys as it involves several changes of train, which is why I’m typing this now on the platform of Hebden Bridge station after arriving from Sowerby Bridge on a Blackpool service. Still, it could be worse. In the background I can hear a band playing. I’m assuming there’s an open air gig in the nearby park, which must be well soggy! I’m glad I’m not there – even tho’ the forecast for Liverpool’s no better. I’m off to see some bands too – but in a drier place. Our friends love Liverpool and have persuaded us to join them in seeing a Beatles tribute act in the resurrected ‘Cavern Club’. I’ve fond memories of the area in the 1970s when a club across the road called ‘Eric’s’ was in business. You’d get a real mix of bands in those days, from punk to old hippy bands like ‘Gong’.
We’ve booked a hotel just round the corner as we’re making the most of the weekend. All I need now is for this train to turn up…
A single Northern Class 156 turned up (almost) on time at 16:07 to ferry me across the Pennines, we’re just about to arrive in Victoria now. My fellow passengers consist of families returning home after a day out and younger folk heading out for a night in the cities clubs and pubs – although there’s not that many of them as it’s too early!
Victoria was an even more surreal experience than on a normal Saturday due to the number of young women and girls dressed as cats or book and film characters. I spotted ‘Wonder Woman’ and Rapunzel, amongst others. I’m assuming that some event’son rather than this being some bizarre co-incidence!Whilst I was waiting for the liverpool service a pair of ex-West Midlands trains Class 150s put in an appearance on a StalyVegas – sorry, Stalybridge service.
I’m currently on a TPE 185 to Lime St. It’s another train carrying a mix of families and revellers enjoying different Saturday experiences.
No time for blogging right now, there’s too much going on! Our night out has coincided with Liverpool gay pride and the city is absolutely buzzing!
We had a fab night listening to songs from the ‘fab 4’ which brought back a huge amount of happy memories as well as one or two sad ones. The Cavern was far better than I expected. It could have been touristy and tacky but it was anything but. Yes, there were plenty of tourists but they were there because they loved the Beatles music. It made for a great atmosphere.
Well, the apocalyptic weather forecasts of heavy rain were rather wide of the mark. Apart from a morning of drizzle, we’ve had a dry day. The skies are still threatening and from our bedroom window I’ve seen the odd shower across the valley but the wind’s so strong that nothing hangs around for very long. Because of this I’ve been able to take breaks from editing pictures and staring at screens to enjoy a couple of long walks through our local woods to get some exercise, burning off some calories before we go out for a meal with friends tonight.
Right now I’m taking a break on the promenade high above the valley to enjoy the views and watch the clouds roll by. I do enjoy coming up here because you can see for miles, as you can see from this picture looking down over Sowerby Bridge.
I can understand why the painter Ashley Jackson likes Yorkshire so much, the weather and the light’s constantly changing. Here’s the view nearby yesterday.
As I sit here now I can see sunlight and shadows constantly scudding across the fields, creating a myriad of patterns, most of which are gone in an instant.
It’s a glorious escape from the political insanity that’s engulfed us. But, like all escapes, it’s only temporary…
I can’t believe it’s the same day! Right now I’m sunning myself in the front garden and getting a tan! The weather’s changed completely – as it so often does in this part of the world.
The wind’s still playing havoc with the plants, so I’ve had to repot a couple of the sunflowers to stop them blowing over, but it’s glorious to bask like a lizard for a little while before getting dressed up for dinner.