I’m currently on my way to London from Huddersfield after getting a lift in with Dawn as I fancied a change of route and the opportunity to see what preparatory work is being done on four-tracking the line East to Dewsbury. Right now, the work appears limited to tree and vegetation clearance and surveys.
I’m on a packed 3-car TPE service. The coronavirus seems to have had little impact on the number of people travelling around here at this time of day.
I didn’t hang around in Leeds as I was straight on to LNER’s 10:15 to Kings Cross which is made up of 2 5-car Class 802s. Curious to see how busy it was, I walked past the first unit to get into the front set. Loadings seem pretty good at 2/3 to 3/4 full, but there’s no seat reservations working so I can’t see if many people haven’t turned up. I’d certainly expect this train to be busier, but it’s not deserted in the way some sections of the media tend to make out.
On the was out of Leeds I observed the progress being made on building the new platform 0. The switch from the main line’s now in place and a lot of the new overhead masts have been installed with the old ones either decommissioned or removed entirely. The structure of the new platform’s yet to take shape as work is focussing on demolishing part of the original platform 1 to allow it to dovetail. If I’d hade time I’d have grabbed some pictures as it’s a bright sunny day but my focus has to be set a few hundred miles away today. Another day…
As an experiment I changed trains at Doncaster as there was another London service drawing in at the same time as mine from Leeds. I’m now speeding South on an LNER service from Glasgow Central and this IS noticeably quieter. I’m in coach J of a 9-car Azuma and there’s only 10 of us in here now after the 8 members of a girls hockey team from Edinburgh got off at Newark Northgate.
We’re currently bowling along the East Coast Main Line near Tallington Jn at 124 mph. The wall to wall sunshine I had in Yorkshire’s been replaced by low, fluffy clouds with occasional sunny spells which is a bit of a bummer as I was hoping my luck might have held.
We’ve just flown through Stevenage where the new bay platform for Hertford loop services is really taking shape. It’s no longer just a ‘civils’ site it’s now a railway one as track and overhead wires have appeared.
The weather’s improving the closer we get to the capital. Those fluffy little clouds are still hanging around but they’ve thinned and retreated higher to give me a fighting chance with sun patches, although Sods law will dictate they’ll still block the sun and leave the subject matter in shadow just as I prepare to take the shot!
I’ve had a hectic couple of hours getting the pictures I need for a magazine around Kings Cross station, which is changing yet again. The station’s gradually becoming hemmed in by skyscrapers as the West side of the station (the former loco sidings) is redeveloped. Oh, and the latest new trains have arrived in the shape of Hull Trains class 802/3’s. Here’s the first of the fleet 802301 keeping company with the type of train it’s replaced, Grand Centrals 180102.
Having done what I needed to I caught the London Underground’s Circle line over to Liverpool St. I was curious to see just what an effect the virus scare was having and I have to say, not a huge amount from what I can see. The train was quieter then usual, but not by much, and there wasn’t a mask to be seen! I did see one or two in passing, but to be honest, you’ll see more in the summer when the Asian tourist influx arrives as some people wear them as a matter or course when it has as much to do with London’s polluted air as anything! Here’s a shot taken on my train to Liverpool St.
19:45.Sorry folks! Rather a large gap in blogging there as I’ve been a busy bunny with the camera, aided and abetted by the fact there’s rather a lot to photograph in my old ‘Manor’ of East London! I decided to stay fairly local and didn’t venture beyond Hackney, which was perfect for my purposes as it allowed me to document the changing face of the railways in one of my old stomping grounds. London Overground have finally been able to introduce the much-delayed Bombardier built Class 710 trains on services to places like Chingford, so I was keen to get pictures of the transition between them and the old BR built classes like the 315s, which will soon disappear altogether. There’s so many new train fleets coming onstream at the moment that it’s difficult to keep up on the national perspective.I didn’t hang around too long as I needed to get back North ready for a change of kit for tomorrows job. To be honest, if I’d planned this without looking at the weather I’d have arranged to have stayed in London (or perhaps Birmingham) tonight rather than have another early start. On the bright side, I get another chilled night at home with my other half rather than yet another to myself in a hotel…
Right now I’m on the last leg home, a Northern train from Leeds to Halifax. Having left London early I missed the rush. Sadly, I also missed the weather, which deteriorated as we headed North. It felt positively spring-like in London earlier, leaving me feeling very over dressed. Not so now as I’m back in Yorkshire and glad of the layers! When I get home I’ll add a few pictures from today. At the moment I’m on an unrefurbished 3-car 158 on the Hull – Halifax service, so I’m accessing the web through tethering my phone to my laptop and loading pictures would make a tidy hole in my monthly data contract…
I’m home and drying out after getting soaked walking back from the station as the heavens opened and the wind blew! It was all a bit of a shock after being in balmy 14 degree temperatures in London earlier. Now I’m busy drying stuff out as I’ve got a sill o’ clock start in the morning in order to be in Birmingham by 09:30. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of pictures that I promised you earlier…
Back in the city I was keeping a watchful eye out for people wearing facemasks on public transport as the pictures would be useful library shots. Despite all the ho-ha there really weren’t that many, but I did see these two chaps on the underground at Liverpool St.
OK, that’s all for today folks. See you tomorrow…