Posted in Railways on Friday 19th October 2007 at 7:47pm

Being on leave on my birthday week was, I hoped, a surefire means of avoiding those people who think I shouldn't be allowed to escape celebration of the event. How wrong I was, and last night I was pleasantly surprised to have a party organised for me at my local which turned out to be a lot of fun. I wasn't feeling totally well though, and I have a horrible feeling I appeared unappreciative - which I absolutely wasn't! Still didn't feel great this morning, but today was my version a celebration and soon got moving. Tuned in to the radio to hear a dedication arranged by my friends, then headed off to the station to start my weekend away.

Firstly, a nice easy trip up to Crewe - my base for the next couple of days on account of the railtour starting there early tomorrow. Because I'd be arriving fairly early, I'd planned in a chance to do some other new track in the North West too. Great to be back on the rails again, and a pleasant and quiet journey. Couldn't help wondering how these services will change in just a few weeks when Arriva take over? Arrived at Crewe with some time to spare before the next train to Preston. A chance to rebook and to wander around the station. Spotted lights in the distance, and positioned myself in time to get a shot of gleaming 47790 being led to Kingmoor by 66418. Moments later, 90024 appeared from the direction of Crewe Electric in order to reverse and head north in pursuit of the DRS pair.

Ex-works 47790 on it's journey north
Ex-works 47790 on it's journey north

Scotrail liveried 90024 awaits the road north
Scotrail liveried 90024 awaits the road north

The Preston train arrived a little late and was full and standing. Squeezed into a comfortable corner of the vestibule and amused myself by listening to the drunken chatter of a hen party going to Preston. A quick dash over the bridge on arrival, not made easy by still feeling a bit grim, just in time to see a rather battered looking 142 arriving from Blackpool South and heading for Colne. As I began my journey of a little over an hour, I reflected on how these units are coming to my local area soon. My only conclusion was that thankfully, the journeys I'm likely to undertake are not as long as this one! Interesting make the trip in the easterly direct towards Copy Pit, which I'd not previously done. In Burnley, we branched northwards and headed for Colne. This bit of line has eluded me for quite a while, and would have been covered on an abortive Pathfinder tour earlier in the year. Surprised by the remaining roof structures at the rather dilapidated looking Nelson station. Fifteen minutes in Colne was enough time to stock up on throat lozenges and drinks. I tried to explore a bit but was confused that in both directions the road seemed to lead out of town, and there wasn't an obvious way in!

Rebooked again on the train, and retraced my steps as far as Blackburn. An impressive take on a modern station here, with sweeping curves, plenty of circulating space and level access to all platforms. Busy too, and there was quite a squash to get on the 150 which arrived for Manchester. My object was simply to complete the line from here to Bolton via the intriguingly named Hall i'th Wood station. A quiet and uneventful trip, and another bit of line crossed off. Time to head home, with one or two rather tight timings planned. First, over the bridge at Bolton to get a Wigan Wallgate train which was very busy. Then out of Wallgate station, over the road and into North Western station in six minutes to get the 17:01 Euston service as far as Crewe. Made it comfortably this time, and once again forced to stand I enjoyed a full view of an amazing sunset over Lancashire from the door. This has to be the best way to spend a birthday?

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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