Posted in Railways on Saturday 16th August 2008 at 11:57pm
It's unusual for me to take annual leave during the summer, and even more so at what's been a fairly fraught time. Despite needing to be in the office on Monday, there was an 'end of term' feeling about today. With too much to finish and too little time, I felt stressed and rushed in the build up to today's trip. Had a strange ride up to Wolverhampton yesterday, dogged by stupid authorisation problems with my bank card and the need to trudge across a menacingly chav-infested town centre after hours to stock up on provisions for the trip. So, it felt pretty good to be on the platform this morning despite all the distractions and problems, waiting for the stock to appear. Just a little later than planned, the thunderous sound of 37059 rounding the curve into the station heralded the start of the day's entertainment. Such a contrast to last December when the 'Electric Scot Farewell' tour failed to turn up - and good to see things working out for Spitfire today.
We were soon off, passing Oxley and picking up at Telford and Shrewsbury, where we unusually used platform 3. The pair of 37s weren't playing well together at this point, and we appeared to be running on one loco for much of this leg. Despite this we made good progress along the crucially timed single line section to Chester and then via Helsby and Warrington to Manchester Victoria. Here, someone sensibly slipped into the cab of 47712 which was providing the train supply, to give us a bit of a shove up Miles Platting bank. Suddenly, a little before we entered Standedge Tunnel, the 37s started to work in multiple and the change in performance was evident! Enjoyed a very quick run via Healey Mills and Castleford before turning south to join the ECML via Gascoigne Wood, Hambleton and Temple Hirst Junctions. Must say a word about the excellent rolling stock too - Spitfire were using the all First Class former Stobart Pullman rake, which belongs to DRS. Most of the branding had disappeared (except oddly, that in the toilets) but what remained was a clean, comfortable and very well appointed rake of Mk 3 stock. Following a very slackly timed run via Grimbsy and a wait at Barnetby, arrived at a rather gloomy Cleethorpes pretty much on time.
I hadn't given much thought to what to do in Cleethorpes for four hours. Some folks planned a walk or bus down the coast for the Light Railway, others had scoped out various pubs. Decided to wander and find old haunts from my last visit here on an All Line Rover in 2005. Did a circuit of the town centre, finding the Comat Hotel up for sale and the surly-staffed Agrah Indian restaurant still apparently operating. Resisted the temptation to head for the Fisherman's Arms where I'd listened to a local telling stories of shipwrecks, and headed instead for the Good Beer Guide listed No.1 and No.2 Refreshment Rooms at the station, sampling the beer at both and watching the Olympic 100 metres final with the locals and sharing their disbelief at Usain Bolt's turn of speed! Joined in the seaside spirit with some pretty mediocre fish and chips before heading back to watch the stock arrive back at the station with 47712 leading.
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.