Posted in Railways on Friday 6th March 2009 at 8:37pm
Some days just start out well. Took the usual locomotive hauled set to Weston as per my working-day routine. However, having waved off the locals heading for work, settled in with coffee and a paper to wait for the 08:32 which was to take me all the way to Manchester Piccadilly. Arrived on time, so found my seat in First Class and settled in for the ride. Excellent refreshments and great service all the way, and some cracking weather too which was a huge bonus given the record of recent days off! No great surprises in terms of route, but some more mileage racked up in very pleasant surroundings.
On arrival, made a dash out to the Ian Allan bookshop to grab my 2009 combined volume, before heading down to the Metrolink platforms for the brief trip across town to Manchester Victoria. Time for a coffee and a quick email check before finding my way to the platform. The plan here was to take a couple of trips on the Class 180 'Adelantes' which had relocated here from the south west. Abundantly clear this wasn't happening on the outward leg, as an ailing 142 occupied the platform, getting later and later as staff failed to fix a fault. Finally left a good few minutes down, and by judicious use of Live Departure Boards, resolved to change at Chorley rather than Preston as planned. After a very brief wander around Chorley station and it's immediate environs, headed back to the station and waited in the sun for the next southbound train. 180108 duly produced, and I had the surreal experience of occupying a brief trip in the declassified First Class saloon in a well-used but far too long unit!
Back into Manchester in good time to make the hike from the through platforms to the main trainshed for the afternoon circular route via Glossop and Hadfield. I'd visited Glossop a couple of winters back, and had a pleasant pint or two while wondering how exactly to cover the other bit of the triangle at the rather sad ending of the former Woodhead route to Sheffield. Having done my research in PSUL I'd noted that some of the peak trains did all three sides, and this service duly covered the track calling first at Glossop then reversing to call at Hadfield, then returning to Dinting and rejoining the outward route. In the growing evening gloom with the landscape falling into deep shadow, I realised I recognised the names hereabout from documentary coverage Yorkshire Ripper. A chilling feeling as we sped through some fairly forlorn surroundings back to the metropolis.
Back onto the Metrolink to Victoria to find my accommodation for the evening. This involved a short walk into the city which was still busy with shoppers and commuters. Found Blackfriars Road and headed over the river to the hotel. As I arrived I noted a huge hot pink road sign proclaiming - "Welcome - You are now", and then, with the spatial equivalent of a pause for dramatic effect at the sign's foot "IN Salford". I actually found myself stopping to ponder quite what the sign meant, and confess I still can't quite grasp it's significance. I'd have taken a snap but for the poor light and crowds jostling me on the rather narrow strip of pavement. Thankfully other's have done so. My accommodation was busy, and a single, frazzled operator was manning the desk as I stepped over stags and hens already carousing in the corridor. It was going to be a strange weekend...
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.