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The destination was the scenic Penistome line in West Yorkshire
The ghost of Northern Rail. My first train today was a 'northern' class 323 electric train from Wilmslow to Manchester via the Airport. While waiting to reverse at the Airport another 323 on a Crewe service drew in. Looking carefully you can see where the 'Northern Rail' vinyls have been removed from the coach side when the franchise changed on 1st April from 'Northern Rail' to 'northern', operated by Arriva.
A sunny morning at Manchester Piccadilly seen from our class 150 Sprinter train to Sheffield
River Goyt near Mellor
After New Mills Central we join the scenic Hope Valley Line near Chinley. Once through Cowburn Tunnel we are in Edale, with Rushup Edge and Mam Tor visible through the window.
A closer look at Mam Tor. I've climbed up to there and walked the ridge a few times with Stockport Walkers.
The train curves around the foot of Mam Tor to Hope. Here is the end of the Mam Tor ridge; it's quite a climb from the railway to the top of that hill, as I can testify!
Freightliner class 66 locomotives at Earles Sidings, Hope, for the cement trains from the Hope cement works
Near Bamford. Soon after Hathersage and Gridleford stations we enter the 3.5 mile long Totley Tunnel. Until the two High Speed One tunnels opened in 2007 this was the second longest tunnel in UK (the Severn Tunnel was the longest).
Our 150 Sprinter at journey's end in the bay platform at Sheffield
At Sheffield we join a class 144 Pacer for the journey along the Penistone line to Huddersfield. Just look at that ridiculous seat spacing. These 4-wheel 'bus trains' are uncomfortable enough without seat spacing a cowboy charter airline wouldn't be allowed to get away with! And those tombstone-high seat backs give a claustrophobic feel to the interior as well. These must be the worst trains in UK! Good job the journey is a scenic one to compensate!
Once clear of the north Sheffield suburbs the post-industrial landscape gives way to wooded agricultural land
Once a major junction station on the electrified main Manchester to Sheffield Woodhead line (closed and lifted in 1981) Penistone is now a simple passing loop on this single track railway
The view from Penistone viaduct
Emly Moor TV transmitter mast keeps swapping between the left and right hand sides of the train as we weave our way towards Huddersfield
Near Denby Dale
Denby Dale station, with the former goods shed beyond
That mast again
A converted station goods shed, now a des res
That mast again
This line crosses many valleys, so there are plenty of tunnels, embankments, cuttings, and lofty viaducts
Lots of lovely stone buildings along the line. Pity about the lineside trees which, when they come into leaf, will block views like this. It's a common problem on most of our railways in recent years since Network Rail appear to have given up on clearing lineside vegetation.
The railway passes above the town before curving round to the right into the station
Our 144 Pacer at Huddersfield. From here it will retrace its steps back to Sheffield.
Huddersfield station; the train on the right starts from here and runs to Wigan Wallgate. I will ride it as far as Salford Crescent.
The 'Cafeteria and Bar' sign points to 'The Head of Steam' pub, which we have visited many times on 'Beer by Train' trips. In this view from the Wigan train our Pacer from Sheffield can be seen in the bay platform at right, while a Trans Pennine Express for Manchester waits in the other platform.
Slaithwaite, pronounced 'Slewit' is the first stop west of Huddersfield
Next is Marsden, by the eastern end of Standedge Tunnel
Standedge Tunnel buildings
On the west side of the tunnel, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal
Approaching Manchester Victoria with a tram to Bury going the other way
This part of Victoria Station has recently been refurbished. But much of the station is as drab and dark as ever.
I left the Wigan train at Salford Crescent and boarded a train to Manchester Airport. Here it's passing MoSI (Museum of Science & Industry) where work is progressing on the Ordsall Chord.
The Castlefield area of Manchester
The Vimto sculpture between Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations
Passing over the Mid Cheshire line (Stockport to Altrincham section) near Gatley, single-lined here in the 1980s to cheapen the building of bridges for the then new M60 motorway. It's easy to see where transport priorities lay back then; thankfully such destruction of working railway infrastructure to ease the building of a road wouldn't happen today. Maybe one day the reverse will happen!
Our Sprinter at the Airport, in the new platform 4
Last train for me today - the class 323 electric to Crewe which will take me to Wilmslow runs into the Airport station from Manchester. From Wilmslow, the 88 bus will take me to the Bird in Hand at Knolls Green, Mobberley, to meet Ivan for a couple of pints outside in today's warm sunshine.