My second day of travelling yesterday. I'm going home from Blackpool to Loughborough. I began with the 14:44 First TransPennine Express from Blackpool North to Manchester Piccadilly.
14:56: Train departed on time and I immediately noticed the better ride of the Class 185. Even having a diesel engine under your seat doesn't produce as much noise or vibration as on other types. No WiFi though.
I noticed there's an awful lot of unused infrastructure on the route between Blackpool and Preston. The station at Kirkham and Wensham has 5 tracks and miles of sidings, all empty.
15:10. At Preston. Miserably wet as yesterday, with the poor folk waiting for trains hiding around the kiosks to try to stay dry. I wonder if the sun ever shines in Preston. My printed journey details as supplied by a kindly and informative clerk at Blackpool says there is a trolley service on this train but it is more in the breach than the observance.
Again, I'm having problems with the satnav. On the road it works perfectly but, on a train it's hopeless. I wonder why this is. I suppose it's the steel cage I'm sitting in.
15:19 arrival at Chorley. Now we've left Preston, it's stopped raining.
15:50 Left Salford Crescent. Train is standing room only. Of course, there is no incentive for the train operator to add coaches since the passengers are happy to stand, otherwise they wouldn't travel and they pay the fare.
16:02. Arrived Piccadilly 6 late after being stuck behind a slow moving Arriva Trains Wales Class 175. Piccadilly station frenetic as usual.
16:13. TPE Class 185 arrives for reversal to Cleethorpes. Sheffield is only two stops. I find myself chatting to a young university researcher whose father I know in the railway industry. We admire the beautiful scenery as we cross the pennines (we are on TPE after all) on our way to Sheffield.
17:08. On time at Sheffield. Girding my loins for the rattle and shake down to Loughborough on the EMT Class 222.
18:05. On 17:35 ex Sheffield. Very chatty and helpful attendant (Wayne) on EMT service. Small compensation for the bumpy and vibrating ride I'm getting on the Meridian 222. How can it be so much worse than a TPE Class 185? Still, it got me home on time and to a dry and sunny Loughborough.
Overall the trip was interesting and I got a lot of work done that I couldn't have done by road or air.