Wild West Yorkshire
Rhubarb and Spanish
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2018
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
21 March 2018
We’re out for the day, using another of those £10 day rover tickets on Northern Rail. It was going to involve a trip around the Cumbrian Coast and down the Settle and Carlisle, but the weather forecast discouraged us - instead, we’ll head for West Yorkshire, and explore some of the more obscure lines. After the short run from Nantwich, our Northern Rail journey begins at Crewe, on a Piccadilly (via the airport) service. A quick walk through the centre of Manchester gets us to Victoria, and a Leeds-bound train via the Calder valley. We were going to change to a Huddersfield - Wakefield train at Mirfield, but a short delay for signals at Bradley Wood meant we arrived at Mirfield too late for our connection. We decided to stay on the train to Leeds… … where, after buying some lunch, we joined a Knottingley via Castleford train. We would be following our original plan in reverse for a while. The service terminates at Knottingley; our class 150 DMU disappeared down the line towards Goole - and returned a little while later, having crossed over to the opposite track. We’re retracing our steps now, as far as Pontefract (home of the confection we called “Spanish”, in the days when a
threepenny bit would buy a pocketful. Most people would call it liquorice). From Pontefract, the train continues towards Wakefield (HQ of the “rhubarb triangle”), along a route which was freight-only in the days of colliery steam. The once-grand station at Wakefield Kirkgate was a sad mess of rusting structural steelwork last time I was there, 15 years ago almost to the day (see “Derby to Donny”, 22 March 2003). It’s been refurbished - the rusty ruins have gone, and it looks smart and presentable, in a spartan sort of way. Certainly smart enough to entertain the Grand Central service to Kings Cross, which called during our sojourn. The subway linking the platforms is quite splendid, lined with tiled reproductions of Ashley Jackson watercolours - and who’s that chap down at the end? Speaking of famous Yorkshiremen, we met another an hour or so later, outside the magnificent frontage of Huddersfield station, before riding back to Victoria in a aging, but sprightly, Pacer - complete with the original bus-type seating. We had the train almost to ourselves - quite a contrast to the EMU from Piccadilly to Crewe (standing room only) and the 175 back to Nantwich. An interesting and enjoyable outing!
150211 - arrival at Knottingley Off to reverse Freight arrival - 66177 Back from reversal Ready to leave We've arrived at Wakefield Kirkgate 158908 at Kirkgate 158817, Leeds-bound Grand Central - Adelante arrival Platform 3 GC - Grand Central - "Hart of the North" Off to Kings Cross Ashley's art 66007 - pause for a crew change Ashley in the underpass Harold at Huddersfield Spacious Pacer