... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017


Usually when I'm on a train I'm not that bothered about having a clear view out of the window; even less which direction I'm facing. Just give me an aisle seat, airline style, and I'm happy; extra legroom and I'm delerious. Normally I'd have my nose in a book for the entire journey.

But Sunday was a bit different; I wanted to savour every bit of the trip, including the journey. Unfortunately, I didn't think of that until I'd chosen my seat, which did not have good window access. This was a Cross Country train with the notorious Virgin windows and I was in the worst possible spot for looking out. Nonetheless I craned my neck and did my best. Almost invariably when I leave Sheffield I'm heading south, so this was different from the start; deep, stone-lined cuttings, green and wet, interspersed with tunnels. Over the Don and through Attercliffe; a sea of factories, steel mills and scrap heaps - but how many of them still operating? 'Special Steels Limited: Long Bar Treatment'.  Lots of cleared sites too; places in the throes of demolition, and new housing on virtuous brownfield land.  Past the sewage works, through a disused station, red brick, five minutes out of Sheffield - what was that? Ten minutes before we reach the suburbs, then green fields; glimpses of canal. Spring sun emerging and the sky turning blue. Change at Leeds and run with the canal now for a way; I'm standing at the doors now looking out like a kid. Flashes of river, a tunnel and we arrive at Saltaire.

The station itself is characterless, rebuilt in 1984 almost two decades after it was closed, with hardly anything of the original remaining. Here's one old photo - the buildings were demolished in 1970, five years after it was closed. Quite a few people got off - I suppose the first sunny Sunday of spring brought them out - so I didn't stop to take any pictures on the platform. Here's what it looked like from the road above:
And the other side:
I didn't come back from Saltaire. I planned to come back from Shipley, but I didn't come back from Shipley either - having gone there for a bite to eat at teatime I managed to miss my train despite a mad dash for the station that got me there moments before it should have left (but with no sign of it in sight) I ended up getting a lift to Bradford Interchange and catching the Leeds train there. I'd never been to Bradford before.
The return fare was £12.50. I suspect this will turn out to be one of the cheapest of my Big Days Out.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so old I can remember when you could have seen coal mines and a coke works on that trip from Sheffield to Leeds.
    NB 'Red Wharf'