UK rail trip – 2022
Day 11 – 13th April, 2022
I was up by 08:30. Today, I was heading back to Manchester. I was going with a purpose, this time. Tonight, I’ll be attending the annual meeting of the Manchester branch of the MND Association. First, though, I had to walk down a lot of stairs.
As usual, though, I chose not to take the most direct route. I could have easily taken a direct Transpennine Express service to Manchester Piccadilly. However, I decided to take an LNER service to York, where I’d change for Manchester Piccadilly. So, I hopped on a class 801 – the all-electric version of the class 800.
In less than ten days, I’d already covered over 5,000 km by train – and I was only really getting started. Even though I love travelling by train, I wish I’d been travelling by bicycle. As the train crossed from Scotland into England, I was thinking of the coastal track not too far to my left. Hindsight is always 20/20. And, at the time, it seemed the right thing to do. But I already have new bicycle plans in mind for next year – just need a new bike first! And my preferred model won’t be in stock until at least the end of the year. But at least it will give me plenty of time to save. After two hours, which seemed to pass rather quickly, I was arriving at York. Time to change trains.
I had nearly an hour until my train to Manchester, so spent a little time watching trains. I was thinking that I may travel back to York tomorrow and walk around the city a bit. The station, and the adjacent National Railway Museum, is pretty much as far as I’ve gone in York. So, it’s probably time to change that.
I caught the slightly delayed 12:19 Transpennine Express service to Manchester Piccadilly, which will be travelling via Manchester Victoria. This will be another first for me, as I’ll get to travel along the new Ordsall Chord which allows trains to call at both of Manchester’s main stations. For this to happen previously, a train would have to reverse at Salford Crescent. I would also be travelling along the Huddersfield Line for the first time since 2007 – another of my favourite lines to travel along. This line parallels a canal for much of the way between Leeds and Stalybridge. I’d love to travel along that canal, one day. Maybe, in the future, I’ll spend a few months on a narrowboat travelling some of Britain’s canals.
After deparing Manchester Victoria, the train took the Ordsall Chord around through to Deansgate. Even though it did allow direct connections between Piccadilly and Victoria, the casualty was the Museum of Science and Industry‘s mainline connection to the National Rail network. And, in the end, despite enabling through services between the stations, the benefit has so far not justified the cost.
After arriving at Manchester Piccadilly, I took a Manchester Metrolink tram back to Deansgate Castlefield – the closest tram spot for my hostel (YHA Manchester). Getting from the tram stop to the hostel required walking through a carpark and down a long set of stairs! With a suitcase, it wasn’t the easiest! After checking in, I wandered around the area taking a number of photos.
After walking around for a bit, I made my way to Deansgate Castlefied Metrolink station. On the way, I passed a rather large bicycle.
I caught the tram out to the Brooklands stop. This was the closest stop to the Sale Rugby Football Club ground, where the annual general meeting of the Manchester MNDA branch would be. It included a nice buffet dinner! It was great getting to hear about what the local MNDA branch had been doing and also had a virtually attending guest speaker named Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, an expert in MND and neurological research, from SiTraN (one of the UK’s leading MND research centres). It took a little time to get the video link working, due to a few technical difficultues. But it all worked out in the end!
After a few hours at the general meeting, I bid my farewells and headed back to my hostel.