A few days after travelling to Llandudno we did the same journey again the other way round. Of course it’s never exactly the same as before. For instance, the trains were a little less crowded because it was no longer a bank holiday weekend, and there were more masks in evidence, probably because the average age of the passengers was a bit higher. On the other hand, on one of the Transport for Wales trains there was even less leg-room than before, and I began to get cramp and had to stick one leg out into the aisle and watch for people approaching so that I could move it out of the way.
We changed trains at all the same places as before. There was a slight delay coming into Manchester when another train got ahead of ours at a junction. Just before the junction it crossed a bridge that I decided I wanted to photograph, but by the time I fished my phone out to take the picture, we had gone a little past it. The resulting image is, I think, like something out of a dystopian nightmare, but I am strangely proud of it.
We have a thing about bridges in our family so I looked this one up online and discovered it’s quite a new one that forms part of an extra section of track linking all the Manchester stations together. It’s also an unusual asymmetric bridge. I knew there was some good reason for photographing it! This part of Manchester is full of railway and canal history and it was also once the site of a Roman fort at Castlefield.
We had an hour and a half to wait at Oxford Road station. I had planned this to try and make sure we wouldn’t miss our final train. Thanks to an extremely small branch of Costa Coffee, we ate toasties for some of this time, and, refreshed by the break from routine, I thought of an idea for a new series of comedy thrillers. Well actually, it was mostly the titles I thought of. There weren’t any plots involved.
As we had waited so long, we were on the alert for last-minute platform changes, and right on cue, another train got stuck at the platform our train was supposed to depart from – the other train apparently had no driver, which was slightly alarming as we had seen it moving to the platform in the first place. However the change of platform on this occasion didn’t cause any inconvenience as our train just came in at the other side of the same platform and we didn’t have to rush to get up to the footbridge or down to the subway to find a different one. Obviously Transpennine are mere amateurs at platform-changing compared to the now departed Virgin trains, who once sent us from one side of Waverley station to the other (a 10 minute walk involving escalators, footbridges and steps) 5 minutes before our train was due to depart.