Home / Railway Gallery / Railtour Gallery / Railtours in 2019 / The West Riding - LNER HST Farewell, Leeds - 21st of December 2019 9

One of the notable events of this year was the phasing out of the venerable HSTs on the East Coast Main Line and their replacement with the new Class 800 Azumas, but their departure didn't go unremarked, and one unit was even repainted into the nice old British Rail blue and gold livery and made various trips down the east side of the country in late December. I was determined to get over to Leeds and catch this unit departing on its way down to London's Kings Cross with 'The West Riding' railtour, run by UK Railtours, but as it was departing at 11:01 I always new it was going to be a gamble getting over there in time using the Calder Valley service train, especially as that abysmally crap outfit known as Northern Rail (Fail) are notorious for last minute cancellations due to regular excuses like 'lack of staff' due to sickness or days off etc. As it was though it was not them but my local bus company Rosso which nearly ruined my visit, as the bus I had been waiting for didn't appear at all and left me standing at the bus stop fuming for nearly 50 minutes before the next one arrived (Rosso Christmas party the night before perhaps?) and caused me to miss the train I'd been planning to catch, and which would have allowed me at least half an hour there before the tour departed. I just about made it to Rochdale Station for the next train and I knew it would be tight if it was delayed at all, and would be cutting things very close. As it was it was a little late but I made it there with 10 minutes to spare, though this was not ideal as it didn't leave me much time to check things out, find my locations, and do my usual test shots. Still, beggars can't be choosers and I did at least manage to get a few shots before it disappeared out of view looking very stately and impressive. I will certainly miss these trains, it was always a pleasure to photograph, and occasionally, ride on them.

Now I've been to Leeds many times over the years, but I can honestly say this must be the shortest visit I've ever made there, and with the station heaving with Christmas shoppers and railway enthusiasts doing the same thing as me, I decided that I wouldn't hang around there photographing service trains and would instead head back to Hebden Bridge and jump off the train there and catch the 'Bronte Bus' up to Oxenhope Station for a visit to the KWVR. I reckon my visit to Leeds must have lasted all of 20 minutes, even though it had taken me over 2 hours to get there, I even came back on the train I'd travelled over there on! :-)