Thankfully Network Rails strike was called off 24hrs before my sojourn to the Midlands, Phew!!!!!!! I'd been swearing a lot and panicking even more so at the thought of losing a day of my Heart of England 3 in 7 Rover, nevermind, how the hell I got home. Everything planned, I was up at 0500 hrs, the 3 S's done, breakfast consumed, cup of coffee, quick check of the bag, ciggy and thanks to my flat mate, a lift to Central, which turned out to be lucky because the high winds and rain from the night before, had blown a chimney off a roof, into the middle of the road, to the point, the fire brigade had to secure the roof and the police closed the road, so the 06.16 bus, never turned up, lucky escape No.2. I had just over 2hrs on Central Station, nowt of any significance materialised but I did manage to collar 2 VTEC coaches. At 08.35 I boarded winner 221138 for the haul to Derby, for the start of what should be a very productive 3 day trip to the Midlands. It's not about shacks or mileage for me, its lines under great swathes of requirements, of which there's many in that region. The journey down to York didn't exactly get the red pen (well black in my case) excited but 66759 just outside York did, at Donnie I just missed a Fred on a liner going South but I was primed by the window for Roberts Road, 47739, always nice to see a beloved brush, the 2 GB (visible) sheds were dud, the 3 others were hidden by a huge rake of wagons Sheffield set the ball (point-Sorry) rolling again with 222006, whey hey!!! Lets hope it's the first of many, I need a fair chunk of those Meridians. We arrived at Derby bang on time and I was first one off that Voyager, inside I was screaming THANK THE LORD THATS OVER and trust me I'm paraphrasing what I actually said, straight over the bridge for a quick ciggy and back to see whats floating round. A few more were added to the cops list before I made my way over to Crewe, last time I made this move it was in the hands of a green liveried(i think)170502 going and a 150 back but that was moons ago. Today's trip is entrusted to Dogbox 153383 on the 11.42 to Crewe, the intention was have half an hour and go for a couple of hours on Stafford, as it turned out I had the grand total of 18mins, enough time to view what was on the platforms and find my platform to join winner all round 350257 on my maiden voyage on a class 350. As were leaving, I'm shocked to see a Thameslink 387 passing, I manage to note the back one which is 387102. A sure cop indeed. Regarding the 350's, I quite like them, the seats aren't really made for comfort but inside they're nice enough and fairly quick off the mark too. Stafford I was hoping for a fair bit freight, however the time spent there, didn't really produce much of it, 3 to be brutally honest but nothing I needed, however I did get the last 4 of the 9 car pendo's I was after, if they hadn't renumbered them, they'd have been cleared now and a couple of the 11 car ones got scratched off too and the Thameslink 387 returned, it's partner in crime was none other than 387101 every cloud an all that. However, it high time to move, for today's primary objective, to get to Leamington Spa before 18.03. I boarded yet another all round winner 350374 on the 15.39 Birmingham New St for a spin to Wolves, here techniquest proffered his advice via text, to get to Smethwick Galton Bridge, go up and get a train to Solihull to access the Moor St lines and you'll meet your connection there and get a couple more moves in too. Great advice to me, pretty standard advice if in the know but I would've walked from New St to Moor St. Anyway, from Wolves To Smethwick GB, I jumped on wining Arrivas 158822 and winner all round 158829. Luckily I found the high level no problem and within 2mins I was aboard winner all round172214, another maiden voyage too. I like the 172's there a bit like the 156's in my opinion. Off we whizz to Solihull, whilst enjoying the ride, at Hawthorns, I think, I'm seeing the trams too, could I hell find the numbers on them, eventually I see a number 18 on one of them at Snow Hill. I jump off 172214 at Solihull and thankfully because it's chocker block now with commuters in the rush hour, sure enough 3 mins later I jump on a equally packed 168215 another (AR)-All round)winner for the +20 wait at Leamington Spa for the highly anticipated Cat on the Chiltern turn. I arrive on the opposite platform and cop Virgin mark II coach 3386, is that the one that had the fault and was taken off the tour the Western did and dumped? if so, it's been there a good while, not that I'm complaining, for good measure 165023 adds itself to the ever growing cops list too. Bang on time I see a silver cat come into view, I make my way down the platform to the area where the front coach will stop. I have to say these 68's look mightily impressive, whatever the livery, be it Chiltern or DRS. 68011 is a sure fire AR winner. The noise off them is awesome, if the Chiltern coaches had drop down windows, I'd have had them open to enjoy the noise even more, however I sat back, plugged my phone in for some much needed charge and listened to the orchestra the cat was producing, All too soon it was over, so I made my way over to check in to my base camp for the next 2 nights. Short taxi ride, taking in which way to go back, I checked in, dropped off my huge holdall, put a few things in my havasack and set off on the 10min walk to New Street. At New Street, I decided to go to Rugby, two reasons, 1 for to see if the 92 and 57 were there (they were but they were both dud) and to see if any modals went through. AR Winner 350116 done the honours out of New St and on arrival at Rugby, I was rewarded with cop 66569 on a modal, I bagged a few more winning 350's but as I'd been told, IT WOULD, Rugby died on its backside, 90042 went through but nothing else of note. A youth made me laugh, strange because he'd been annoying the life out of me earlier, tear arsing round the station under passes on his bike whilst screaming at the top of his voice, it quietened down, I just thought he'd got bored and went on his merry way. I was wrong, I was stood on the opposite platform where the old Motorail coaches have been dumped, nearby the offices are on the same platform, I'm stood and this head comes above the wall and in a thick midlands accent, goes peek a boo, then disappears, 5 secs later it reappears and does exactly the same, I was in fits, he'd climbed one of the posts, needless to say, he was quickly told to get and down and go by the station staff but I have to admit it made me giggle. Soon after I made tracks on another(AR) winner350267 this time to Birmingham International, for a quick spin on (AR)wiining Starship 323222, to New Street. Yet another maiden voyage, I sat under the pantograph, well in the coach, not literally but a text off techniquest told me to shift my butt quickly to the motor coach, I did just that and have to say, I wondered what all the fuss was about, now I know, they're old school EMU's, noisey and damn good fun. It was now way after 11, I needed food and a bed, I sourced some fish and chips and a can of coke, I wolfed them down, the batter on the fish was brick hard, I still ate it I was starving, got in had a shower, wrote the days notes up and crashed out. I ended up with 58 cops over the day, 10 winners for haulage and 5 of which were maiden voyages on the class, not a bad start for day 1.