The Last Commission of Northern Rail

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HMS Ark Royal

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With preparations complete, and confirmations that all planned Northern Rail services were going to operate as best as they could, my father dropped me off in his van at Hull Paragon where I collected my ticket for 1J23 0808 Bridlington to Sheffield with 158793 in charge

158793 at Sheffield by N7242C, on Flickr

After arrival at Sheffield, I went to collect my next set of tickets and heard that the 11:11 service I was due on was cancelled. Quickly asking the Information people what to do, I boarded the 1R66 0652 Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street which had the magnificent pairing of 158774 and 158799 in command of the trip to Manchester Piccadilly.

158774 at Manchester Piccadilly by N7242C, on Flickr

158799 at Manchester Piccadilly by N7242C, on Flickr

With two hours to kill, I decided to purchase a Day Travel Card and went on the trams for a bit. Sadly, because I was carrying two bags and my tablet was secured in the bag for the most part, I did not get names or pictures... Although I did get a picture of the works at Manchester Victoria from one of the trams later on that afternoon.

Road/Rail JCB by N7242C, on Flickr

After returning, and an encounter with Metrolink RPIs who were greatly confused as to why a posh looking and well dressed guy had got off with two bags and a straw hat, I returned to the city centre and booked into my hotel room at the ibis at New Islington - one stop up from Piccadilly and a few yards from the hotel itself! In fact, looking out of my window, I could clearly see Piccadilly station in the distance.

A Room With A View by N7242C, on Flickr

Knowing that I would be up in the late/early hours of the day, I decided to have a small snooze. Once awakened and dressed in my standard railway travelling outfit, I made my way down to the station and had a cup of tea there before collecting my tickets for 2K20 2338 Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe which had 323231 in charge for the historic final departure. Flicking my tablet to camera mode, I was just about to take a picture of the rear blind when the guard got in the cabin and flicked it to the correct Crewe display.

323231 - Manchester Piccadilly by N7242C, on Flickr

I got talking to the guard and driver who both revealed they had purposely swapped jobs/duties so they could be the final train crew for the old franchise agreement. After mentioning that I had come to Manchester just for this service, the guard, called Jonathan, handed me his pen as a souvenir - for which I thank him. Seeing him get into the rear cab to do the announcements, I mentioned to him that I was going to record the announcement for historic purposes, he agreed to make a special mention of this and gave me an extra minute to get into the rear most carriage and set the tablet to record

[youtube]xOXHa-NeaZ8[/youtube]

Departure was spot on time and we set off for the final departure. To my surprise, Jonathan exited the cab and, apart from doing his essential duties of passenger safety and announcements, spent the time with me talking. Doing this, he said he was a member/lurker on this very website and mentioned seeing fowler's comment about his last train stinking of donner meat. After arrival, which was 30 seconds early, I went to the front to talk to the driver and Jonathan came up with me - along with a Virgin Trains dispatcher. Both members of the train crew then posed for a funny photograph

Train Crew Having Fun by N7242C, on Flickr

before the driver went to the other end to ready for departure. I had a quick look around Crewe, a station I suppose I can tick off my list now, before returning to the platform to speak to the VT guy and Jonathan who told the VT dispatcher that I was an enthusiast who had come over from Hull just to travel the last service which seemed to impress him. I took a few moments to talk to the driver who was waiting for the signal to go green before we got the off.

323231 - Crewe by N7242C, on Flickr

323231 - Waiting for Departure at Crewe by N7242C, on Flickr

Cleared For History by N7242C, on Flickr

And so we set off on 2A89 0044 Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly - with a single stop at Manchester Airport.

323231 - Manchester Airport by N7242C, on Flickr

Arrival of 2A89 at Manchester Piccadilly was 45 seconds early from the booked 0126 time. My first thought was to go to the outward facing side to take a picture which I got

The Final Stop - Manchester Piccadilly by N7242C, on Flickr

and also a video to show how empty the station was. (Note: In the video you will see a Japanese man moving out my view. They'd no real idea of the historic event, having come off a late night arrival at Manchester Airport, but they took photographs of 323231 anyway and filmed the empty stock working as it left the platform)

[youtube]6SU1NAub958[/youtube]

There was just enough time for the driver to take two snaps of me by the now leading cab of 323231

Me and 323231 by N7242C, on Flickr

Me and 323231 by N7242C, on Flickr

But, sadly, all good things must come to an end and the almighty and noble stallion that had been my ride left Manchester PIccadilly for the final time as a Northern Rail train on 5H89 0131 Manchester Piccadilly to Longsight Car. M.D.

[youtube]t0CsTEXitzk[/youtube]

After bidding goodbye and goodnight to the few remaining members of Northern Rail staff that stayed behind after their shifts had ended for a picture of the last train, I boarded a taxi and returned to my hotel tired, but happy and proud that at least one enthusiast, me, had turned out to bid Northern Rail a goodnight and goodbye. I end with one final picture...

A Tried Spotter by N7242C, on Flickr
 
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Blindtraveler

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I am very envyous of your little bash there, didnt realise that one is non stop crewe to airport, must be fun.

A nice touch that a driver amd guard who i assume are mates took the trouble to swap duties and make an enthusiast welcome.

RIP Northern rail
 

HMS Ark Royal

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I am very envyous of your little bash there, didnt realise that one is non stop crewe to airport, must be fun.

A nice touch that a driver amd guard who i assume are mates took the trouble to swap duties and make an enthusiast welcome.

RIP Northern rail

I assume they all know each other there, but the guard and driver both told me they'd swapped with another driver and guard so they could do the final run in and out.

Thank you for taking the time to read it, Blindtraveler
 

andyb2706

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Well kudos to you, I don't think I would have been up for such a late run back from Crewe.

Also it is not the first time I have heard of train crew swapping shifts for special trains. If I remember rightly the same thing happened with the last train on the Rochdale via Oldham line and as the train was leaving Manchester Victoria all other trains that were in the station at the time blew their horns.
 

fishquinn

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I really enjoyed the read and that shows mega dedication for you, going for that train!
 

HMS Ark Royal

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I really enjoyed the read and that shows mega dedication for you, going for that train!

Thank you, fishquinn... The members of staff I saw were very surprised that somebody had turned out just for the last departure and arrival. I have to admit that it was rather fun talking to the guard using the headcodes for trains - made some of the late night passengers very confused!

I have to admit that there was something very special in travelling on the last train - not just for the trip report, but for the historic moment
 

backontrack

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A great read! Did you tell Jonathan that you're HMS Ark Royal, and that you were doing a report?


And also that backontrack is a great guy who deserves to worshipped by all on RailUK? :P

P.S You misspelled 'commission' in the title. It has two Ss. ;)
 

HMS Ark Royal

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A great read! Did you tell Jonathan that you're HMS Ark Royal, and that you were doing a report?


And also that backontrack is a great guy who deserves to worshipped by all on RailUK? :P

P.S You misspelled 'commission' in the title. It has two Ss. ;)

Thank you, backontrack... I had great fun doing it - in fact, this was the first time i had stayed in a hotel... Yes, the moment he asked if I knew about "this web forum", I identified myself as HMS Ark Royal and he found the "Northern franchise awarded to Arriva." thread and then some of my comments there. He said he was a member of here, but had forgot his details so he might rejoin under a new name or something.
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10/10 for sartorial elegance. Stand aside Mr Portillo!

Thank you, eastwestdivide... Yes, Mr Portillo should stand aside for the Mighty Ark
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Well kudos to you, I don't think I would have been up for such a late run back from Crewe.

Also it is not the first time I have heard of train crew swapping shifts for special trains. If I remember rightly the same thing happened with the last train on the Rochdale via Oldham line and as the train was leaving Manchester Victoria all other trains that were in the station at the time blew their horns.

Yours has only just appeared... Many thanks for the kind words

I would not have bothered under normal circumstances, but it was the last run after all and it was important to history, in a small way, that somebody marked the occasion
 
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Techniquest

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I'd have loved to have been there, looks like you had a good time and met some excellent crew. I haven't yet watched your videos, I intend to when the time is available.

An excellent read from you, and not many cranks turn out dressed well. I've done it before myself but then that was for looking the part in First Class!
 

HMS Ark Royal

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I'd have loved to have been there, looks like you had a good time and met some excellent crew. I haven't yet watched your videos, I intend to when the time is available.

An excellent read from you, and not many cranks turn out dressed well. I've done it before myself but then that was for looking the part in First Class!

Thank you, Techniquest, for your kind words... As I said, there was some confusion as to why there were no other spotters on the service - still, I got a pen out of the deal, so woo hoo!

I don't normally turn out dressed like that, but its my standard "Grand Day Out" outfit - normally reserved for the Weekend Rangers (which I hope Northern 2 will continue) - but I though that the occasion of a last train qualified for the "Sunday clothes" as it were. Its actually a running joke between me and East Midlands Trains that I will, one day, turn up with a valid First Class ticket wearing painter's overalls and pink wellies.

Take your time watching the videos - you should at least find them interesting.
 

507021

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I enjoyed reading your report too, I wish I could have been there myself but unfortunately it wasn't possible, but at least I managed to get the last service into Liverpool Lime Street which was something. I still need 323231 myself, hopefully it won't be too long before I manage to get it.

Glad you got a memento of the occasion too, hats off to both the driver and the guard.
 

HMS Ark Royal

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I enjoyed reading your report too, I wish I could have been there myself but unfortunately it wasn't possible, but at least I managed to get the last service into Liverpool Lime Street which was something. I still need 323231 myself, hopefully it won't be too long before I manage to get it.

Glad you got a memento of the occasion too, hats off to both the driver and the guard.

Thank you, 507021 - most kind...

The memento was completely unexpected. Yeah, train crew were very kind and extremely friendly. During the turn round at Manchester Airport before the final run in to Man Picc, I cheekily asked the driver if I could cab the remaining distance - he actually thought about it for a good while before deciding it might be a risk if "management" were there on arrival. Shame - would have made a special night even better, but I understood his decision...

The only annoying part was, once again, I missed Techniquest by a matter of 48 hours
 

Techniquest

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Our time will come, don't worry! Kite has got me tempted to get up to your part of the world, following a discussion on shack scratching this morning. Mind you, me and my mate James were also talking about our next big trip...
 

RichmondCommu

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After returning, and an encounter with Metrolink RPIs who were greatly confused as to why a posh looking and well dressed guy had got off with two bags and a straw hat, I returned to the city centre and booked into my hotel room at the ibis at New Islington - one stop up from Piccadilly and a few yards from the hotel itself! In fact, looking out of my window, I could clearly see Piccadilly station in the distance.

You don't look "posh" to me so I wouldn't be too worried about your appearance :)
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Light, no

Clothes, yes

Its a habit from a dark period in my life and lets leave it at that

Anyway, what do you think, Richmond? I now do videos in my reports!

However if you go to sleep in your clothes you get too hot and end up with creases galore. Although obviously on the creases front that isn't an issue if you have a change of clothes for the following day :)
 

HMS Ark Royal

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You don't look "posh" to me so I wouldn't be too worried about your appearance :)

Cheeky bugger, ain't you?

My Wife is a v cold person and when im away or shes at her parents doesnt wear PJs but instead a pare of joggers and a sweatshirt so your not in the minoritty

Actually, the habit comes from wondering if my house would be burnt down in the middle of the night - long story that is not the point of this thread
 
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HMS Ark Royal

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Eh? I think you're getting the wrong end of the stick. You appeared to have hang up's over your appearance and I was simply offering reassurance that there was nothing to worry about. I don't think you look remotely "posh".

Not at all - lets just drop it now and see what others have to say
 

RichmondCommu

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Actually, the habit comes from wondering if my house would be burnt down in the middle of the night - long story that is not the point of this thread

Smoke alarms are an absolute must. And for crying out loud don't go to sleep with candles burning / don't smoke in bed. And that's before we get on to dodgy electrical appliances / dodging wiring which can turn a house into a death trap.
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Not at all - lets just drop it now and see what others have to say

Drop what; the stick?
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Appologies mate

Why, what have you done wrong?
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Appologies mate

Its okay, BT... What did you think to the videos in the trip report? Something I should do more often?

Smoke alarms are an absolute must. And for crying out loud don't go to sleep with candles burning / don't smoke in bed. And that's before we get on to dodgy electrical appliances / dodging wiring which can turn a house into a death trap.
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Drop what; the stick?

I know all about that... Now, lets try to get back on topic please
 

RichmondCommu

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I know all about that... Now, lets try to get back on topic please

Yes but if you did all the things that I suggested you would no longer need to sleep in your clothes. With all the worry (and leaving your light on) I'm surprised that you get any sleep at all. Herbal remedies might help you to get a good nights sleep.
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I know all about that... Now, lets try to get back on topic please

Sorry, what was the topic?
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Yes but if you did all the things that I suggested you would no longer need to sleep in your clothes. With all the worry (and leaving your light on) I'm surprised that you get any sleep at all. Herbal remedies might help you to get a good nights sleep.

Its not electrical causes

More of a human nature... And lets leave it at that

#

To get back on topic, do you think the addition of video to my reports is a good idea?
 

hassaanhc

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--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Yours has only just appeared... Many thanks for the kind words

I would not have bothered under normal circumstances, but it was the last run after all and it was important to history, in a small way, that somebody marked the occasion
Thank you, Techniquest, for your kind words... As I said, there was some confusion as to why there were no other spotters on the service - still, I got a pen out of the deal, so woo hoo!

I don't normally turn out dressed like that, but its my standard "Grand Day Out" outfit - normally reserved for the Weekend Rangers (which I hope Northern 2 will continue) - but I though that the occasion of a last train qualified for the "Sunday clothes" as it were. Its actually a running joke between me and East Midlands Trains that I will, one day, turn up with a valid First Class ticket wearing painter's overalls and pink wellies.

Take your time watching the videos - you should at least find them interesting.
It is a good addition to the "I was there for the first/last ..." :)

On 20 December 2015 I went on the first Kingston to London Waterloo via Hounslow service and return, which only ran because engineering work had been cancelled. The second tph for Hounslow Loop on Sundays was something that should have been introduced years ago, but it took until 2015 to happen and with a most unexpected service pattern!
 
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HMS Ark Royal

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It is a good addition to the "I was there for the first/last ..." :)

On 20 December 2015 I went on the first Kingston to London Waterloo via Hounslow service and return, which only ran because engineering work had been cancelled. The second tph for Hounslow Loop on Sundays was something that should have been introduced years ago, but it took until 2015 to happen and with a most unexpected service pattern!

Thank you, hassaanhc... What are your thoughts on including video? Is it something I should do more often?
 

Techniquest

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There we go, finally got to watch your videos! Couldn't watch them last night as I was on mobile data at the time, and I'm running low on my allowance, which is having to last until 20th April!

I'd forgotten how completely quiet Piccadilly is in the small hours of the morning. I did struggle to hear most of the announcement on the relevant video, but fair game to the conductor for making a different announcement.

As for the final video, I loved the noise of the Starship departing for Longsight. That noise is just epic and so much better than our ones on LM. It's as if Northern found a silencer on theirs and took it off :lol:

I think including videos where relevant is not a bad idea, the rarer events much more so. I rarely get a camera out these days for anything, although I did for the signal box and semaphores at Rainford on Monday.
 
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