|Network Rail's New Measurement Train at Crewe|
|Royal Mail 325001 on way to Willesden Mail Terminal|
A spare loco is kept at various locations on the West Coast line ready to rescue failed trains to get the line unblocked asap. Known as Thunderbirds 57302 was at Crewe, thankfully not needed.
|57302 ready for Thunderbird duties if needed.|
|A pair of East Midlands Trains 153's on the Crewe - Derby service|
|Arriva Trains Wales Class 175|
After a rather nice tea it was time to continue my journey north to Carlisle, and another first for me. I have never been on a Class 390 Pendolino before, and was interested to see how they measured up against other high speed trains.
|My first Pendolino awaits at Crewe|
Carlisle station is undergoing a big roof renewal at present and it's surprising there is any scaffolding left for the rest of the country. This means navigating around the station is pretty difficult. I was advised to find the night Team Leader to tell him I was going to be on the station all night and he couldn't have been friendlier. Just asked me to observe the usual protocols but apart from that I could do what and go where I liked. He did advise me, though that the toilets were shut until morning, so I ventured to a local hostelry to use the loo and stock up on water for the night as it was still extremely hot and humid - which has got to be rare for Carlisle at 11pm.
I'll be posting the videos I took at Carlisle at the end of the final part, but suffice it to say I saw far more Class 90's than 66's, realised just how loud for electric loco's Class 92's are, and 37's look great at night. However for now I'm going to concentrate on Carlisle station. This will not be the last time I go there. It's an incredible place, with so much to look at apart from the trains. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have of the exhibitions on the platforms for the Setttle & Carlisle line, and the Cumbrian Coast line. Timetables and attraction leaflets were ubiquitous in their availability, and I cannot wait to return when the scaffolding has gone and the station is back to what must be a stunning building. However, something I have never seen at a station before was awaiting me, and it couldn't have been more welcome. Carlisle station has padded seats on the platforms, which when you are about to embark on an all nighter is an absolute Godsend.
|Padded seating at Carlisle|
Around 2am after the first London bound sleeper had gone a member of station staff (Darryl) came up and asked if I was ok. By this point the old bladder was starting to complain so he pointed to the train currently being cleaned and told me to use the loo on that. Excellent. An hour later he was back, and told me they had unlocked the Gents loos for me if I needed them, or to have a wash and brush up. He asked me what I was doing next, and I told him I was getting the 0515 round the Cunbrian coast but was a little concerned where I could charge my phone up as the Mk II's don't have power points. Darryl told me to follow him, and promptly unlocked the waiting room which had power points in it. What a nice guy, and what a contrast to the Euston experience. And what a waiting room! Is there a more magnificent fireplace anywhere in the country in a station waiting room?
|Carlisle waiting room|
|The other end of the waiting room|
|The gents at Carlisle|
In Part Three the journey continues with the best part of 8 hours behind a 37, and my first trip on the Settle & Carlisle line.