On Saturday 30th March our party of eight set out by train for deepest Yorkshire. We expected to change trains at Bolton due to engineering works (a new footbridge at Salford Crescent). To our surprise – horror might be better word – we were told on approaching Wigan that our 142 Unit would be taken out of service there and a replacement train provided. As there was only a nine-minute connection at Bolton we thought our day would be in difficulty. The 142 was running low on fuel and the hose on Tesco’s pump was not long enough to reach! Or was Northern’s credit card maxed out? As we came to halt in the platform we were advised that our new train – unfortunately another 142 – was in front of us, already in the platform. Some good thinking. In all a two-minute delay and on time into Bolton. Good so far.

Our TransPennine Express turned out to be two three-car units, which was just as well as only one train at a time was being allowed through Salford Crescent (at 5 mph) and the platform was full of humanity. Our reserved seats in Coach B turned out to have been set out in Coach E, which mattered little as we were changing trains at Manchester Piccadilly. Then onwards to York for a pleasant trip in bright sunshine through upland Pennine hills with abundant snow traces, whilst we consumed various pasties, pies and crisps.

In Hilary’s absence we had not brought lunch, which meant that we had more time to enjoy what was probably the best exhibition (in my humble opinion) that York have put on. I plead that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The range/mix of layouts was first class. If any subjective criticism is due then there were too many traders, which gave the impression that some layouts on the first floor were being crowded out. The absence of lunch provided an opportunity for some of us to visit the National Railway Museum, prior to regrouping at York Station for our return direct to Liverpool South Parkway to connect with Merseyrail to Southport. Unfortunately yet again TPE had our seat reservations wrong. This time there were none at all anywhere on the train. So some travelled First Class and received coffee, etc. All in all it was a pretty good day. We will go again.