The Anonymous Widower

800009 – John Charles

On my way to Wales on Tuesday, I travelled in the Class 800 train, that is numbered 800009 and named after the great Welsh footballer; John Charles at one end.

I actually saw him play for Leeds in a match against Spurs at White Hart Lane. Leeds played in a blue kit in those days and I am fairly sure John Charles played up front.

I suspect, it likely, that it must have been the  1956-57 season as it would be the only season where Leeds were in the First Division, before John Charles left in 1957 to go to Juventus.

I wonder how many people, who saw John Charles play, have actually ridden in the train named after him?

It was good to see that Great Western Railway have also put his Italian nickname; Il Gigante Buono on the train.


June 11, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Elland Road Stadium Ever Get a Railway Station?

The traffic getting to Elland Road for the match between Leeds United and Ipswich Town was horrendous. But then the crowd was over 34,000!

You can see Elland Road stadium as you come into Leeds on the trains from London, and this Google Map shows the relation between the rail line and the stadium.

My friend actually parked her car alongside the rail line and we walked to the ground along Elland Road.

I took these pictures from where we parked.

Development is happening between the railway and the stadium including a new ice rink.

So will a new station be built on this line, if Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League?

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Plans For Three New Leeds Railway Stations Unveiled. It says that a new station at theWhite Rose Shopping Centre could be built.

This Google Map shows Elland Road Stadium and the White Rose Shopping Centre and the two rail lines in the area.


  1. The line through Cottingley station is the Huddersfield Line.
  2. Cottingley station is currently the nearest station to Elland Road Stadium.
  3. The Huddersfield Line passes alongside the White Rose Shopping Centre.
  4. The Huddersfield Line is not electrified.

After the traffic, I saw at the match, something needs to be done.

TransPennine Improvements

The Huddersfield Line will be improved to form part of a strategy for 125 mph trains across the Pennines.

The map from Wikipedia shows the lines between Leeds and Batley stations, that go through Cottingley.


  1. The White Rose Centre is probably near the closed Churwell station.
  2. The four kilometre long Morley Tunnel, which if it is in good condition could be reasonably easy to electrify.
  3. After Batley the route diverges and serves nemerous towns in the area like Bradford, Brighouse, Halifax and Huddersfield.

There is surely scope for a comprehensive and frquent service to the West of Leeds.

A Digitally-Signalled Trans-Pennine Route

The complexity of the routes around Leeds must be a nightmare to operate.

In this article on Rail Technology Magazine, which is entitled Grayling Commits £5m To Install Digital Signalling On TransPennine Route, the Transport Minister advocates the use of digital signalling to increase capacity and stability on the line.

Having waited at Leeds station to get a train to Guiseley, operation of the suburban routes in Leeds seems to be incredibly complicated and I suspect difficult for both passengers and the operators.

The Ordsall Chord will give Manchester a cross-city route, so could digital signalling open up an East-West route across Leeds and thread it through all the long distance services serving Leeds?

New stations at Apperley Bridge, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds-Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and White Rose Shopping Centre would all fit this pattern and I believe digital signalling could be the key to making it work, with four trains per hour to each terminus.

More Suburban Electrification In Leeds

In some ways the most important stretch of electrification needed in Leeds would be the route from Neville Hill depot to York, as this would add the following.

  • Ease movements of trains between York and the depot.
  • Improve the performance of services between Liverpool and Newcastle via Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.
  • Allow electric services from Thorpe Park to destinations on the other side of the city.

There must be an exceedingly good reason, why this route has not been electrified.


Leeds could expand the Metro dramatically by doing the following.

  • Running services through two through platforms in Leeds station.
  • Building several new stations.
  • Electrifying between Neville Hill depot and York.
  • Using digital signalling.
  • Obtaining some bi-mode trains. Even Class 769 trains would do the job.

The network of lines around Leeds could give Leeds a Metro of a very high standard, at a very affordable cost.

September 23, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Match Thirty-Five – Leeds 2 – Ipswich 1

This was a disappointing match played in a cold Leeds.

Match Thirty-Five - Leeds 2 - Ipswich 1

Match Thirty-Five – Leeds 2 – Ipswich 1

It also flagged up, Ipswich’s lack of a regular penalty taker, owing to the injury to David McGoldrick. I think Daryl Murphy was a reluctant recruit and he muffed it.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Match Twenty – Ipswich 4 – Leeds 1

On the 19th November 1966, when I was a student at Liverpool University, Liverpool beat Leeds United at Anfield by five goals to nil.

A friend of mine;Ian Brown, had gone and was euphoric when he came home. Not only Ian, but the whole red half of the city was on cloud nine. Even nearly fifty years ago, most fans relished their team beating Leeds.

Today, on the train up to Ipswich, several Leeds fans were optimistic of a win, especially if the team kept up their good form of late.

But after scoring a very early goal, Leeds faded and got well beaten 4-1.

The 1960s match at Liverpool and the one at Ipswich today, illustrate one of the big changes in football in that fifty years. Ian had wanted to go to the biggest match of the day and he just turned up and bought a ticket, something I did many times before the 1980s.



December 6, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

A Stupid Football Supporter

Is this message for the most stupid and bone-headed football supporter, who happened to be at Leeds United on Tuesday night?

He had parked his Chevroler Spark, LT12 FNE, in the wrong place and despite umpteen public address calls to move it, he obviously ignored them, as they put this message on the big screen.

A Stupid Football Supporter

A Stupid Football Supporter

The message stayed there for quite a time, so draw your own conclusions.

The fact that Leeds United could program the screen like this, is impressive.  I wouldn’t have been so polite.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Leeds Under Warnock Haven’t Changed

Ask any reasonable football fan to give their list of clubs, that they don’t like and Leeds United will generally be in there. Ask about managers to Ipswich fans and Neil Warnock, will certainly be on the list of those they think don’t behave correctly.

So on Saturday Leeds started playing in a way that wouldn’t win many friends amongst neutral fans. Eventually, Jay Tabb was unfairly clattered by Tom Lees and sent off.  The picture shows the aftermath.

Leeds Under Warnock Haven't Changed

Leeds Under Warnock Haven’t Changed

The sending off probably led to Ipswich winning three-nil, but you wouldn’t think that Ipswich should have won according to this from  Warnock. This excerpt shows he was at a different game.

It’s a crazy day and I can’t believe we haven’t won.

We were dominating. I’ve never been to Ipswich and dominated as much as that in my life. If I was (Ipswich boss) Mick (McCarthy) I’d fill in a lottery ticket tonight.

After all, the skill of good management is to make sure that those working for you, act in a way to maximise your skills and resources.

Warnock didn’t do that, but just seems to get his players to irritate everybody with their tactics.

In the end, Ipswich fans went home, feeling very pleased that the defeat had been inflicted on some of their most disliked rivals.

Although, we weren’t pleased with the snow that was falling. But perhaps it cooled Warnock’s anger!

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Ipswich Beat Ten Man Leeds 2-1

They probably didn’t deserve it, but then Andy D’Urso did his best to make things difficult for Town until he rightly sent off Aidy White. Although, according to this report in The Telegraph, Simon Grayson, the Leeds United manager felt it harsh.

D’Urso is from Billericay in Essex, so should he officiating at a match in Suffolk?

On the other hand Leeds seem to be getting into practice to compete at the Olympics next year! In the diving!

August 28, 2011 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

It’s only the Result that Really Counts!

I think most Town fans went home happy with a two-one victory.  The Leeds fans certainly weren’t and were complaining about the ref and especially his sending off of Alex Bruce. But he was being roasted by Andros Townshend, so it would have happened in the end.

If I had anything to complain about, it was the overcrowded train, that took me back to Newmarket.  We need bigger and better ones!

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

The Damned United

In common with many other men of my age, I am not a fan of Leeds United or the Damned United as they were called in David Peace‘s novel, The Damned Utd about Brian Clough. The reason we don’t like Leeds goes all the way back to the 1960s and the infamous Don Revie side.

So it was with trepidation, that I took the train to Ipswich this morning to see Town play this afternoon.  They haven’t been playing too well lately and I felt that a draw was the best we could hope for.

I also went early and this gave me three hours in the town before the match.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment