West Yorkshire Day Ranger – Bradford, Halifax, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge

There’s a handy rail rover ticket called the West Yorkshire Train DaySaver which costs £8.30 for the day and allows travel in Zones 1 to 5 of the above map, which is the area covered by West Yorkshire. On weekends, the ticket can be used at any time, but on weekdays it can only be used after 09:30 and not between 16:00 and 18:30. Nonetheless, it seemed a way of seeing a few towns in the area.

Waiting for my first train at Bradford Interchange, which is also the railway station where I purchased my ticket from. I think that the tickets have to be purchased from the ticket office, or from guards on board when there isn’t a ticket office.

Most of the services were run by Northern, although they’re also valid on East Midlands Railway, LNER, TransPennine Express and CrossCountry in the area.

My first visit of the day was to Halifax, not somewhere that I’ve been before.

This is the town’s new library, merging together a church and a more modern construction. Obviously this brilliant new library which has come at vast expense was shut for the day. £9 million this cost and it’s not open on some weekdays. Apparently they’re planning to improve opening times soon, which would be rather useful…..

The town’s Minster, which was shut.

Wetherspoons was open, so I popped in there.

There we go, a quick half pint of the Chapter 4 – 24 Carrot from Fuggle Bunny brewery, perfectly acceptable…. Unfortunately, there was a limited opening of any decent pubs in town until later on during the day, leaving me opportunity to visit the other Wetherspoons in the town, the Barum Top Inn.

I didn’t expect anything like this when I walked through the gates, the enormously impressive Piece Hall, the sole surviving cloth hall in the north of the country. It opened in 1779 when there were 315 separate rooms for smaller traders to sell their wares. It has recently been restored and the nineteenth century sheds shoved in the middle have all been removed.

One of the gates into the Piece Hall.

Then onto the train to the Richard Oastler pub in Brighouse which is located in a former Methodist chapel.

And lunch in that pub, from JD Wetherspoon’s new chicken menu that is still just in trial pubs, but is being launched nationally from next week. As an aside, that means they’re bringing back half chickens, which they ditched a few years ago.

The delights of Brighouse.

And another train, this time taking me to Sowerby Bridge.

A nicely looked after station, with plenty of history boards as well.

I visited a few pubs here, the Hogs Head, the Commercial Inn and the Hollins Mill.

I had to stay in Sowerby Bridge until 18:30 due to the restrictions on the train ticket, by which time it was starting to get dark. I’m not sure why I wrote that last bit, it’s self-evident from the photo. But there we go….

I had a quick visit to Vocation’s pub.

Then waiting for the train back to Bradford, although I stopped off at Halifax to visit the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe. This was my favourite train journey of the day as a customer complained that the toilet was still occupied. The guard stood outside the toilet looking annoyed, banging on the door loudly saying “there are other customers who need to use the facility, finish up quickly and get out please”. I love the direct approach that was suitably passive aggressive. An embarrassed young woman emerged a couple of minutes later, much to the relief of other waiting passengers. This is a tricky situation though, it might be that there was a hidden disability and the lady needed the time, but it did present some drama for me between Hebden Bridge and Halifax.

Anyway, I thought that the ticket was good value for money and it let me see a few towns that I might not otherwise have done so. The ticket was a bit restrictive that it couldn’t be used in the evening rush hour, but I didn’t have any issues with using it. Northern seem to have very regular ticket checks, so I must have shown my ticket around ten times during the time, but it’s good to be on top of that I guess. All of the trains I boarded were relatively quiet, so this is a good way of selling what would otherwise be empty inventory. Other than for a very short delays, everything ran to schedule as well and I was back into Bradford before the trains stopped running….