Leeds to Manchester on a new look TransPennine Express train

Tuesday 20th February 2018

Guest Blog by Jo Blythe, ITV Granada/Border Weather Presenter

Brrrrr...A chilly early Winter morning in Leeds sees me wrapped up against the elements, coffee in gloved hand, on Leeds railway station platform. Gorgeous rays of sunshine filter through onto myself and the heads of other passengers as we hop on board the TransPennine Express train bound for Manchester. For many, their mission is business. Luckily for me, today my business is pleasure (well, essential shopping in one of the UK’s finest cities is a serious thing!)

Jo Blythe travelling between Leeds and Manchester on the train

Settling down in my comfortable seat in the newly refurbished 185 train carriage, I smile a contented smile. I’m warm and I have snacks (what more does a girl need?). The new colour scheme on board is a relaxing blue and grey combination. There’s certainly a more contemporary feel to the carriages; from the smart leather headrests to the carpets and curtains (nearly all produced and manufactured by companies based up north) - not to mention plenty of sockets for a plethora of gadgetry. This is just as well as I have emails to catch up on and a few last minute gifts searches (thank you free on board Wi-Fi!)

Exstream on iPad

As I watch the Pennines roll past outside and we speed towards the city I have time for a spot of cloud watching before the urge to catch up on last night’s television takes over. Onboard entertainment comes courtesy of Exstream, quickly and easily accessed via the TPExpress app. All the latest ITV, hayu, HBO and NOW TV shows are available to watch in addition to hundreds of box sets, films and documentaries. Although it’s a solo trip for me today I note there are lots of my son’s favourite children’s shows for him to watch next time we take the train to visit MSI. There are also all the latest magazines to read online. I’m still poring through ‘Woman and Home’ as we glide into Piccadilly.

Jo Blythe on TransPennine Express train

A few hours later; feet tired from shopping, lunch consumed and latte quaffed I’m only too glad to nestle back into the warmth of the 185. The onboard colleagues are welcoming and efficient and we depart promptly. There’s room for all my bags as well as the apparent mobile office the man seated opposite has laid out on our table. He busily taps away at his various devices and I, businesslike to the extreme, dive into another installment of Mariah’s World on Exstream. Smoothly we sweep back up over the Pennines into Yorkshire and I think to myself: It certainly is nice to let the train take the strain.

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