Bit of a ramble.
Today really is the end of an era as the very last Virgin trains complete their last journeys. This was Glasgow Central at 13:15 when a friend from Warrington arrived on a quick day trip to visit an elderly relative. As I stood there, and snapped a couple of quick photos, I felt surprisingly emotional.
I am not a fan of Richard Branson, but Virgin trains have carried me on many significant journeys, especially the 05:40 ex GLC, as I travelled to Northampton via Euston at least monthly for a few years.
The jokes about the availability of porridge. The times I ran along Euston Road to make connections. The wondering if the delay en route to Glasgow would mean missing the last train out to home.
The journeys to Northampton General Hospital, to clear Mum's flat, to visit her in the care home, to arrange her funeral, to conduct her funeral, to bury her ashes... a lot of hugely significant memories, and important thoughts processed, a lot of tea drunk, a fair few cheese toasties... all on the distinctive red trains
And work trips, of course, on the 05:49 to Birmingham, a quick change and then a quick trot up Wealy Park Road to the BMS college for meetings, or at various times to Preston or Lancaster for meetings.
There have been holiday trips and catch-ups with friends. There have been carefully planned trips and unplanned mercy dashes.
Of course the trains will still be there, and I will still use them in their new ownership, it just feels strangely significant that this franchise, which has existed for 22 years, is now ended.