14/01 - London

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Mojo

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The day started out with me waking at 0540, despite falling asleep 5 hours and 10 mins before I actually managed to get out of bed on the first round of 'chimes' from my alarm clock. At 0610, I left the house and started to make my way to the bus stop, about a 4 minute walk. Although it's a short walk, being the first bus of the morning, and indeed, a First bus, I didn't want to risk it running early so I always leave 15 mins when going to catch an early, late or a sunday bus.

Despite the fact that this service is run under contract for Bristol City Council, it was actually quite busy, I've seen some buses on supposedly 'commercial' routes less full than this. It ran bang on time all the way, arriving at Temple Meads two minutes early, at 0650. It just goes to show that buses *can* be run more efficiently when they are regulated.

Having bought my tickets from Bristol Parkway the night before, I had a brisk walk up the drive and through the barriers onto platform 7, where my train, the 0700 was due to arrive. I moved up to the front of the platform after hearing it was a HST :(, as I was going to upgrade to Weekend First with some of my free vouchers that FGW gave me for buying an Open Return ticket about a year ago.

The coach was empty 'til Bath Spa where two people boarded, the journey remained pretty uneventful 'til just before the crossing at Ufton Nervet where the train slowed to under 40mph due to a single yellow signal. I decided to do about 5 mins of heads-out until the train sped up again, after which I returned to my seat.

It didn't seem long before the train was slowing down, passing Reading West and onto Reading, where we arrived three minutes before our scheduled departure time. We crawled between Southhall and Paddington due to the closure of the relief lines and actually arrived in Paddington at 0903 (National Rail said we were supposed to arrive at 0914, and the TM said 0905).

I walked down to the Tube to buy my Travelcard, where, surprisingly there was no queue for the ticket office, with all 3 windows open (1st time I've witessed the former). I was just paying for my Travelcard where Dan appeared out of nowhere and we decided to take the Heathrow Express (HEx) to T4 and back again, as Travelcards were being accepted due to the blockage on the Piccadilly Line.

After the HEx, we took the District Line to Earls Court, and then changed for another District Service to Wimbledon, where we walked across the station to travel on the wonder that is the Croydon Tramlink. The smooth acceleration, the driver's eye view and the brilliant information did it for me, more than a bus could ever provide, it's a shame there are not more tram systems being constructed across the country, the government seeming to favour the cheap option of buses, despite the fact that they will never entice many drivers off the roads like a heavy or light rail/tram system will. We disembarked the tram outside East Croydon railway station.



From here, we took probably the most ugly train on the network, a 456, number 004 around some convoluted route due to a bridge bash somewhere, to London Bridge.



From London Bridge, we took the Northern Line to Bank, where we changed to the DLR to travel on the new line to City Airport and King George V. Past Canning Town, the route wasn't too popular, it seemed, only five people (including ourselves) were on the train, with nobody boarding at any of the stations enroute.



Looking toward City Airport at King George V.

Interior of refurb'd DLR car.




From King George V, we walked across to Woolwich North station, the next train being over 20 mins away, we decided to go and check out the local bus network, as that didn't seem to be of much use, we walked along the foot tunnel (never again), followed by Dan's grumbling of my phobia of lifts, meaning we had to take the stairs. We walked a bit more 'til we found Woolwich Arsenal station, catching a 376 to London Bridge.


376031 at London Bridge

Part 2 coming later....
 
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jd

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Mojo said:
I was just paying for my Travelcard where Dan appeared out of nowhere...
I didn't appear out of nowhere, I appeared off the Circle actually. And I was *supposed* to meet you off your HST, but you very, ahem, inconsiderately told me the wrong arrival time. ;)

Mojo said:
From King George V, we walked across to Woolwich North station...
Yes, just about realising about 20 seconds before the DLR train left that we were supposed to be taking the NLL back, NOT the DLR!

Mojo said:
...we walked along the foot tunnel (never again)...
Eurgh, disgusting thing. And it was rather disconcerting to see a wallet, emptied of all but mobile phone top-up cards, thrown on the ground as we emerged at the other end. As for the lift, I don't think I'd personally have taken that lift either, it looked about 20 years old!
 

RJ

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That bridge bash was at Crystal Palace. An ECS 455 was caught up in it. Did you see the Turbostar approaching East Croydon when you were on the 455? I think that 456s are a close second for the ugly contest after the DBSO. And we get to travel free on trams, even to Wimbledon :D.
 

Mojo

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Yeah, saw a 171 by East Croydon, as well as one heading into London Bridge, at the same time as us.
 

RJ

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Thought you would have, as it leave London Bridge 4 minutes after that 375, but doesn't stop at Norwood Junction. As for the buses, you won't find anything to get you across the river in that area. Did you see any of those weird low floor 101s? There is also the 474 which runs adjacent to most of the DLR from Canning Town to King George + Beckton. You could have taken the ferry :D.
 

Mojo

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Nah, we didn't actually want to cross the river, just wanted to make any old journey really :lol:, just so happenned Dan suggested it, and I wondered if it was the thing I'd seen photos of... and it was :P
 

Dave A

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I used to feel the same way about all the foot tunnels in London, but a few weeks ago I experienced the only one I've ever been happy to walk through. Its located at Hendon Central and its clean and very well lit, its so good that I go through it 5 days a week! :mrgreen:

Gotta love the Croydon Tramlink!

Look forward to reading the other part, so hurry up and write it :P <D ;)
 

Techniquest

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Interesting day out so far it seems.

I've done the staircases of the Woolwich Passenger Tunnel, I didn't know there were lifts...Much like at Russell Square once, I didn't see the lifts, so took the stairs. They go on forever...At least I know I can challenge the staircase of Hereford Cathedral now! Only 125 steps more than that staircase at Russell Square!

Some good photography there. I'm surprised you used a crying emoticon for the fact it was a HST. Can't see why a 180 would be on it TBH. Besides, 180s might not be cleared for Westbury East Curve, which you would have used.
 

joy54.gen

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I found out that the Bridge Bash was involving a train, car and bus and was apparently the same bridge as last time. Fortunatley it was fixed quicker than last time and when I got the train home everything was fine from the mornings problems.
 

Mojo

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Good job it's tightly regulated by TfL too, staff look as miserable as their colleagues on the buses though :P
 

Techniquest

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I've had happy drivers with First buses before now. I've had the pleasure of having an enthusiast driver who was reading RAIL before the next journey on the 81 Kingsway to SHIE Campus, Townhill. Was nice to have a sensible discussion on the way up to the campus!
 

Mojo

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More pics


Guess where I am :P (If you can tell from the blurryness!)


Southgate escalators

 
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