A Trip Around London 30/06/12

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TheJRB

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My grandfather and I arrived at Ashford at about 07:50 to buy our tickets for the day; 1 adult and 1 child with Family and Friends railcard Zones 1-6 Travelcard plus High Speed totalling £29. If that isn’t good value, I don’t know what is!

Following the departure of the 08:03 to Ramsgate, one of the few trains to start at Ashford in that direction, it was only another eight minutes until 395025 arrived at platform 5 for the 08:13 to St Pancras. This train was quite busy for this time of the morning on a Saturday but we easily got table seats.

Following the usual run on HS1 with the only notable event being the rain at Stratford, we pulled in to a sunny St Pancras and made our way through the barriers.

The next part of our journey on the Circle line was quite a distance from the Southeastern platforms (in fact probably one of the longest walks you can do in the King’s Cross St Pancras complex) but I was aware of this beforehand thankfully. Fourteen minutes it took, all in all, from leaving 395025 to departing KXSP on C69 stock 5605. It’s easy to see why the C stock is being replaced now, but they’re still in reasonably good shape after over forty years of service.

Jumping off at Paddington at 09:16, we followed the signs and went up through what I believe to be the new entrance at Paddington (Suburban) station, across a walkway and down some steps to platform 8. We spent half an hour down the end of the platform, snapping photos and grabbing numbers. What shocked me the most was observing Reading bound trains formed of five carriages departing the suburban platforms completely full with people standing in the doorways. Had I been shown a photo, I would happily have believed it was a weekday peak, not a Saturday morning.


After we had spent enough time there, we walked over to the West Cornish Pasty Company for coffees and a sit down to work out our next destination. We wanted to see the contents of Acton Yard and Old Oak Common but I advised against Acton Main Line as the service is quite limited in comparison to Ealing Broadway.

So it was Ealing we settled on and we found a seat on 360202 forming the 10:33 to Heathrow. The Crossrail work at Royal Oak has advanced considerably since our last look in December and the amount of waste being dumped onto wagons topped and tailed by GBRf 66702 and 66708 was incredible. Old Oak Common was busy as usual with the normal variety of 166s, 165s, HSTs and 332s as well as a 57 (I believe 57602), a 180 and a 360 too. We were going too fast to get a proper look at any of it though. A couple of 66s and two 59s were present at Acton Yard.

During our time at Ealing, we saw a few HSTs and 332s on the fast lines and a number of Turbos and 360s on the slow lines. A passing 332 caused an empty plastic bottle to shoot up in the air from platform 2 and land at the very edge of platform 3 and almost in to the path of a Greenford bound 165. That should be a good lesson to those standing too close to the platform edge!

Having seen how busy and overcrowded the 165/166s were, we decided to use Heathrow Connect for our return journey to Paddington. 360203 arrived and once again we easily found a seat (though this one was busier than the previous one). My grandfather and I both agree that the 360s are great units and certainly more pleasant than a 165!

Back at Paddington, we had to walk back on ourselves due to the far out location of the new ticket barriers which were causing a bit of congestion. For our next journey, we required the Praed Street Paddington station on the Circle and District lines. This proved to be quite a walk which wasn’t aided by my misinterpreting one sign which led to the Circle line (they should really make it clearer when there are two Circle line stations!) and so we moved through one ticket barrier more than necessary.

C69 stock units 5597 and 5598 formed our train from Paddington to Blackfriars. Confusingly, the announcements were incorrect from when we joined to High Street Kensington. Clearly the wrong route had been set, because although this train’s ultimate destination was Hammersmith, it was via Victoria, not Shepherds Bush. “This is Royal Oak” being announced at Bayswater caused a few people to check which station they actually were at.

By the time we arrived at Blackfriars, our carriage was quite quiet as the station itself was. The refurbishment of the Underground station has been completed to a very high standard and is a bright and pleasant place. Upstairs is still, in many ways, a construction site with scaffolding obscuring most sights. My grandfather was pleased to see that the wall with destinations such as Crystal Palace and Calais, Ashford and Antwerp and Bickley and Berlin paired is still intact and on display. The platforms are long because of course, whilst it is not obvious due to the lack of view, it spans the Thames. 465001 arrived and departed the bay platform on a Sevenoaks via Catford service. It wasn’t a long wait then until 319365 in full multi coloured Thameslink advertising livery appeared to form the 12:16 to Sutton via Wimbledon, our next journey.


We wound our way across lines I have previously travelled on at Herne Hill and Tulse Hill before taking the route via Streatham and Tooting to Wimbledon, where we alighted. Immediately, we spotted a 66 tucked away in a siding to the north of the station. I quickly worked out that it was 66850, the very locomotive I saw at Ashford Newtown sidings the previous Wednesday. As the working it was planned to be utilised on had been cancelled, it was now being used for an alternative duty. Announcements were made deterring members of the public from viewing the tennis without already having tickets as there had been people queuing for two hours.

Following a check of the boards upstairs, we awaited our next train on platform 8. During our time there, 66850 powered through the platform with a short load of wagons leaving quite a strong smell in its wake.


455710 trundled in to platform 8 on the 13:13 service advertised as Richmond via Kingston (but was of course actually a Waterloo loop service). A couple of items of interest on this journey; the depot at Strawberry Hill and the grade-separated junction at Twickenham. There is quite a bit of variety at Richmond with a total of five types of train (378, 450, 455, 458 and D78).

Around half an hour later at 14:15, we boarded another train and another new class to me, an eight carriage class 458 (011+021) formation. It was a quick journey to Waterloo with only a single call at Clapham Junction, although we did stop briefly just to the London side of Clapham. A good view of the old disused international side of Waterloo was provided on approach to platform 19, which as we said at the time, seems quite a waste.

It was time for another coffee now and Starbucks was to be the next venue. We found seats upstairs which happened to be much quieter than below and we had quite a good view across the concourse. We were both quite tired now and we didn’t want to be out for too much longer and as such formulated our plan for the final part of the day.

Across to Waterloo East and on to 465190 tailing 465017 on the 15:20 to Hayes we went. It was the usual crawl through the many junctions to London Bridge where we arrived a minute late. Finding ourselves on platform 4, we decided that after a short while there, we would board the next Thameslink service back to St Pancras. Compared to our last proper visit to this station last September, the amount of Southeastern stock now in blue livery instead of ex-SET yellow is impressive considering the relatively short space of time.

At platform 6 we arrived in ample time for the slightly delayed 15:45 to Bedford formed of FCC units 319423 and 319373. Passing through King’s Cross Thameslink, I noticed a sign informing passengers about changes “from December 2007”. It was then around the tight curve to St Pancras International Low Level which causes so much screeching it almost hurts your ears!

A brief stop there and then upstairs we went where I ventured to see what was occupying the East Midlands Trains platforms returning to the Southeastern platforms. Here an announcement informed all of a platform alteration which would mean our train was on platform 12, not 13. Down we went to find that the all the doors were locked which was a surprise. Then a manual announcement was made correcting the platform alteration and telling us that we did in fact require the train at platform 13. So back around we went again! 395029 provided the 16:42 back home and arrival at Ashford was on time at 17:20.

Another good day with a lot of new routes covered and two new classes travelled on. Aside from 395029, all trains travelled on were new to me as well! Photos from the day are here with videos here.
 
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Techniquest

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Fantastic day out by the looks of it, and I like the idea of putting a selection of photos in to break up the text, makes it more interesting. Shall have to do that myself I think from now on. *Rushes to Flickr to start uploading my 2012 ALR photos*

Personally, I'd have got myself to Costa for coffee at Paddington. But then I'm biased as I have my Costa Coffee Card to collect points on. Otherwise it's always Pumpkin or Upper Cost at a last resort. Starbucks is avoided at all costs personally! Never would have believed that about 5-car Turbos being rammed full either, something must have been going on for that to be the case.

Thanks for sharing!
 

TheJRB

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Personally, I'd have got myself to Costa for coffee at Paddington. But then I'm biased as I have my Costa Coffee Card to collect points on. Otherwise it's always Pumpkin or Upper Cost at a last resort. Starbucks is avoided at all costs personally!

I had my Bite card too but a) completely forgot I had it and b) it wouldn't even have been valid at Starbucks. I really must remember I have that thing more often and where I can use it!

Never would have believed that about 5-car Turbos being rammed full either, something must have been going on for that to be the case.

I was surprised too. One was for Reading and the other Oxford. The driver had difficulty closing one set of doors because of how many people had crammed in by one doorway at Ealing. Crazy!
 

jnjkerbin

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Great report, JRB.
It gives me some ideas of what I might do next time I have the chance.
I hope you enjoyed yourself!
Joe:)
 

Techniquest

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I dunno how you'd survive an ALR then with 0500 risings and gone midnight getting to bed! <D

*Considering now not doing Australia in 2013 and doing another ALR :D<D *
 

heart-of-wessex

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Good report!

Can't even see what was going on to make it busy, maybe all the weekday workers are on Saturday overtime :lol:!

Indeed 360/2s aren't bad at all, though I don't really like the seats on Turbos I would prefer a 156/166 for the racket!

As for the ticket barriers at Paddington, where did you get off at? In theory you should only need to go through one set unless you take some rather long detour?

As for the curve near St Pancras being loud, it's not quite that loud when you've been over Barry Curve on a pacer!
 

TheJRB

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I dunno how you'd survive an ALR then with 0500 risings and gone midnight getting to bed! <D
Well I only had a couple of hours sleep the night before this occasion, such is my erratic sleep pattern!

Good report!
Thanks. :)

As for the ticket barriers at Paddington, where did you get off at? In theory you should only need to go through one set unless you take some rather long detour?

We got off at platform 12. The new ticket barriers for this suburban part of the station have made it awkward if you are in the front two carriages of a train that arrives at platform 12 and you have to walk up the platform a bit to get out. After that we followed signs for the Circle and District lines and went down one set of steps and through a corridor. This is where the confusion set in for me. All I saw was ticket barriers on the right, not the path to the left which leads to the Praed Street station. So we went through them, I realised we had made a mistake and we went back through again!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Indeed 360/2s aren't bad at all, though I don't really like the seats on Turbos I would prefer a 156/166 for the racket!
It never ceases to amaze me how loud the Turbos are, especially seeing as I'm used to the Turbostars (which I thought were loud when I first stood next to one!). I remember being shocked the first time I saw a 165 at Redhill because of how loud it was when it departed.
 

heart-of-wessex

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Ah yes Platform 12 'the Connect platform' as I call it :p. As you said corridor, I know the exit you mean now sorry, I forgot about that :oops:

yes, turbo's are loud, especially under the canopy at Paddington! Turbostars are a bit quieter as you say, but until the cooling fan comes switches on!
 
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