All Line Rover 2016 report

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James Wake

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All Line Rover Report March 2016
Day 1: Sunday 13th March

It was finally time again for another ALR. Once again not everything went to plan, but it was probably my best yet, but my favourite journey was the Skye Circular on my first ALR.

Starting from Three Bridges again, my first train was dud 387114 to St Pancras International, which was as usual for GTR late, but I had plenty of time. At St Pancras I walked to Euston via Brill Place for my Virgin Train to Crewe. My check of OpenTrainTimes showed 1S37, the 0845 to Glasgow as standing on platform 12. At the top of the ramp at platform 12 a Pendolino was in, but I waited for it to be advertised. It was at about 0830 so I joined winner 390107 up to Crewe, a speedy journey once the London Midland 350 had got out of the way.

At Crewe, I saw the 390 depart for Glasgow and watched two ATW class 150s detach, one for the Chester shuttle, the other seemed to be the ECS for my Heart of Wales line train. However I headed back to platform 6 to join winner and first ATW 175 175111 to Shrewsbury, a really nice guard and a quick journey later I alighted at Shrewsbury platform 7.

I was right with my 150 hope, as winner 150262 (luckily not my only ATW 150231) rolled in from Crewe with a guard onboard too, so not sure why it can't run with passengers. I loved the Heart of Wales line, and a 15 minute fresh air stop at Llandrindod was very useful. I changed ends at Llanelli for the last leg into Swansea, where I alighted on time at 1603.
Then a ride on a HST to Cardiff Central for the night was on the cards, I saw the green set coming round the corner, but sadly it was on a depot run as 43193 and 092 came in from Carmarthen, standard leading out of Swansea (as it would reverse at Swindon due to works), a nice ride in seat A73 by the Train Manager's office and off at Cardiff Central. Walking to my hotel and to get something to eat, I watched the HST leave from the street. Day 1 successfully completed.
 
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fishquinn

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Sounds like it was an excellent first day! I'm really looking forward to the rest!
 

James Wake

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Day 2: Monday 14th March

After a technological malfunction the night before with a phone charger I bought, thanks to the Travelodge for helping me charge my phone with a spare one they had, I was ready to continue. I headed back to Cardiff Central to board the 0834 for Ebbw Vale, inbound from Bridgend. I was expecting a 150, but winner and first ATW 158835 rounded the bend. Virtually the whole train left at Cardiff, must have been 90 seconds before I was able to board to head for Ebbw Vale. A nice line, not the most scenic but a comfortable 2 hour round trip on the 158, alighting back at Cardiff Central at 1035.

I then had a ten minute wait before my train to Penarth, formed of my first Pacers, 143605 and 624, a nice ride actually, seeing as I like Leyland National buses, which Pacers are based on. I rode to Penarth then back to Grangetown. 142080 and 143616 formed my next train to Barry Island, a nice little run but the guard thought I had an invalid ticket, saying the date on it was the 19th March, I pointed out the start date and the validity days. He apologised and moved on. It was then back to Barry to get a drink and wait for the Bridgend train. My third ATW 150256 formed this one, a nice ride to Bridgend and more new line ticked off.

At Bridgend, I had about 20 minutes before my HST towards London. Round the corner it came on time, noticing a blue door leading, so it must be the TGS, so it was in reverse formation with 43160 leading and 156 trailing. I then crossed my fingers for seat A73 to be unreserved. It was, so happy I boarded and grabbed that seat. The train filled a bit more at Cardiff and Newport, but then ground to a halt at Severn Tunnel Junction. There were signalling problems in the tunnel with pilotman working in place. We finally after 30 minutes headed through the tunnel at reduced speed. At Bristol Parkway, my original 1355 from Cardiff was starting there, so I was glad of the Valley line plan change I did earlier and foregoing Maesteg. After Bristol and Swindon a fast run ensued, straight into platform 11 at Reading. Sadly my intended 1528 train to Gatwick had left, so I stayed on into London Paddington.

As we approached I checked the Circle Line working timetable, it was 1606 and a train to Victoria was due at 1612. I headed down and right on time, train 217 arrived to take me round to Victoria, led by 21538. I headed up to the mainline at 1627 to catch the 1636 to Crawley, formed of 377129 and 424, most Southern 377s are duds I think. As we headed south, with a double seat to myself, I saw the GWR unit I was intending to catch from Reading. It was a green unit, a bit annoying as that was what I was hoping for. I alighted my 377s at Crawley and headed home to pack my own phone charger for the next day and a restful night in my own bed.
 

fishquinn

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Sounds like a great day except the missing of the Gatwick train at then end. The green GWR 165s and 166s are just the same tatty interior with a different exterior though.
 

James Wake

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Day 3: Tuesday 15th March

I had a good nights sleep and was at Three Bridges Station for 0830. I intended to catch a train to Brighton then to Ashford, but due to the landslip at Polegate, trains to Ashford were starting at Eastbourne. I caught 377404/117 to Haywards Heath then 377133/126 to Eastbourne, arriving at 0950. The 1009 to Ashford was waiting, along with the 1109. My train was 171723, which departed on time along the beautiful Marshlink line, but was delayed by a bridge strike near Bexhill. We arrived in Ashford International 10 minutes late.

My next train was 395005 to Stratford International, quite busy from Ashford and standing room only from Ebbsfleet, a nice enjoyable ride on HS1 later, I squeezed through the crowd to alight at Stratford International. I walked to Stratford Regional through Westfield to go via Greggs for some lunch. I arrived on platform 10A at 1227.

My next train was the 1238 to Norwich, with DVT 82114 leading and 90004 trailing. We had a good run initally, but I was looking at my phone and discovered there were serious delays up the line. There was a level crossing issue near Stowmarket. The 1000 from Liverpool Street had not even reached Diss. After a 30 minute delay, including 20 stuck outside Norwich waiting for a platform, we pulled in at just before 1500. My intended Sheringham and backup Lowestoft trains had both departed.

I rang the Kilbrannan Guest House in Great Yarmouth, where I was staying the night, to see if they could pick me up earlier. They could, so instead of the loco-hauled set, I joined 156418 out to Great Yarmouth for a reunion with the guest house owners I stayed with 5 years ago on a family holiday. A short day but again more delays. At least I could have a relaxing evening and a good bit of socialising before the next day.
 

Kristofferson

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Great report, great choice of trips for the ALR too!

Look forward to the rest :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Techniquest

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Despite delays doing their best to interrupt you, it was still a good day there :) Shame the 37s couldn't be had though!

As Fishquinn points out, most of the reliveried 166s (have they even started the 165s yet?) haven't been refurbished inside. 166208 and 166214 were amongst the many DMUs awaiting refurbishment as of 7th March and 13th March respectively, as I had those two in that order and on those dates :lol: I saw the green livery and got my hopes up before they were burst, no new interior yet. Still, the better way to look at that is that it meant more time to enjoy the old one before it goes forever!

Jealous of you though, it has to be said, as all 4 377s you got on Day 3 are ones I need!

*Looks again at getting to the South East*
 

James Wake

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I don't normally record 377s as I lose count and have them regularly on my commute.
 

Techniquest

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I would still record them, but then I'm a bit obsessed! I'd have to know what I was getting on my commutes, and I'd want to know which ones I got regularly, which ones rarely turned up on my moves, etc.
 

James Wake

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Next part should be up tonight hopefully.

I disagree that Great Yarmouth is horrible, I love going there.
 

James Wake

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Day 4: Wednesday 16th March

After a nice stay at the Kilbrannan Guest House, and with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and toast keeping me satisified, it was off to the station. Gary the owner dropped me off and I went in to catch the 0917 class 37 operated train. I noticed on the board that the 1117 was cancelled due to a train fault, so was expecting a unit. But I was lucky and got 37422 and 37405 top and tailing the loco-hauled set. Taking a seat at the front of the brake coach, with the train running 10 minutes late, I bailed at Brundall to catch the 1005 ex Norwich. I would have been OK to stay on but didn't chance it.

At Brundall, after seeing a 170 go up to Great Yarmouth, I knew that I could get any unit down to Lowestoft, and in rolls a 170, winner 170205. I was the only passenger to board, then enjoyed the ride down to Lowestoft over the two swing bridges. At Lowestoft it was a quick change onto the 1117 to Ipswich, another 156 ticked off, this time 156419 (I have had 156416 before on the holiday 5 years ago).

A lovely ride on the East Suffolk Line later I arrived in Ipswich. Deciding to forego the Felixstowe Branch (would've been 153314) saw me onto 170208 to Cambridge, arriving at 1440. The next train would've been a single 153, so I was relieved. A quick sprint down the station to board 365520 to London Kings Cross non-stop, with 365538 attached from Kings Lynn. A 2 minute late arrival caused by an early running ECS Grand Central class 180.

I boarded Train 220 on the Victoria Line to Victoria, units 11049/50, then up onto the concourse to board busy 442413 on the 1600 Gatwick Express to Gatwick Airport, then the short hop to Three Bridges on 377501/516. A quick walk home plus a stop to pick something up and another night in my bed.
 

fishquinn

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Sounds like a nice time in Anglia! Lucky you with the tractors! I wonder what the 'train fault' was causing them to be caped on the next turn...
 

Techniquest

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Not a bad little day there, 37 haulage makes me well jealous mind. As does the pair of required 377s, but you have inspired me for my little adventure around London today.

Another enjoyable instalment :)
 

James Wake

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Day 5: Thursday 17th March

The first day of my three days away stint. I start with the 0848 Thameslink service to St Pancras International, formed of 377212 and 508. Quite a quiet train for just after the peak, but a punctual run into St Pancras for 0948. My next move is a HST, the 1015 to Nottingham. It is a case of spot the HST, which was on platform 3 with my first EMTs 43046 and 43052. I agree with people who say the standard class seats are quite low. I was in seat A3, the single seat by the TMs office which was unreserved, so a quick run up to Nottingham, arriving at 1155.

A cross platform change onto the 1218 Northern service to Leeds, formed of 158795, a good run up to Leeds, always punctual and a crew change at Sheffield meant an on-time arrival at Leeds at 1418. I changed my plan to do the Todmorden curve as it would have meant nearly an hour at Blackburn, so after some spotting and thinking what to do (the 1505 to Blackpool was a thought but sheer numbers waiting put me off). I instead boarded 185151 to Stalybridge. Then I decided to take the shuttle to Manchester Victoria, formed of 142040, a quick bouncy run later and I was in Manchester.

My hotel for the night was the Premier Inn in Stockport, so I caught the Metroshuttle 1 to save a tram fare across to Piccadilly, formed of Optare Versa 49957 of First Manchester, squeezing onto the seat behind the driver next to someone else for the 15 minute journey to Piccadilly. Out to Stockport next and I fancied a 323, so boarded the 1646 to Stockport (I believe it continued to Cheadle Hulme) formed of first Northern Starship 323237. A quick supper in McDonalds then a walk to the Premier Inn. Only realising when I get there its next to a pub so I could have had a better meal. Anyway I was in the annexe building, separate to the main hotel. After a night of Eurovision Radio, I went to sleep for the next day, which I hoped would fulfill the two best moments of the trip.
 

Techniquest

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Nice and easy day there really by the looks of it. That curve is an irritating one to get in, I remain to be convinced it was worth opening or even worth waiting so much longer for.

Surprised you didn't know most Premier Inn hotels have a restaurant facility of some sort next to or in them. Said catering outlets are not cheap, not by any means, but certainly the one Blindtraveller and I did last year in Longbridge served some brilliant food! Then there's the hellfire breakfast, phwoar I'd have one of those every day happily!
 

James Wake

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Day 6: Friday 18th March

After a good sleep and a quick breakfast at the Fayre and Square Pub, along with filling up my drinks bottle with apple juice, which was a nice gesture from the staff at the pub. I had time to kill so caught the free Stockport Metroshuttle to the station. Another Optare Versa but I didn't get the number.

So a Friday morning at 0920 at Stockport. My next move is of course the parliamentary to Stalybridge, formed of 142051 with 150139 locked out on the back. Along with a few other people the train trundled east and after 20 minutes arrived in Stalybridge. Then another plan change got me another route, but it meant repeating the mileage to Manchester Victoria on 150274, busy but I got a seat, although some others weren't so lucky. It was on a through Huddersfield to Wigan service. Then it was time for a train towards Preston, formed of 150225, but looking at RTT gave me the option of a shack scratch at Leyland.

After 5 mins at Leyland, my original planned 319 from Liverpool arrived, formed of 319368, which I have had down south. At Preston after a bit of a delay getting off, I crossed over for a Pendolino to Lancaster, on time with 390123. I sat in seat A45, which was reserved after Lancaster. After a 20 minute journey, a quick sprint round the buffers got me onto 156490 on loan to TPE on the Barrow-in-Furness service. As we left I saw 37401 on the loco-hauled set. The 1004 from Preston had been cancelled that morning, however Northern on Twitter said that the 1437 should run and it might even be double headed. A new loco/s were being brought down from Kingsmoor.

At Barrow, a nervous wait ensued, then I saw that an STP path had been made, so it could be on its way. Sure enough it was, and was making up time as the path allowed for station stops. At 1428 in rolls 37409, just on its own, and I bag the first table behind the loco for the run to Carlisle. A brilliant scenic run round the Cumbrian Coast, with fellow members Mojo and matt joining at Green Road for the rest of the run, which got steadily later to Carlisle.

At Carlisle, Mojo ran off to catch the 1753 Pendolino to Euston, matt and myself watched the 37 leave before I joined the 1811 TP to Edinburgh, formed of 350402 and 407. matt was waiting for the 1846 to Rugby, so with a wave my 350s sped off into the night, not much to report as it was getting dark, but a slightly late arrival into Edinburgh Waverley. A steep walk up to the Byron Burgers for supper, then across the road to the Ibis Edinburgh Royal Mile and my bed for the night. Final day to come.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Day 7: Saturday 19th March

After a restful nights sleep in Edinburgh, I walked back down to Waverley. I wanted to go to Helensburgh, where my Mum was born. She had asked me to try and get a fridge magnet. I got there by using 170419 on the 0930 to Glasgow Queen Street, then 156450 (luckily not one of the three I'd had before from Mallaig/Crianlarich) onto Helensburgh Upper. I walked down the hill, eventually finding a fridge magnet, grabbing some lunch and boarding 334023 on the 1210 to Hyndland, which was nice, reminded me of an AC version of a 458.

At Hyndland, I caught the next train to Glasgow Central, formed of 318256 and 320304, not 303 luckily. I travelled in the 318 and got off at Glasgow Central Low Level. Then I went upstairs for the 1340 to London Euston, formed of 390119. I sat in first class, but the train manager to Preston didn't take my upgrade money. After Preston, the new Train Manager did. I had a good amount of refreshments, before arriving in Euston at 1820.

A quick dash down to the Victoria Line and a busy train rolled in bound for Victoria, but as it was busy I let it go as there was a Brixton just behind. Lo and behold that train was quiet and I got a seat comfortably on 11087. The only downside was waiting 3 minutes in the tunnel outside Victoria for the train in front to go into the siding. Eventually we made it into the platform, I headed upstairs and joined triple 377116/451/143 to Crawley, arriving just on 1930 and a cab home brought to an end another All Line Rover.

I hope you have all enjoyed the report.
 

Kite159

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I learn something new every day that Victoria line trains can terminate at Victoria rather than the usual run to Brixton and back.
 

Techniquest

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Two good days there, good news on Northern and DRS managing to get the other 37 set out.

334s being like an AC version of 458s, never really looked at it like that before, but yeah definitely. Gotta love a good bit of 334 motor noise!

Looks like you had a really good time overall :)
 

fishquinn

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Sounds like a brilliant ALR! It must've been a huge shame when it ended though.
 

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try it in February or November. Awful. There are much nicer seaside resorts.

Agreed! I lived in Gorleston for 3 years then my first flat with my then girlfriend on Salisbury Road in Yarmouth. Great place in summer, god damn awful in Winter.
 

DarloRich

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An interesting trip - you got to several different areas of the country.

Agreed! I lived in Gorleston for 3 years then my first flat with my then girlfriend on Salisbury Road in Yarmouth. Great place in summer, god damn awful in Winter.

Must stop agreeing! I didn't like it in the summer either but the surrounding area is really nice
 
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