Anti-Pacer's Northern Rail voucher day out - 16th June 2016

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anti-pacer

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Armed with my Northern Rail complimentary day voucher, courtesy of the predecessors, I left Wakefield Westgate on a double 142, the 0723 to Leeds which was quite heavily loaded. A short time later and a McDonald's breakfast consumed, I made my way to platform 11A for the 0805 service to Blackpool North, formed of a 2 car 158. This train was busy to Bradford, and after Halifax half empty.

After a ride across the Pennines into Lancashire we were soon speeding through the little stations, stopping only at the main ones. I always like the journey between Gannow Junction and Blackburn as it reminds me of my "commute" to school in the 80's from Colne to Blackburn - back when Pacers were brand new!

I alighted at Preston and opted for the 1004 loco-hauled service bound for Barrow. I only took this as far as Lancaster as I preferred to wait there for the Windermere train, and partly as I like that train anyway. At Lancaster I crossed over to Platform 5 for the 1100 train to Windermere, formed of a 3 car 185 on lease from TPE. It waits in Lancaster for 16 minutes so I plonked myself down in First Class figuring that as Northern don't have First Class, this would have been OK. How wrong I was and I was soon asked to move. The rest of the journey passed without incident through the beauty of South Cumbria to the terminus at Windermere.

After a toilet stop in Booths - which for those not in the know is a Preston based "high end" supermarket chain which makes Waitrose look like Lidl - I purchased a combined Explorer ticket for bus and boat from a designated ticket seller by the bus stops. This is priced at £15 and allows unlimited travel on Stagecoach buses across the Lake District and down as far as Lancaster. In addition to this you also are entitled to a single trip on any RED CRUISE on Lake Windermere in either direction.

I took the 599 open-top bus down to Bowness Pier where I presented my Explorer at the ticket office for one of their tickets. I boarded the boat and sat up on the deck at the front - by far the best seats. The cruise was enjoyable although the commentary was sporadic. I think this was to get you to buy their guide book, which I didn't.

At Ambleside Waterhead Pier I went in search of the bus stop for services to Keswick. I quickly found it and waited 20 minutes for the 555 bus, a modern double decker who's manufacturer I can never remember. This proved to be a stunning journey up through Ambleside, Grasmere and by part of Thirlmere to Keswick. The scenery was beautiful although I kept nodding off!

On arrival at Keswick my intention was to walk down to Derwent Water, however, I spotted another open-top bus, 78 to Seatoller. I decided to ride on this down to the peaceful village of Seatoller and back. I was rewarded with lakeside views, mountains, rivers and forests. It was just stunning. The only downside was the low branches on the trees trying to take me out every 30 seconds!

Back in Keswick, after a mooch around the market and buying my ex-girlfriend a large dragon ornament (she collects them), I went back to the bus station and bought some sandwiches from their branch of Booths, and waited for what proved to be a very busy 555 bus at 16:30. I was more awake this time so enjoyed some scenery missed on the way up.

This was a long journey of two and a half hours, but very scenic. After Kendal the heavens opened and this continued through Milnthorpe and a couple of villages we diverted off the main A6 to serve.

I alighted from the bus at Carnforth where the rain had eased off. I made my way down to the station by way of the Co-op. I took the 1934 service through more lovely scenery to Leeds, formed of a 2 car 150 with a single 153 coupled to the back, but seemingly locked out of public use. I sat near a group of excited enthusiasts who had been to Glasgow for the day. Their excitement was hightened after Skipton when they saw the Scarborough Spa Express en-route as ECS back to Carnforth.

At Leeds I crossed over to Platform 15A for the 2121 to Doncaster, formed of a 4 car 321 or 322, which delivered me to Wakefield less than 15 minutes later. I and others were greeted by a very unusual sight of an empty taxi tank. Almost all taxi drivers in this city are Muslims, and as it's Ramadan and light was fading, most were probably eating. My battery had died soon after Carnforth so the kind staff in Wakefield Westgate let me use their phone to call a taxi from my usual, non-rank company, who arrived within 5 minutes.

Fantastic day out, and I love the Lake District!
 
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fishquinn

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Sounds like a great time out! I would personally have avoided the buses and instead just used the voucher to travel on the 37s but it sounds like a good time was had.

The taxis in Wakefield sound pretty poor if there was none at the station!
 

anti-pacer

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Sounds like a great time out! I would personally have avoided the buses and instead just used the voucher to travel on the 37s but it sounds like a good time was had.

The taxis in Wakefield sound pretty poor if there was none at the station!

I did the whole Preston to Carlisle via the Cumbrian Coast the week previous. Apart from Windermere and a steam railway, the interior of the Lake District is bus only, plus a few boats.

Wakefield station taxi rank isn't normally an issue. Whilst I respect their religious requirements, the drivers also are there to provide a service and shouldn't all go off at once.
 

johntea

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Hopefully the taxi rank in Wakefield sorted out their differences with East Coast! (This was pre Virgin), every single one of them flat out refused to take me home after a delay even after being asked to by the member of station staff on duty apparently because East Coast were behind on paying them!

Luckily it all got sorted after booking another taxi company and getting a receipt to send in to East Coast but it was a situation that should never really occur
 

Techniquest

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Rather decent day out there, I must confess to having never seen the inner Lake District but I am now looking forward to the day I do it. The cruise along Lake Windermere doesn't sound like my cup of tea, the rest does though!

An excellent read and glad to see it was a good time, not to mention that you're posting more trip reports :)
 

Iskra

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Great report. Your trip report has made me very nostalgic about the days when I lived up that way; Booths is my favourite shop- they need to expand into Yorkshire proper before Waitrose take over. Equally, I like the Bentham line a lot, shame the 153 was locked out of use as they're a better ride than a 150 IMO.

The staff at Wakefield Westgate, are indeed fantastic.
 

anti-pacer

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Rather decent day out there, I must confess to having never seen the inner Lake District but I am now looking forward to the day I do it. The cruise along Lake Windermere doesn't sound like my cup of tea, the rest does though!

An excellent read and glad to see it was a good time, not to mention that you're posting more trip reports :)

Thanks Techniquest.

You have to do the cruise though. It's only 30 minutes but worth doing. You can't visit the Lakes without going on one.
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Great report. Your trip report has made me very nostalgic about the days when I lived up that way; Booths is my favourite shop- they need to expand into Yorkshire proper before Waitrose take over. Equally, I like the Bentham line a lot, shame the 153 was locked out of use as they're a better ride than a 150 IMO.

The staff at Wakefield Westgate, are indeed fantastic.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Yes Booths are great and I would like to see some over here. I think Ilkley is my nearest. There are so many towns in Yorkshire that Booths would do well in.
 
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