BT's On The Road Again!

Blindtraveler

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Hi all. I love reading other peoples trip reports so its about time I did something. I'll update periodically with anything interesting and hope that fans of both bus and rail will enjoy. Its worth baring in mind that these jottings are from the prospective of someboddy with a sight impairment and may well not contain the detail of others e.g. Unit, loco or vehicle numbers and other such detail. Never the less I hope they interest.


Oct 23 2012east Edinburgh to Glasgow, the long wayDo you ever have a day when it seams as if everything will go wrong? Well I'm having one! Oh, OK then, part of one. I've only just got in the shower when my phone goes, cancelling a meeting I should have had today in Glasgow. A quick check of the emails a bit later reveals that the mate I should have met for a coffee on the way to my remaining work commitment of the day (in Dundee) has flue and is also crying off.


Now I'm settled with a coffee and thinking about how I'm not looking forward to yet another rail journey to Dundee on the same old route and the same (not so old but probably overcrowded) 170 on the shoulder of evening rush hour. Works slack at the mo mores the pity and all of a sudden it hits me. Why don't I use my intended Citylink reservation from Glasgow later, and go there by A COMBINATION OF VARIOUS BUSES, FOR THE SAKE OF DOING THE ROUTES? I have just about done all rail routes and track in Scotland with a few exceptions and as I like buses also I am in the (lengthy) process of doing some Scottish bus routes. In my home area of Edinburgh I'm at the point where there's lots of gaps and bits half done so today I'm off to fill in 2 of these.
First bus out of a planned 4 is Eves Coaches 129, running from Seton Sands in East Lothian to Ocean Terminal, home of Britannia in North Leith. Unlike most other buses going here from the Leith direction this one takes a different route and have never yet used it. Well, I have now, in the front seat of one of the new Optare Solo SRs with high back leather seats bought specifically for the run. I think the driver on this is new, he went to the wrong stop at the terminus and left me with the joyful task of finding the correct stop for my next bus which he should have gone directly too on a wet Tuesday lunchtime with nobody around, grrrrr!

Stop located I settle down to eat my Marmalade Sandwiches (very Paddington) and wait for Firsts 631, Ocean Terminal to Livingston Via St Johns Hospital. This again is a route which I've used part of but not the section from Leith to Barnton. 12:00 comes and goes and still no bus. Have almost decided to go home when at 11 Minutes Past one of Firsts Original batch of low floor Darts shudders up and with an apology and a serious thrash we rattle off towards Granton, the Scottish Gas HQ (curse the money grabbing so and so's) and the long run out towards the Queensferry Road. I've decided to stay on till Kirkliston, mainly for an easy connection to Falkirk but it has the added advantage of a good bit of dart thrash up and down the various gradients on the route and the driver (still 11 mins late) didn't disappoint.

A 15 minute wait in Kirkliston main street later and I1m Boarding Firsts Edinburgh to Stirling 38, apparently one of the few runs locally makes money on and it shows with modern Volvo B7RLE'S HANDLING THIS BUSY ROUTE WHICH RUNS EVERY 20 MINUTES DURING THE DAY. Nothing very interesting here as did the entire run ages ago but I don't think there's much slack in this routes TT as its thrash at most times on the country sections of the run. An on time arrival into Falkirk Bus Station Is followed by a 25 min wait before boarding Firsts X37 Falkirk to Glasgow Fast service which much to my displeasure is worked by a Scanier with the predictably uncomfortable seats, worse even than some of Firsts oldest Darts.

Despite being prefixed with an X and taking only 1h05 to Glasgow this service loads well and its only really on the final run into Glasgow that it gets to stretch its legs. I've been wanting to do this run for ages as I1m prioritising X Numbered routes as you can often go miles on a great variety of vehicles. A rival to Glasgow is 10 minutes late bringing total journey time from home to 4h40and its off for a quick cuppa and a toilet break before climbing aboard the (perhaps predictable but never the less welcome after that Scan) Panther on the M8 for Dundee. All in all maybe not the most exciting of days and quite lengthy due to the connection times but 2 little annoying bits and another X Route done and out the way. Comments welcome, more posts soon. Cheers, BT.


 
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Butts

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Ah the good old 38, my staple carrier of choice between Falkirk and Kirkliston for over 18 months before I got a car again. In the whole of that time period involving hundreds of journeys it only ever failed to turn up about three times.

It is a good service frequency wise with part-routes even early on a Sunday Morning and late at night with the last service from Kirkliston to Falkirk around Midnight.

Did you enjoy your "back to the seventies" experience at Falkirk Bus Station?

Regarding the X37 I have had the misfortune to catch this service to Glasgow and it could hardly be described as "state of the art" - more "ark". The train is the best option on this route. Mind you Cumbernauld "Bus Halt" seriously rivals Falkirk in the "****ehole stakes" :p
 

Blindtraveler

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Ah the good old 38, my staple carrier of choice between Falkirk and Kirkliston for over 18 months before I got a car again. In the whole of that time period involving hundreds of journeys it only ever failed to turn up about three times.

It is a good service frequency wise with part-routes even early on a Sunday Morning and late at night with the last service from Kirkliston to Falkirk around Midnight.

Did you enjoy your "back to the seventies" experience at Falkirk Bus Station?

Regarding the X37 I have had the misfortune to catch this service to Glasgow and it could hardly be described as "state of the art" - more "ark". The train is the best option on this route. Mind you Cumbernauld "Bus Halt" seriously rivals Falkirk in the "****ehole stakes" :p


:) Ark indeed, and that goes for the formentioned Bus Stations too although Cumbernauld has a slight edge in that wating here is ever so slightly less damp and draughty!

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Commuting to Orkney, often Twice a Month!

Commuting I here you say? :) some commute! Covering a distance of approx 311 miles (varies depending which ferry crossing is used) and on public transport taking a minimum of 11hrs its fare to say that my wife to be and I are in a long distance and complex (where travel is concerned) relationship.
In the same journey time you could go from Dundee to Penzance, complete any of the highland sleeper routes end to end, make at least 5 trips round the Fife Circle and have a dam good attempt at setting a PPM Bashing record on LM. so, is Central Scotland to the northern Isles on a combination of road, rail and water transport the bash of a lifetime? I regularly tell anyone how sick of it I am and wont be in the least bit sorry when the council get there finger out and allocate us a place to move in together but yes, even for me this epic is just that, a truly amazing journey with plenty of thrills, spills, tight and sometimes missed connections and although I wont go into too much detail I have decided to share 2 recent ones with you.


Self employment has many up sides, but many downsides too, the major one being the admin work and associated bla bla bla that goes with it. The only good thing is that it doesn't really matter where its done and as long as I have a laptop and internet the fact that I'm visiting my Orkadian Mrs is largely relevant, until that is the same laptop developing a major fault which I nearly don't fix and as a result nearly don't go and also missed my usual safe train.
If catching a daytime ferry from the highlands I am usually on the 9:35 from EDB Change Perth arriving Inverness with a good 1h30 before my connection goes or the 10:30 M90 Megabus, arriving Inverness at 5 past 2.

I have used the Far north line to access Scrabster however the journey time is long and bus transfer from Thurso to the port is limited to non existent and although Scotrail will provide a taxi for ferry pax off certain trains it often only needs that train to be 15 or 20 down for it all to fall apart anyway. As a result, I use the stagecoach X99 from Inverness direct to Scrabster (connection at Dunbeath for Wick and Gills) which should be booked via Citylink to Guarantee a seat.

There are 4 see crossings to Orkney, the most convenient one from Aberdeen only operating a few times a week (Shetland service by Northlink). The others are from Scrabster (2-3 a day) Gills Bay (same number) and a peak season service from John O'Grotes with dedicated coach connection from Inverness. The shortest are the Seasonal service and Pentland Ferries - a commercially operated Catamaran from Gills Bay to St Margaret's hope in Orkney. The most popular sailing is the Scottish Government funded, Cerco Operated Northlink Ferries Scrabster to Stromness route with capacity for the largest number of people and vehicles on a large conventional ferry.

Ok then, during that info overload I've finished packing, caught the Lothian Buses Pointer Dart on Service 42 to the station and even had time to grab a BK BEFORE BOARDING THE 10:35 scotrail all shacks service to Inverness. Although this train gets in with ample time to walk to the bus station for a 14:40 connection, the combination of single track HML and gutless 170 has put me off using it, till now anyway. First surprise of the morning was a 4 coach 158 at Waverley's P17 instead of the turbostar. BREL Cant do much about the HML's track limitations but these early 90s units cope far better over the hills than the trains which mainly replaced them on Scottish Express work. Feeling a bit more certain of making my connection I take my seat and we power off towards the bridge and Perth which is reached on time. A crew change and some connecting pax from Glasgow/Stirling later and we make for the mountains, well over 3 quarters full.


Inverness is reached on schedule at 14:12 after some enjoyable 158 style thrash and I make for the bus station. a quick tip for any body peckish the café in the terminal building here is amazing and cheep. For me though sadly no time to sample it today as one of Stagecoaches 6 Volvo B9R Plaxton Panthers bought specifically for the X99 has just arrived at Stance 1 and is loading for the 3h10 long trip to Scrabster. This service departs full on time at 14:40 and the journey is by and large uneventfully until around 16:30 when the driver, still with a 90 percent full load begins his assault on the notorious Berrydale Braes with its hills, hairpins and a certain element of danger. I've done it in all conditions and yes it can be scary but it never ceases to thrill, for me at any rate and I suspect some of the regular drivers too.

A timely arrival at Scrabster is followed by a quick walk to the terminal check-in and at 18:30 I'm aboard and waiting for the restaurant to open. £9 and some pense gets me a plate of fish, chips and beans before a wander to the other end of deck 6 for a large whisky in the bar. by now we are out in the Pentland Firth and rolling gently having left on time at 19:00. This can be a v v rough crossing much to my delight but sadly not this evening and we dock in Orkney's 2nd Largest town of Stromness on time at 20:30. Half an hour later and a Stagecoach Orkney Optare Solo (ugg) arrives on service X1 to Kirkwall and St Margaret's Hope. The same vehicle has come from the Hope where it picks up Pentland Ferry's Customers for Kirkwall and beyond at 20:00. A word of warning though if this sailing is late the bus may not always wait as at this time of night there is just 1 vehicle and 2 drivers providing a fairly tightly timed service on this run and also the late night X10 connection for the ferry to/from Aberdeen when its running. 35 mins later I'm off the bus and walking to my partners home whilst counting the minute7 till bedtime :)

Southbound 19 and 20 Oct

Friday evening and a days work awaits tomorrow. The popular Southbound Shetland and Orkney to Aberdeen ferry is my return transport to the mainland. The 2 ships on this run have both cabins and recliners but to get a bed on many sailings you have to be organised. I wasn't this time so its recliner time with the Boots Sleeping pills and the headphones to guarantee a good kip. But before all that its more Solo misery to the Kirkwall Hatston Terminal on service X10 which takes pax to the ship and waits for those who are coming off and wishing to go to Kirkwall or Stromness. The bus arrives on time at 23:00 and I board and settle down for the night which much to my disgust will be flat calm according to the captain. Almost asleep but I note our departure on time at 23:45.

We dock on time at 07:00 having been bing bonged an hour earlier to advise us of arrival time, breakfast service etc. I disembark and take a taxi to the rail station (Aberdeen is confusing if your blind) and board the 07:52 EC HST to the Cross. During the week I used to book FC Advances on this train to get the breakfast but after 3 trips in a row with faulty fridges and nothing more than a biscuit to eat I gave up and at weekends I never bother. This train usually runs to time but is often full and standing by Waverley (10:25). Off the train, up to Waverley Bridge and on to the bus, reaching home at 11:15. This journey, or variants of it is generally undertaken twice a month and since I've been doing it there's been a few hairy moments, usually involving buses that don't wait or turn up later than expected but the traffic in Aberdeen and Inverness City Centres and delayed trains and boats have had a good go at raising my blood pressure too. I have never flown as the cost is extortionate and naturally if you have a car its all much easier with Google Estimating approx 8 hours drive and see crossing between Edinburgh and Kirkwall via Scrabster. Any comments or questions just ask and I hope you enjoyed.
 

Techniquest

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Sounds like a right ol' mission with the many legs to Orkney! Can't say I envy you with that lengthy ferry journey to Aberdeen, that's awful! Would much rather fly to Edinburgh if it were me, although the cost could be quite severely different.

Quite enjoyed the read, and I wish you luck with covering all the bus routes in Scotland. I started with the same idea in Swansea way back when in 2005, however I just couldn't be bothered after a while. These days it's no fun as it's all much more modern boring stuff. No Marshall bodied Darts, no proper beasty step-entrance Darts, no decent coaches on the 100 to Cardiff...Sucks!
 

Blindtraveler

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Sounds like a right ol' mission with the many legs to Orkney! Can't say I envy you with that lengthy ferry journey to Aberdeen, that's awful! Would much rather fly to Edinburgh if it were me, although the cost could be quite severely different.

Quite enjoyed the read, and I wish you luck with covering all the bus routes in Scotland. I started with the same idea in Swansea way back when in 2005, however I just couldn't be bothered after a while. These days it's no fun as it's all much more modern boring stuff. No Marshall bodied Darts, no proper beasty step-entrance Darts, no decent coaches on the 100 to Cardiff...Sucks!


the flights are in the 3 figures just for a single and have seen a return in the summer or Xmas/bank holidays be in the 4 figure range.
I actually prefer the Aberdeen saling but is less regular sadly. just heard theres some steppy darts left round fortwilliam and Oban and also in the Dunoon area so have to get them. Is much left in Hereford? My partner has friends therd but am lothe to go and exist on a diet of 170s and 165s plus yet more optare rubbish,0I get enough of that in Orkney with Stagecoaches crappy Solos.

By the way well done on completing Irish rail!
 

Techniquest

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Thanks,took me long enough!

Nowt much in Hereford no,lost our last steppy Darts ages ago.Mostly Optare Solos in town now.Train wise it's a mix of 150/153/158/165/166/170/175/180?/HST
 

Blindtraveler

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sorry for the lack of updates on here lately - been v v quiet/nothing out of ordinary on the bashing front. only things of note is the clocking off of another Scottis X Bus route in the form of Stagecoach Westerns X77 Glasgow to Ayr which for those who hate 380s and I include myself here is a bit of an eye opener (no pun intended) :) as along with I believe a commuter route out of Aberdeen this service is providing a not very taxing retirement for the X Megabus Skyliner double Deck Coaches.
Suddenly the horror of an hour on a Diziro is a little less daunting.

The same day also saw me tick of Stagecoach Westerns 46/246 Ayr/Cumnock - Dumfries bus which for fans of long winding country bus routes is a belter! Unfortunately the Inviro300 opperating it is a bit of a let down, a steppy dart or a B10m would do it far more creddit.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
another wee update - just finalised details of my Honeymoon next Feb - a trip on the Ulswater Steamers in cumbria and my soon to be Wife's first trip on the S and C followed by the KWVR, Oh and before you ask, she agreed to all of it, infact she said she'd rather stay at Premier Inns, eat pub food and do these things than go to a 4 star hotel and spa! :) as things stand she may well get her first 390 for haulage too, assuming virgin dont change the diagrams to radically.
We did the Cumbrian Coast on a previous trip and are saving doing it again till later in the year when the R and ER is running as again we have both done this and are keen to do it again. Think we may also go out and clock off a couple of cumbrian bus routes in the half day or so we have spare. Any ideas?
 

Techniquest

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If you're that keen on getting on a 390, just choose a Virgin service from Glasgow to Euston, almost guarenteed a 390! Sounds like you've got a good woman there if she's up for going on trains on a honeymoon!
 

Blindtraveler

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If you're that keen on getting on a 390, just choose a Virgin service from Glasgow to Euston, almost guarenteed a 390! Sounds like you've got a good woman there if she's up for going on trains on a honeymoon!


Oh believe me I have and I genuinely hope you get as lucky :) At the moment the 10:51 X Waverley is booked 390 Vice 221 and she absolutely
hates
Voyagers and wants to see if she likes Pendos so if the diagrams dont alter too much as of next week we will use this train. If they do the plan is indeed to go to Glasgow Central but not to catch a 390 but for her to cover the GSW - a line I grew up on and that I spend many happy hours in my teens bashing whilst living near Dumfries!

Sadly it woant be a Voyager Free trip as owing to the need for speed in order for Vikki to catch the Sunday night ferry to Orkney from Aberdeen we have no choice but to use the 09:08 from Leeds back North again and as this is almost certainly voyager opperated avoiding them at other times is vital.

I should point out that her dislike of voyagers has nothing to do with me and that her main comp5aints are the cumfort of the seats, the vibrations and rattles preventing her sleap and the lack of John Smiths on the Trolley ruining her waking hours on XC. Worth also noting she can sleap like a baby on anything else, even a thrashy bench seated step dart!
Other than the trip home hanging over us we cant wate - roll on 31st Jan 2013!
 

Blindtraveler

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update 18 Dec:
fun and games north of the border at the mo - supportive as I am of the RMT, Its members and what they are trying to do here they have managed to screw up the remainder of 2012s bashing shedule - I had treated myself to an early Xmas prezzy of a berth on the Caly from Fort Wiliam to Crew, the idea being to cover the Ranich to Fort William section of the WHL (One of the remaining bits of track I need in Scotland) and splice with a couple of advances Crewe to Leicester Via Nuneaton and return for a wee pre Xmas visit to my Granny.


As it was, I was one of the first in there when the action was announced and the nice people at FSRs after sales allowed me to offload it free of charge when they saw I was only going for the day (doubt I'll not be that lucky again for a long while)!So that, along with the oban branch, Kyle line, Ayr to Stranrare and various hard to get bits of freight etc lines remain on next years bashing list.

The one and only silver lining on the edge of the cloud hanging over the fact IStillhaven't yet completed all there is to complete in my small country of residence is that my better half is showing considerable enthusiasm for completing it herself so I have a 2nd bite at the apple :)As things currently stand the RMT have been so active round these parts of late that even visiting her has been frought with potential complication with the for mentioned strike on Scotrail (now hopefully resolved), the First Aberdeen action (called off also) and the much less publicized but still potentially disruptive industrial action by Serco Northlink Ferries staff who are also quite rightly standing up for there jobs. This too looks like it may be nearing an end (a slap in the face for Serco who to my mind aunt doing the service any favours) but with the uncertainty caused by all the above, coupled with the festive season Its looking very much like Santa will need to visit me at home which is not quite how things were planned.

The final blow (quite literally) is the weather forecast for the North See in the days leeding up to Xmas. Now just so you all know I relish a very rough see crossing and that wouldn't stop me however cansilations are looking very likely so it would appear that my list of lame excuses for not spending the holidays catching up on the admin has run out and once I've done that It only remains for me to hope (and perhaps even pray) that my honeymoon goes a bit more smoothly. Talking of honeymoons in my last update I bemoaned 3 hours continuous XC Voyager Horror from Leeds to Edinburgh but thanks to premier inns £29 rooms (less than half the price of 2 cattle class APs on the poo pong express) that fate no longer awates us and I can safely say that with my very quiet no nonsense wedding in just under 5 weeks and the honeymoon a few days later I am looking forward to every aspect of early 2013. Seasons greetings from Edinburgh!PS, If the big red fat one or his elves are reading, Mr Crow and friends would like a Caravan and something to tow it with for the increasingly regular trips to Scotland as even the mighty XC are at war! :)
 

Techniquest

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Not a good way to end the year then, let's hope 2013 starts better! Indeed, unless I'm too hungover I'm planning on going on a bash on New Year's Day, followed only a few days later by the Belgian bash :D Which is then followed about a week later by the first night out of the year <D
 

Blindtraveler

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Not a good way to end the year then, let's hope 2013 starts better! Indeed, unless I'm too hungover I'm planning on going on a bash on New Year's Day, followed only a few days later by the Belgian bash :D Which is then followed about a week later by the first night out of the year <D


lucky you! I am working new year so sleap, followed by a takeaway and few drinks are on my new year shedule. january looking v dull bashing wise but hoping to fix that!
 

Blindtraveler

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3rd Jan 2013 - The Far North Finally Finished!
A frustrating ommition, esp given the limmited services, distances and time involved etc etc but have been needing (and kept forgetting about) Georgimas JN To Wick for quite some time
and yesturday, with thanks to Serco for there savage prooning of Salings over the Pentland Ferth, and to Scotland in general for still collectively being in holiday mode as far as transport was concerned I got it!! :) :) better still the Mrs who needed the entire line was with me and bagged the lot thanks to the reversal at Georgimas for Thurso
we used the 07:06 from Inverness which unsurprisingly was v v quiet throughout and ran on time. i hope that getting this unfinished business cleared business cleared up so early in the year is a good omen for the remaining 51.5 weeks.

PS Happy new year!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Advance warning of something silly!
Yes, this really is silly, for want of a better description.
Other fitting titles could be uncumfortable, daft, a long way for a shortcut or, depending on your take on life, worth all the effort. This last doesnt fit in my case but the others certainly fit somewhere.

Now, having trailed it for a bit, your most likely all wondering what the hell I'm about to do?
The answer, in all its horrendous glory is, (Drum Roll please) Scotland to Manchester direct on a 185 :( :( :(

This all started ages ago in a pub with a bashing mate from south on one of his rare visits to Edinburgh. He had been recounting his overcrowded, stuffy and rather delayed run up the WCML which he had booked when he saw it was cheep as chips, blissfully unaware that a ticket from PRE to GLC marked TPE only entitles you to over 2.5hrs on the UK Rail industries worst advert for weight watchers with inter regional door layout and seat quality (despite what the adverts claim) and overcrowding problems which have been known to make voyagers look roomy by comparison!

Having had a good giggle at his misfortune I airily (and now realise stupidly) said that under no circumstances would I do such a thing myself, even if it meant getting up at 4am for the megabus next time I had need of a trip to that part of the world. My mate, now on his 7th beer did what he usually does at around this stage of intoxication and said that if he could do it, I could! As a point of order here, when this kind of challenge is presented by him in this manner then if you fail to accept, he just woant shut up and you most likely end up paying for his drinks, meals and taxis for the remainder of his visit.

Now those who have read my posts on Diziros in general and the unsuitable cross border 185 runs in particular will be aware that I
Hate
all Diziros and go to huge lengths to avoid any of there breed. They are for me up there with voyagers as Avoid at
Almost
Any
Cost! Unfortunately, this, along with the challenge of a Scottish termini to Manchester on one of these crates can be put off no longer and interestingly enough came in the form of a short notice trip to the Midlands. Apologies to any Mancunian readers but couldn't quite bring myself to do it just for the ride! :) Having established that no end to end advances within the budget for the job I am doing existed at such short notice and that some of my usual split points on both East and West sides of the country were also out, I checked without much hope the coach availability and finally resigned myself to the inevitable. Here was a chance to kill 2 birds with one stone - clock off the dreaded Scotland to Northwest endurance test and do a days work, with a late start and even later finis in the process.

As is so often the case, very good APs were still up for grabs on TPE Southbound on my date of travel. I had found this out when trying to split at Preston, without much luck so the decision was made to grab a £19 and so many pennies with disabled railcard discount single to Man Pick and then as the direct XC services were pricier than I wanted buy a VT Only Off Peek single for just over £6, again with railcard from Man to Crewe and then use one of LMs readily available advances to complete the journey to BHM for under a fiver with discount. The more observant of you will have noticed this means more (unwelcome) Diziro mileage :( There are I am sure better and easier ways of doing all this and although I try my best to make good use of tickets, routes etc... my efforts are pathetic compared to many on here. Anyhow, for better or worse the fun starts in exactly 48 hours on Thursday the 10th and I will naturally keep you all informed.
 

Techniquest

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I don't envy you,Glasgow to Man Picc was done on a 185 on my 2011 ALR.The bit to Carlisle was fun,absolutely belted it down the WCML like a rocket.Missed the tilting though,the best bit about doing a 390!Afterwards the novelty wore off and after Preston I'd had enough.Although to be fair,that week I had very little sleep all week and that was probably angering me the most.

Hope you survive!
 

Blindtraveler

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You will love it! Desiro's are one of the best trains around. :P Well, the 444s are at least.


afraid I cant even summmon up any affection for the 44s, I just dont like any of the current diziros and in particular I hate the 185s, going to some lengths to avoid them even on a short and regularly made hop from Scotland to Carlisle.
My last 185 trip sticks out clearly in my mind, despite it being last August - Carlisle to preston on a rammed dubble set with a failed AC unit in my coach and no working toilets in the front unit. In short, pritty grim and I was overjoyed that I got a pacer on my next move from PRE :)

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't envy you,Glasgow to Man Picc was done on a 185 on my 2011 ALR.The bit to Carlisle was fun,absolutely belted it down the WCML like a rocket.Missed the tilting though,the best bit about doing a 390!Afterwards the novelty wore off and after Preston I'd had enough.Although to be fair,that week I had very little sleep all week and that was probably angering me the most.

Hope you survive!


I remember your report on that bash and at the time thought He's lost it! Are well looks like I'll be joining you very soon in that category. I doubt I will reach Preston before I have had enough, Penrith is nearer my limmit.
Thanks for the good luck wishes.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
10th Jan 2013 - Doing the Diziros, the realitty is here!
Its 06:26 when I leave the house for a brisk walk to the bus stop, narrowly avoiding the selection of randomly located wheely bins along the way. its probably never occurred to the majority of readers but leaving your bin where the refuse lorry has dropped it and where its crew (who are probably working to rule anyway) cant be bothered moving it from provides an obstacle/hazard to us blindies. Uneventful journey to Waverley Station, a quick trip to the ticket office to buy my MAN/CRE single and pick up my APs and then its onto the dreaded 185 which, dead on time at 07:42 snarls its way out of P15 towards the gardens.

Up to speed on the branch to Carstairs and I had forgotten how rough riding these units can be, a situation which did not improve as we reached the WCML and began our asolt on the bends. Unpleasant as they may be, a voyager is far more comfortable on this run. Carlisle is reached on schedule at 08:59 and here's where the endurance really starts as I don't usually go any further than this. The only redeeming feature of these units, there ability to climb hills is demonstrated as we head south through the lakes and as we are non stop to Preston and accomplish the run in the booked 65 minutes its not as bad as it could have been.

Upon arrival at Preston the doors are released to allow the sprinkling of pax in the front coach off and the hoards waiting on the platform on. The set is then locked again and with a minimum of fuss another set from Blackpool is attached and this now well loaded 6 piece heads off towards Manchester. having been sat directly above the QSK19 for 2.5hrs now I had wondered and hoped for a display of the much talked about eco mode on the longer sections of this part of the trip but no such luck sadly. Maybe the front coach never shuts down? Any technology heads out there do get in touch :)

The trolley comes past and I get a very rateable and decent sized coffee for (ironically) £1.85 and this lasts me through the interminable slog through the suburbs until our on time arrival at Man Pic's P13. I then had an hour to kill which thanks to an on time arrival of the incoming pendo wasn't too bad as I was able to board. Timekeeping was one of VTs strong points today as the 11:55 (complete with a remarkably clean smelling bog in coach B) departed bang on schedule and repeated the trick at crewe 32 minutes later at 12:27.

Have to say I quite enjoyed that pendo interlude, very welcome! Its back to Diziros now on the very quiet 12:49 LM Class 350 to Birmingham. compared to the newer 380s on my home ground these trains rattle less and have a quieter smoother ride. If the new build 350s for LM/TPE Anglo Scot services are as good then a run to the Northwest and back with said opperater wont be quite as bad. Not withstanding all that though, there's no getting away from the fact that this train, the 1 I was on earlier and many others nationwide including FGWs marithon 150 runs and 170s to Inverness on Scotrail are simply inappropriate for the multitude of long distance runs they are operating.

Appropriate or not, my arrival at one of the West Midlands best known building sights AKA Birmingham New Street is on time and with my head in work mode its into a cab and whilst one of Brum's many cheery Asian drivers negotiates the traffic I fire off a quick text to my mate to inform him of my morning/early afternoon bashing diziros and that on the whole my opinion of them has not changed although I have to admit the doors do make a very satisfying slam and that it was a relief that none of my trains today were overcrowded.

11 Jan 2013

The Friday morning after the Thursday night before and its home time but thankfully not on a 185, 350 or anything similar. As a matter of fact other than a positioning move or 2 the majority of the mileage will be by road. My Dad has spent the last few days with my 96 (nearly 97) year old Granny, (his Mum) on the outskirts of Leicester and to pass up an opportunity of a ride north for the sake of a few extra miles out of my way would be quite frankly insane so after a great sleep and a fry up at my usual hotel in Erdington its off to the station and onto the 07:57 cross city line WORKING into BHM. I love 323s and the chance of a ride on one comes lep often than I'd like so a great start! From there its the 08:22 XC Service towards Stansted Airport which despite a Platform farse and great confusion over which train was for Nottingham and which one for the airport arrived Leicester bang on at 09:14.

My Dad is already parked up at Leicester and we are off straight away and despite the fog making good time for Scotland via the A50, M1, A50, M6, M74 and A75 to Dumfries where I am dropped just in time for the 101 bus to Edinburgh. First time I have had a go on this since the contract was taken off MacEwans of Dumfries and given to Stagecoach who are using older profiles on it, a great improvement! not wanting the Friday traffic in the city too hold things up I change at Pennicuik for the Lothian Buses service 40 and an hour later I'm home, dry and warm!
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Looking back on this fairly routine trip to the Midlands via a rather long route I have to agree completely with fellow forum member 4SRKT that xCs 170 interior is far more comfortable than Scot rails. The fact that I was nursing a slightly sore back after the 185s so called Intercity Quality seating (something else me and 4SRKT Agree on) means that if possible these trains have slipped just a little lower in the opinion polls than they were on Thursday morning.I am sure they are fine for an hour or 2 but I am very much hoping the 350s (which I will doubtless feel compelled to do for comparison) are better in this respect.

I know at the time of order there was a great deal of noise made about the interior specs of the Transpenine units being higher and given the franchising and rolling-stock mess we are in at the mo I think we will see these units on cross border work for far longer than the DFT Predicted. With this in mind the seating used in FGWs HSTs or the Inverness Bassed 158s would be a huge improvement for a start as well as better luggage stacks, more plugs and some wifi. How much if any of this will happen will be seen I believe at the end of the year? Corrections welcome! On a side note, quite a few TOCs could learn a thing or 2 from TPEs at seat trolley in terms of quantity, quality and service.

All quiet for the next week or 2 with the next big event being my very quiet a low key wedding on the 25th and0other than travel to/from that which is not even slightly interesting the next outing gets underway on the 31st when we go on our short but I hope very interesting and enjoyable Honeymoon. Meantime comment and post away! :)
 

Techniquest

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19 Jun 2005
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Nowhere Heath
Do it, well worth it! If you get the chance, I also recommend Macclesfield to Kidsgrove. The 323s can really get up to speed on that bit and seriously worth a bash!
 

Techniquest

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19 Jun 2005
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I dunno, it's not as much fun as CrossCity runs in my mind.

As for the Northern 323 tip, I discovered that by chance on an ALR. Had not intended to do a 323 from Macc to Stoke but that's how it ended up and I loved it!
 

Blindtraveler

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28 Feb 2011
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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
31 Jan - Honeymoon Day1

Well its finally here. Our wedding last week was just as we wanted it, simple and short, in Aviemore registry office with 2 witnesses (one of them a Stagecoach bus driver) and followed by an annual Burns celebration Weekend at the Nethybridge Hotel in Nethy Bridge. Despite being newly married we are still living separately although not much longer as Vikki who has been on various housing lists and home swap websites got offered a place in Grangemouth. Not my choice but its only in the short to medium term. The result of all this of course is a ton of paperwork and preparing to move and with one thing and another departure on our (again short and simple) honeymoon came rushing up very quickly.

The met office spent the early part of the week predicting a large deep depression which would bring high winds and large waves to Scotland and Vikki's southbound trip from Orkney was altered several times. This in turn put paid to plans for our first full day and in the end Vikki sailed on what we thought would be a badly delayed ferry to Aberdeen which due to a sudden improvement in conditions docked on time at 07:00 enabling her to take the 07:52 EC HST as far as Edinburgh. a quick trip to the supermarket followed by a Pizza Express and its back onto the same old rat run my original plan had gone to great lengths to avoid. Instead of going across and down the GSW (so Vikki could tick off the line) its the overheated but thankfully quiet 221 (ugg :() on the 14:51 to Birmingham, taken as far as Carlisle for an onward taxi to the Premier Inn Central North.
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Feb 1st - Honeymoon day 2

For those unfamiliar, Carlisle has several Premier inn Hotels and the one we are inn is located off the Kingstown Road but is NOT the nearest one to the M6. The Gozzling Bridge inn which is a Flaming grill pub (and it don't smell too good I can tell you) is attached. This is a former Premier Lodge and its fine but the eating options are not recommended although the pints are reasonable.

A quiet evening was had by us and of course Vikki's ever Faithful guide dog, Josh. This meant we could be up at a good time to enjoy our day. The plan had been to head out to Pooly Bridge and take a round trip on the Ulswater Steamers, something we have done before and wished to repeat. However the winter TT on this service and the off season TT on the 108 bus from Penrith didn't make good bed fellows so as the sun was out we decided to go bash some buses in and around the Lakes with the aid of Stagecoach's excellent 1 Day Northwest Explorer at a cost of £10 each.

We left the hotel at round 09:50 and walked the short distance to the bus stop. A wait of just over 10 Minutes and we were boarding a short dart on the 62 which we rode till just near the entrance to the bus station which we reached at 10:22 (not bad). The signage here isn't amazing however thanks to a nice driver we found our stand and at a minute or 2 after the booked 10:35 departure time a trident thrashed its way in and us and 2 others were off and running on an equally thrashy run to Penrith on the 104. Naturally this journey would have been more fun on an Olympian/Atlantion/something else long since retired and tridents aint my favourite but this one was admittedly a lot of fun and the driver (a man of few words but many revs :)) put it through its paces up and down the hills along the A6. At Penrith in search of a Sandwich to enjoy on the run we headed for the Penrith Co-Op, one of the remaining independent Co(Operatives and on discovering that as well as food, furniture and electrical that it had a café we decided to just get a coffee. 1 hour and the best fish and chips I've ever eaten later, washed down with OJ, Cake and the for mentioned cafeen we headed back to the bus station (there's a door rite onto it) and with 3 minutes to go climbed aboard a Volvo B7 Plaxton Profile working the 13:15 Trans Cumbria X5.

Chose to sit up the back on this so the dog could spread himself out and we could enjoy the ride, which is worth enjoying it must be said. 55 minutes later and we were at Keswick Bus Station where we baled to allow Vikki to attend to a few personal matters. We also took the opportunity to sauce some supplies including milk (always worth it if you can to avoid hotel stuff) and Sandwiches from the ajaisent Booths store. 14:45 and we're off again on the next X5 to Workington which to my horror (not due to the vehicle itself but more because of its uncomfortable seating) is a dart! What's all that about? A Man ALX300 or some other species of Inviro I could understand but not this, particularly as we had to endure its rock hard low backed seating for exactly 61 minutes!
A further withering was to come at Workington Bus Station, a cold and truly grim place made grimmer by a scheduled 50 minute wait turning into a 75 minute one by the late arrival of a Scanier Inviro 400 decker on the 16:35 to Carlisle. Plus points, this bus has nice high back seating and as its my first go on a Scanier engined version of this popular vehicle I was impressed by the speedy acceleration and the nice deep throaty thrash of the engine. Its also nice to be away from the weerdos hanging round there. Why do so many bus stations have to be this bad? On the flip side its freezing cold and smells slightly damp inside so arrival at Carlisle was welcome at around 18:20. By this time we were both so cold (as was the dog) that we rang for a taxi and were soon warming up back at the hotel. These petty moans aside it was a good day with new areas explored, old ones revisited and for me another X Numbered Bus route in the book. Its certainly nice to see a wide range of vehicles out and about and ride on some as the only travel related highlight of our wedding weekend was an Aviemore based Cumins engined Solo which was a good thrashtastic ride on the local roads. We rounded off the evening with a quick pint and bed at 21:30.
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bTW, The bus we took from Penrith was an X5 opperated bx a profile. For reasons best known to the forum its chopped bits off that post. I also tried to say that we had a nice thrashy driver on the 104 and that I was morning the retiral of so many olimpians, atlantians etc which would have been fun on this run.
 

sprinterguy

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4 Mar 2010
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Macclesfield
...having been sat directly above the QSK19 for 2.5hrs now I had wondered and hoped for a display of the much talked about eco mode on the longer sections of this part of the trip but no such luck sadly. Maybe the front coach never shuts down? Any technology heads out there do get in touch :)
Sorry for such a delayed response to this query, but as I understand it, when the class 185s are running in Eco-mode it is the engine under the intermediate centre carriage that stays at idle - The engines underneath the two driving cars are used to provide traction power at all times.
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I know at the time of order there was a great deal of noise made about the interior specs of the Transpenine units being higher and given the franchising and rolling-stock mess we are in at the mo I think we will see these units on cross border work for far longer than the DFT Predicted. With this in mind the seating used in FGWs HSTs or the Inverness Bassed 158s would be a huge improvement for a start as well as better luggage stacks, more plugs and some wifi. How much if any of this will happen will be seen I believe at the end of the year? Corrections welcome! On a side note, quite a few TOCs could learn a thing or 2 from TPEs at seat trolley in terms of quantity, quality and service.
The new 350s being ordered for London Midland will reportedly incorporate several interior design features from the 380s, and this includes the type of seat. Given that the Transpennine units will just be a sub-component of this order, it remains to be seen how different the TPE examples will be from the LM ones. Think 2+2 seating and armrests, but the usual style of Desiro seating - Similar to the 350/1s I should imagine.
 

Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
As long as they dont come with a 380 style crop of rattling pannels I'll be happy! The bogs on some of them are also beginning to smell but wheather this is due to design or Scotrails inabilitty to maintain things I dont know, but iether way the unsuspecting or unknowing could be forgiven for thinking it was a pendo they were on not a 380!

As to seating a bit more padding would be good for journeys of 3h30 or so although the one thing I forgot to mention was that next time I do a diziro to Manchester it will be a 110mph journey. Nothing but a very large cheque could persuade me to do it before that!
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How is d LM 350 110MPH running going anyway BTW? Im guessing its fine as we'd have heard otherwise.
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And finally appologies yet again for not completing this, the wintry and quite frankly viol bout of weather since Sunday has lead to some rather challenging days and although things have returned to as near normal as they will be for a good bit, we are now guearing up for moving house and all that entails, in our case, a load of paperwork, at this stage anyway!
 

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