Gathursty goes to Appleby-in-Westmoreland

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Gathursty

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It sounds much more evocative when you add '-in-Westmoreland'.

Summary of the day's journeys:

1003 Wigan NW - Preston
1037 Preston - Bradford Int
10 minute walk to Forster Square
1216 Bradford FS - Shipley
1222 Shipley - Appleby
1543 Appleby - Shipley - Bradford FS
10 minute walk
1800 Bradford Int - Huddersfield
1902 Huddersfield - Manchester Victoria
1935 MCV - Wigan Wallgate

The day started with a missold ticket. I assumed that I'd be sold the any permitted route ticket but the Virgin office gave me the Not Preston/Liverpool route to Bradford. At Preston, I was alowed to correct this with an excess.

1) Why would you go Wigan > Liverpool > Bradford???
2) Is there a policy at Virgin/any other TOC to sell route specific tickets without asking for information?

The day progressed with fairly short connecting times everywhere so I'll move on to describe the first interesting bit of railway for me - Burnely to Hebden Bridge. It's the first time I've been here since the Toddy curve was built. I was unimpressed at the speed of the train on this section but I'll go easy as the gradient seemed to be pretty full on and the views were worth going a bit slow for.

My first call for food was the Subway at Shipley. I had walked through the centre of Bradford without seeing a Greggs on the way (I wish to redeem my free hot drink after buying 9 of them now!! :D ) You will probably say that if I went this way or that way at either Bradford or Shipley, I'd have seen one but at least I still have the card. I think I was also anxious to be stood in time waiting for the Appleby train too.

The journey past Skipton is glorious as I'm sure many on this forum will attest to. The train was half-full all the way to Appleby and it called at every stop and even Dent had people jumping on and off!

I noticed connections to the quarries, one of which (Arklow??) was built recently and looked like a really nice siding to drive in to!

The Settle-Carlisle line volunteer catering trolley joined us for both legs and I indulged in a bottle of water one way and a latte going back for a reasonable price. The sun was out and lit up Dales, although Pen-y-ghent was capped by a low cloud.

I made sure to be alert after Kirkby Stephen to look to the left to see the old line through Kirkby Stephen West and Crosby Garrett towards the viaduct at the end of the valley. I think it is now a cycle path.

I disembark at Appleby with about an hour to walk down and observe the early-comers in advance of the Appleby Fair, which attracts Gypsies and Travellers from all over the UK to coalesce and bring their horses to the River Eden. I witnessed a horse being washed in the river and a couple of horses being run up the main road. The police were there already, making sure the roads were kept free-flowing. I think there were local press there too taking pictures.

Back up the steep hill and the train comes in from the siding, which probably was the connection to the parallel line going towards Penrith at some time long since gone sadly. This service only calls at Kirkby Stephen, Settle, Skipton, Keighley and Bingley before my stop which is brilliant!

No sooner than I reach Bradford Interchange than I am asked for change for a ticket off some local homeless person. He then asks me again for more change as we are in the evening peak. I give him a firm NO this time. I hang back from the ticket barrier as I see a queue forming on the other side and I have an excess stapled to my return ticket which won't go through the barrier. I am remembered by the man surprisingly enough. I arrive in time for the Grand Central service to reach it's destination. I find the Grand Central art deco-inspired design and colours very attractive but I don't know how I'd find the time or cash to treat myself.

3) Are the tables with the chess/Monopoly boards printed on them in First Class only on GC? Brilliant idea!!

I opt for the Huddersfield train to sample the big S through Brighouse. How slow is this line at 45 minutes!!! I'd like to know why it goes very slow in many areas. I suppose it connects well with the TPE Liverpool Lime Street via Manc Vic which are also it's only two stops. I embark and half an hour later am settled on my decision to go back to Wigan and eat somewhere I like locally. My train is on P6 and is almost ready go but for an errant conductor who even the driver, 4 carriages ahead, is wondering where he is. Four minutes later we depart on an all-station call back to the 'Gate.

An enjoyable day which I calculate at giving change from £40 including food and drink!
 
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backontrack

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Looks like a good trip was had! Shame you couldn't go further to Carlisle, but then that's left for another day. Perhaps an idea would be to do the steam railway at Warcop at the same time?
 

DarloRich

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An interesting trip - an area of the country i know well and miss. I wont comment on peoples views of the horse fair!

The GC trains have games printed on the tables in cattle class and kids seem to like them.
 

Techniquest

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A nice little adventure there, fair game. I need to make a visit to that part of the world for a proper adventure myself, needing all the shacks on the S&C after all!
 

Gathursty

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On the Horse Fair:

The horses I saw all looked in good shape and are clearly well cared for.
So long as all attendees pay their fair taxes and don't clog up car parks, councils, courts and police time, then I have no issue with any of them.

On continuing to Carlisle:

I would have done so if it wasn't for the need for the Rail Replacement Buses. I've never even been on an RRB!
 

AJM580

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Norwich
Glad you had a good day there. I was up there last week and stayed at one of the two self-catering cottages at Kirkby Stephen station. It's a good base to explore the area, as there's the Stainmore Railway just down the hill and the Eden Valley Railway a short drive away. Hope to go back next year and hopefully by then NR might have got the line open
 
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