Gatwick via Guildford Voyager

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14 Jun 2005
Walthamstow, London
This trip started for me by running up the road- to Walthamstow Queens Road- in order to get the 1553 one stop to Blackhorse Road. 150123 did the hounours, "grrr, 123 again" I said to myself as it pulled in, having had this for haulage everytime I have used the NLL GOBLIN in the past week! Changed at Blackhorse Road for a Victoria Line train to Victoria.

At Victoria I walked through the mainline station and up to the Greenline caoch terminal. Here I met up with Joshua and we both boarded the 1630 Oxford Tube formed of Neoplan Sklyliner 50123, as the bus departed it's stop and went round the corner past the Megabus stop I noted Scottish Citylink liveried (but Stagecoach owned) 52668 on the stand!!

The scheduled time on the Oxford Tube is 100 minutes but there is currently major roadworks just as you enter Oxford at the Thornhill P&R site and I have heard reports of long tailbacks forming at certain times on the A40, hence out joint decision to leave London a little earlier than orignally planned. However, when our bus approached the roadworks we suffered hardly any any delay at all! Maybe has to do something to do with a certain football match as I noted less traffic on the motorway than usual....

Talking of football, when me and Joshua alighted at Oxford's Gloucester Green bus station in the hunt of some food, we both noted how every pub we passed was very well patronised with the football blaring out from big screens. After unsuccessfully finding a fish & chip, we had to settle for the usual high street outlets, i.e. Burger King!

At the station we arrived there about 1900 so we went on to the platforms in order to see other stock. Noted the 1913 to Hereford was formed of a HST vice 180, the 1934 Voyager to Leeds running 33 minutes late and the 1930 to London cancelled, which meant people for London boarding the 1938 Voyager to Gatwick Airport, the very train we were boarding as well. Upon seeing the first class coach being at the front of the train, we ran to the back coach and grabbed one of tables in that coach.

At Reading, don't know what was going on but a FGW dispatcher came storming through the train and obviously not finding what he was looking for, disembarked. It was a very slow run to Wokingham, due to being behind a stopping SWT Desiro but despite this still departed Guildford on time. At Redhill we were held for about 10 minutes to allow several 377 through before getting the right to proceed down to Gatwick.

Had a swift change onto 460008 on the 2150 Gatwick Express, boarded near the back of the train and had the whole coach to ourselves! Finally passing East Croydon (the last station on the Brighton Mainline I needed to pass)!!! After a relatively fast run, alighted at Victoria and then the fun began.....

Walked out of the mainline station to find the bus station completely deserted which caught my attention but soon found out the reason...There was a rock concert in Hyde Park, hence Park Lane was closed and the bus routes that normally use that road diverted (many of which serve Victoria). So after waiting 15 odd minutes for a 36 or 436 back to Camberwell, I thought it would be a good idea to get the Victoria Line to Vauxhall and try our luck with the buses there. The tube wasn't much better either...10 minute wait for one to Brixton, very crowded as result, but manged to squeeze on.

Alighted at Vauxhall and walked through the subways to the bus station and within two minutes a 36 appeared which I thought would be stuffed as well (due to the problems of Park Lane) but was a little surprised to see it relatively empty! Changed at Camberwell onto a 484 where Joshua alighted at his local bus stop near to his house as I continued onwards to Lewisham.
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