Hairy's English Coast and Borders Trip

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hairyhandedfool

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Starting tomorrow (28th March 2012) and over ten consecutive days, I intend to travel completely around England's coasts and along it's borders by rail. Totalling more than 2,800 miles, the route will take in branch lines and secondary routes, using most of the TOCs along the way. Hopefully I'll be updating this thread daily, just in case someone wants to follow in my footsteps at some point in the future.

Tomorrow I will be starting at early-o-clock to get out to Ormskirk in time for the 0917 to Preston, and will end this journey on Friday week hopefully on the 2123 Southport-Manchester Victoria service.

I don't intend to be spending more than 14 hours per day travelling, although you just never know how it is going to turn out. Wish me luck!
 
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Pen Mill

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Fantastic journey, green with envy !!
ENJOY

Are you using ALR type tickets or more specific ?
Ah I seem to recall your are a TOC employee,does this mean free ? !!
drool !!
 

hairyhandedfool

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Part free, part not. I get free travel on Northern, Merseyrail and Grand Central, the rest I'll have to pay for, a few singles and a return on the first few days then a priv 7 day ALR to finish.
 

142094

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The Northern free pass is a god-send, just a shame there isn't any services between Darlington and York that it could be used on.
 

D841 Roebuck

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The Northern free pass is a god-send, just a shame there isn't any services between Darlington and York that it could be used on.

For a trip round the coast, maybe a bus from Whitby to Scarborough might solve this. Personally, I'd backtrack to Grosmont and do the NYMR to Pickering for a bus to Scab.

Other possibilities are:
Bus Kings Lynn to Holt, NNR to Sheringham.
Ferry Felixstowe to Harwich.
Bus/RHDR/Bus Folkestone to Rye.
Ferry Exmouth to Starcross.
Walk Severn Beach to Pilning.
 

142094

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For a trip round the coast, maybe a bus from Whitby to Scarborough might solve this. Personally, I'd backtrack to Grosmont and do the NYMR to Pickering for a bus to Scab.

Would depend on how tight time is, but normally when I do a day out I've got the whole day free. Newcastle - York is only an hour but Newcastle - Whitby at the best of times can be 3 hours, then add on the bus to Scarborough. Normally find it easier just to get a cheap advance to York and use the free Northern pass from there.
 

hairyhandedfool

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DAY ONE

156423 and 507006 got me to Ormskirk on time, although the irritating widow rattle on the 156 was, well, irritating. the 0917 to Preston was formed of 142034 and, tbf, if you have to go over jointed rail, there really is no other choice of unit to give you the full effect lol. Once you get past Burscough, it's quite reasonable scenery-wise.

At Preston trains were late, and I think blame lies with 390038, arriving ten minutes late with the front coupler cover open. Coupled with a gentleman thinking the Blackpool North Train is the Blackpool South Train, the Blackpool South service arrives two minutes late, at 1004, but is formed of 150134. Arrival at Blackpool South was pretty much on time and armed with the memory of a mapped route to Blackpool North I set off hoping to get there in under 40 minutes.

As it happened I hit 40 minutes exactly, but it wasn't quite enough to catch the 1120 back to Preston, so I picked up a supply of stirring sticks from the generic coffee shop and boarded 158793 forming the 1129. Back at Preston I just missed the VWC service north and so used up my one ticket for the day on the 1158 TPE service for the short hop to Lancaster. To my surprise ex-Central 150206 is on the 1228 Heysham Port service and return. the guard seemed friendly enough, but honestly, if you're planning a holiday, don't go to Heysham Port! There's a 15 minute wait there before I head back to Lancaster.

At thias point I should make a confession, I made a mistake with my plan, At first I was horrified, then mildly annoyed, I planned a 1504 to Carlisle, but it wasn't on the departure board, I checked the A-Z posters but no luck. Finally a 1534 appeared on the departure board, and knowing I had only 40 minutes at Carlisle, I went to the ticket office. I must admit when I asked what time it arrived in Carlisle, I wasn't expecting to be asked where I was going, never-the-less I replied "Carlisle". The clerk immeidtely said !"You don't want that train it goes via the coast, takes hours that way", anyway It transpired that it arrived just 2 minutes after I had planned, so it was probably just a typo on my part. Lesson learnt I think.

The two hours or so I had at Carrlisle did give me plenty of time to take pics of trains and have a good old cup of tea. Strangely enough, the reaction of the guard on the 1534 when I said I was going to Carlisle was almost the same as the ticket office clerk, only this time more by expression than word, although the journey time of three and a half hours did get mentioned. I had the [dubious] pleasure of 153316 for this bit of my journey, up front was 153330.

Oh, whilst I'm thinking about it, if anyone knows which 66 and 37 passed south from Sellafield with FNAs at about 1715-1730 and also which 37 accompanied 37057 through Wigton at about 1845, if you could let me know it would be appreciated.

Where was I? ah yes, Carlisle, There is an old EWS Depot just off the mainline here, There is nothing in it now, infact I think every pane of glass was smashed, but if you need to know what a depot building looks like there is one there.

At Carlisle I arrive to see Scotrail's 156514 waiting to leave for Glasgow. It must have been one from Newcastle as it is listed on the departure board as a Northern Rail service. It's not my train though and I went of to the chippy just outside the station, it wasn't great but it did fill my belly.

The final trip of the day was on 156490, running as the 1941 Newcastle service and went all the way to the City. Even at 2100, the view you get of the Tyne is quite good, but as light was failing soon after I left Carlisle I can't really say what the scenery was like. I did see two cardboard cut out style Swans, minutes into the journey, but beyond that, we could have been going through a forest for all I could see! The guard was very friendly too, the dreads were a little untidy though.

So tomorrow I set out from Newcastle, it's another early start, so I better get to bed!

DAY TWO

Day two started off with the 0841 service from Newcastle which I would be taking to Berwick-on-Tweed. I should have gotten the feeling this was to be a good day as 43317 was in charge with 43277 on the rear. It has to be said I'm not a fan of the seats on these HSTs, but on the plus side it isn't a Voyager! (I suppose there was no risk of that). With nowhere n England further north, I head back to Berwick and I have a choice of XC or EC, I passed on the voyager and had 91122 providing tractive effort from the rear of the Mk4 set.

Back at Newcastle I await the 1130 Middlesborough service down to Thornaby (142021) to change for the 1248 to Saltburn. At Thornaby 142021 is not well and sure enough, having boarded the Saltburn service (another 142, 077 I think) it comes to a halt alongside Thornaby yard, 142021 has broken down. I get into Middlesborough 25 minutes late, but little did I realise the consequences of staying on board and trying to get to Saltburn.

Just before Redcar Central the Guard announces the train is terminating there, another train is following that goes to Saltburn, but knowing my schedule I inquire when it will get back to Middlesborough. "Going to Whitby?" the guard asks and I confirm that is my plan. He shakes his head, "gets back at 1422". Goodbye Saltburn I thought and the guard says that whilst I will have to get off while the train 'shunts over', I am given the impression the service back to Middlesborough will run.

Well, that was only about 1/4 right, the train did head back, but ECS and wrong line through Redcar. I let the next Saltburn train go so I can see about holding the 1416 Whitby service for my return. The office clerk bears bad news, they won't hold it "because it will block other trains". I was quite incensed at this point, but looking at the timetables they had, I decide to head back to Middlesborough on 142087 and pick up the 1446 Nunthorpe service, formed of 142086, and 1516 return, atleast I'll get part of the way.

My original plan was to be back in Middlesborough much later so I'm left with some time to kill, I decided to take 142016 to Saltburn and back, better late than never I guess. This guard is actually quite helpful and offers (I didn't ask) other options, but nothing really suits my plans. I could have gone to Whitby on the 1907, but the thought of getting to my overnight stay after 11pm doesn't feel right the way my luck appears to be going today (I was definitely right about that last bit).

Instead I try to find a food outlet in Middlesborough and then travel on to Eaglescliffe. From there I pick up the 1820 Grand Central service to York, 43467 is up front. It's only when collecting my things ready to get off that I notice something is wrong. I've left my journey folder somewhere. My mind is very much elsewhere at this point, but I have no option but to get to Scarborough on a 185 (no idea which one, it wasn't really something I thought to check) forming the 1941 service.
 
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142094

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Quite unfortunate that, what did you decide to do in the end?

I'm suprised that the Northern service from Redcar went ECS. A couple of years back I was travelled towards Saltburn when something happened (might have been a vehicle hitting a bridge). The train was terminated at Redcar, and I decided to go back to Middlesbrough. The 142 used the crossover to get back onto the right line and we were back in Middlesbrough 20 minutes later.
 

hairyhandedfool

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I left Whitby for another time. I hate that my aim has already failed, but I am pressing on with the rest of it. I think the guard expected to do that aswell, but it didn't happen this time.

DAY THREE

I took the 1000hrs Hull service (about 20 late) from Scaborough, it is 158794, and it arrives in Hull 15 down. It's not a big problem as I had a 60 minute connection, but I had wanted to find that chippy someone on here mentioned, I didn't go looking for it though and settled for a bag of Sausage Rolls for lunch. Back at the station the 1228 is formed of 142033, this took me to Hatfield and Stainforth. The routes haven't been as 'pretty' as in previous days, but they aren't bad.

There's a six minute connection at Hatfield, with 144007 forming the 1319 to Scunthorpe. From there I took 185111 on the 1403 to Haborough (I'm reliably informed that it is pronounced 'Hayborough' not 'Harborough' because there is no 'r' in it) which was ten late today. There are plenty of 66s in action round this neck of the woods it seems, lots of materials for the iron works no doubt! the small station at Haborough has to put up with me for an hour, but in that time EMT's 153381 heads to Grimsby.

153360 is on the 1519 to Barton-on-Humber, that's my next port of call before me and the unit head to Cleethorpes. Despite being a Northern service from a Northern station with a Northern unit, the crew are FTPE, I suppose that shouldn't be a shock, it's a very isolated service.

The train connections aren't to good round these parts, with a 45 minute wait for 185114 too get me back to Grimsby, I could have gone back on the 153 ofcourse, but I chose not to. 185114 has an interesting dent in the front of coach C, it's almost in the right shape for a Fold up dellner coupler, like the 57s have, but obviously they already have a dellner.

There's another wait at Grimsby Town, this time I have to wait on EMT as I need to head down to Lincoln. The 1829 is formed of 156411 and it remains fairly empty all the way. At Lincoln I have more than an hour to kill so I head of for some food. When I get back 158773 has arrived and waits to be joined by 156403 and those joining the train to Cleethorpes have to cram on a 153. I get the 2048 Boston service to Sleaford, it's 153321 and it's bang on time.

It's a two mile walk to the Travelodge and at 9pm I'm not hanging around, it is Friday night after all.

DAY FOUR

I picked up my last ticket for the trip today, the 7 day ALR. The day's travelling started with a trip down to Skegness and back to Sleaford on 158773 as the 0845 and 1015 return. I kinda glad there was only a half hour wait for the 1142 to Peterborough as it turned quite cold today. 153313 and 153308 were in use on the 1142.

There was just seven minutes time to change trains at Peterborough, the 1240 came in just about on time, however 158866 was pretty full upon departure though, maybe Norwich City FC were playing at home???. I left the Norwich service at Ely for a train upto Kings Lynn. As I arrived at Ely there was a XC Turbostar waiting to go west, but what caught my eye was the coach numbers on it, apparently 170115 is currently formed of 79115 and 50111 so presumably 170115 and 170111 have had some issues recently??

365510 forms the 1350 Kings Lynn service and 1456 to Kings Cross. At Kings Lynn 365525 and 365514 are stabled with Greater Anglia's 317504. I stick with 510 until it gets back to Ely at 1526 with the plan of taking the 1617 to Norwich, but the 365 makes good time and Greater Anglia's 1527 Norwich service is only just pulling in, so a quick run through the subway gets me onboard 170201, my first ever trip on a 170/2.

The train may stop more frequently, but I'm an hour ahead of plan by the time I get to Norwich and climb on board the 1646 to Sheringham. This service and the 1749 return utilises 156417 in the "Bittern Line" advertising livery today. It arrives back in to Norwich four minutes after the 1833 to Great Yarmouth, but with the next train at 1933 I'm still ahead. 47501 and 47802 are making their way into Norwich with a couple of Mk3s and a DVT when I'm on 150280 heading for Great Yarmouth, my next overnight stop.

DAY FIVE

Day five started with the 0820 service to Norwich (via Reedham). For some reason trains from Great Yarmouth to Norwich via Reedham start 7 hours earlier on a Sunday than any other day!. 156407 was in charge and I went as far as Reedham, Reedham is only a village and so it's not the best place for a 40 minute connection. From here I took the 0916 to Lowestoft which was formed of 156422. From Lowestoft another 156 was to take me on to Westerfield (1005 service), ex-central 156412 in this case, before National Express liveried 156419 took me to Felixstowe (1211) and then to Ipswich (1235). 70009 was amongst the gathered Freightliner locos in the yard here.

From here on I was in electric territory though and 360106 and 360104 formed the 1309 Liverpool Street service which took me the short distance to Manningtree. 321307 was working the Harwich Town shuttle (1326 service and 1353 return), 321319 was stabled in Harwich International station and there were aound six other 321s in the yard, although I would've needed some binoculars to get the numbers. Another pair of 360s formed the 1419 service from Manningtree to London, although again it is a short trip for me as I get off at Colchester.

360115 and 360119 are on the 1436 to Clacton, but for now I'm headed to Thorpe-le-Soken for the Walton-on-the-Naze shuttle service. There is only two minutes at Thorpe-le-Soken and as my train is four minutes late leaving Colchester I have concerns, but the good folk in the signal box make sure 321330, on the 1500, doesn't leave before I get there. The 1530 service back from Walton-on-the-Naze arrives in time for the 360s to ferry people back to London, but I wait for 360116 and 360113 which head to Clacton as the 1558, before heading to London as the 1636 service.

I jump off (not literally) at Shenfield to catch the 1750 Southend Victoria service (321422). It is a couple of minutes down by Wickford and rather than run across for the 1805 Southminster service I go and find a food outlet (not easy at 1800 on a Sunday!). Successful in my quest, me and my burger wait for 321444 and the 1905 service. This unit returns to Wickford as the 2005 and after 25 minutes of waiting there 321422 picks me up again on it's way to Southend Victoria.

I take the opportunity to book into my hotel as I make my way across to Southend Central for the 2206 service to Shoeburyness. It is 357219 and it takes the final service of the night back to London, the 2235, which I leave at Central.

DAY SIX

I'd forgotten what commuter time in London was like, so it didn't cross my mind when I planned a trip on the 0748 service from Southend Central to Pitsea. Fortunately 357039 and 357226 were following closely behind a 12 car London bound train. At Pitsea I changed to 357030, the 0812 to Fenchurch Street via Grays. I got off at West Ham to make my way to Stratford International.

I had wanted a trip on HS1 since it opened and this was the perfect chance to get that done. I had planned plenty of time to get there so I thought I had time to pick up some tea bags (my supply was dangerously low!). Anyone intending to walk between the stations at Stratford rather than wait for the DLR should note that the only good signage I saw for the International station was directing people to use the DLR and as a result I went wrong somewhere. I missed the 0932 Faversham service that I had planned on catching by two minutes, but had plenty of time to get a ride on 395014 (1002 running two minutes late) to Gravesend and on 395029 (1051 from Gravesend) to Sittingbourne.

466010 was on the 1140 Sittingbourne to Sheerness-on-sea and 1202 return, arriving back in Sittingbourne just in time for the 1229 Ramsgate service, formed of 375603. The trains into Ramsgate miss the Ashford International (via Dover) service by four minutes, so after 56 minutes wait, 375822 departs with the 1422 to London Charing Cross with me onboard.

There seems to be more locos at Dollands Moor than wagons as I pass by, with possibly as many as eight class 92s alone waiting for their next job, including GBRf's 92032. At Ashford I have a four minute connection to the 1532 Brighton service, it's 171727, the only diesel unit I will be on all day.

I leave the Turbostar at Lewes and board 313211, running as the 1724 to Seaford. It runs back to Brighton as the 1758 service, and on arrival I change from one 313 to another, 313207, for the short hop to Hove (1848 service). This connects with the 1858 to Littlehampton, formed of 377427/424/412.

At Littlehampton I'm back on a 313, this time 313212, to go to Bognor Regis. It's back on to a 377 for a short hop back to Barnham to board 377133 on the 2051 Portsmouth Harbour service. It arrives just in time for me to see a SWT 450 disappear northwards. So I go back to 377133, which is set to runs as the 2140 Three Bridges service, but I'm only going to Portsmouth and Southsea for a nights rest.

DAY SEVEN

Despite oversleeping, I make it to Portsmouth and Southsea station in time for the 0838 service to Southampton, it's an hour trip onboard 450014. There's just 5 minutes at Southampton Central before 220013 arrives with the 0943, which I take to Brockenhurst. There are plenty of signs about explaining that Lymington Pier station is closed until further notice, it's a real shame, but there is nothing I can do about it and at this point I can't afford the delay of a bus even if I wanted to. So 158881 is on the shuttle today and leaves at 1012 for Lymington Town.

The return trip arrives just in time for me to charge onto the 1038 service to Weymouth, I have to make my way through the train to the front five coaches as it Splits at Bournemouth and I can't say what unit I boarded, but it was 444015 that I got to Weymouth on. During the trip I start contemplating how this has affected my journey, I figure I can get there by about 1200, and maybe if the next service is hourly I'll be ahead of schedule by 60 minutes. It turns out that there isn't a 1210 to Yeovil Junction, so I go off for some food before the 1310.

The 1310 is formed of 150261 and 153370 and spend nearly the whole trip as the only occupant of the 153. At Yeovil Pen Mill I check out where to get the bus to Junction, I planned for 90 minutes for this, you just never know what's going to happen. It appears I'm not the only one going to Yeovil Junction, the station staff are struggling to convey the information to an oriental gentleman (Chinese I think). I offer to help out and the clerk seems relieved to have him out of his hands. I didn't know what I was letting myself in for, but eventually it is clear the chap is going with me much further. The bus turns up at 1420 (it's half hourly for most of the day), just 15 minutes after I got there and once again I have notions of being an hour early, but after getting off the bus at Yeovil Junction I see the 1439 pull out, giving me an hour here explaining over and over to the chap what he has to do.

159017 is on the 1539 and it's nice to see a train with proper seats again. At Exeter Central I say goodbye to my Chinese friend who is off to St Davids for onward travel, I feel for the staff there, I really do. But he has left me with four oranges and two bananas, to be honest I can only think this was his way of saying thank you, I did try to say no, but I guess this is a Chinese thing.

At Exeter Central I board 143611 forming the 1653 to Exmouth, I hadn't expected to see them down here, but it seems there are plenty about. My plan here was to get the 1758 to Paignton from here, but I travel back to Exeter St Davids on 143611 (1725) just in case there is a better connection.

As luck would have it the 1745 Penzance service is twenty down and stops at Newton Abbot. It's arrives in the form of 220010 and has some seats going spare. Approaching Newton Abbot the guard announces that he is sorry for the further delay but we are following a stopping train ahead. It is the 1825 from Newton Abbot to Paignton and the staff hold it for a couple of minutes for passengers from the Voyager, including me there is one, but I'm not complaining.

I happily climb on 153305 and, with 153369, it heads off to Paignton. If I had waited at Exmouth, I'd have had an hour at this seaside town, but the 153 pairing are heading back to Newton Abbot after just 5 minutes wait. When I arrive there, I meet the 1758 off of Exmouth heading the other way, I could go back again, but I don't choosing the 1942 Penzance service, behind 43165, to get me to my overnight stay in Plymouth, arriving 85 minutes ahead of schedule.
 
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W-on-Sea

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Ha, I was wondering how you were going to treat the extremely lengthy and complex Essex coastline. Glad to see you didn't miss a bit (well, at least, since the Brightlingsea and Maldon branchlines closed anyway). A glorious coastline, far too often underrated and overlooked, is that of Essex.
 

eastwestdivide

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Possibly the wrong time to say this, but if you're aiming to cover all the lines nearest the coast, you might have missed a bit! The section in N Kent through Northfleet station between the bridge over HS1 and the junction by the chalk pit would be nearer the coast than the linking line between HS1 and the NK line through platforms 5/6 of Ebbsfleet.
Great theme for a journey though. I once did Medway Towns-Weymouth round the coast, starting on the 3am newspaper train.
 

hairyhandedfool

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I'm glad to see people are enjoying reading this. I have to say I'm glad I'm doing it, it is a new experience for me and one I have almost completely enjoyed.

Possibly the wrong time to say this, but if you're aiming to cover all the lines nearest the coast, you might have missed a bit! The section in N Kent through Northfleet station between the bridge over HS1 and the junction by the chalk pit would be nearer the coast than the linking line between HS1 and the NK line through platforms 5/6 of Ebbsfleet....

Gravesend to Swanscombe you mean, I was aware of that, I did wonder if someone would pick up on it, I'll be honest, I considered it a 'nice to do' rather than a necessity, having missed Whitby already (I would probably have thought differently had I managed to get there). If I had managed to get the 0932 out of Stratford I could easily have covered it (1002 to Swanscombe and 1018 return), but I was wary of trying to do it having missed that HS1 service.

DAY EIGHT

It was a late start from Plymouth, heading west on the 0921 Penzance service, 150243 was quite busy, but I guess that's not unexpected for an all stops service at that time. It connects quite well at Liskeard with the 0958 to Looe. I have to say the views from 150123 are something else on this line, the gradient down to Coombe Junction Halt is really scenic, and even in Looe station itself the view is quite something.

I return to Liskeard on the 1032, where there is a short wait for 150102 on the 1112 Penzance service. This gets me, rather slowly, to Truro, where 153380 and 153361 form the 1220 to Falmouth and 1250 return. This gives me half an hour to get a nice hot cuppa and a double chocolate muffin from the Pumpkin café (my Bite card has really been useful on this trip) before my next train.

To my slight disappointment it is 150219 on the 1357 to Penzance, I remain on this unit at Penzance and head back past Long Rock Depot (there was very little 'on shed' today) to St Erth for the St Ives shuttle. It's only a fifteen minute run each way, so I could easily get three returns in, but I want a trip on an HST in Cornwall, so I leave it at the 1518 and 1533 return on board 150123.

This allows me to get on the 1610 London Paddington service (43042 leading 43027) and find my way into coach D. For those who don't know, this is the 'entertainment coach' on First Great Western HSTs, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed you have to pay for some of the services, although I'm not surprised (it's £1.75 at the buffet or £3 by text, headphones available separately), but the live map is quite cool and aids me to know when my stop is approaching.

I get off at Par, and as I had predicted to myself, my progress is halted somewhat by the two hourly service on the Newquay Branch. 153305 and 153369 are on the line and I can't help wondering if these units might be better used elsewhere and a 150 put in their place, but I suppose FGW have no choice, they clearly rotate units round each day. Anyway, I get on board for the 1829 service from Par and 1925 return. I'm back in time to board 150243 at Par, it's forming the 2019 to Plymouth, but it's not my last train today.

I leave the Sprinter at Keyham, now, I will warn anyone making this trip, this appears to be the only station in the area with no signs to say on which platform you should wait for trains and timetables for both directions are on both platforms.

Having just got off a Plymouth bound train and looking at the local signalling, I make a choice to stand on platform two (having arrived on one), and fortunately I have made the right choice. 150102 arrives at 2137 with the last train to Gunnislake. The 150 then forms the 2221 back to Plymouth, again the last of the day, and I arrive back at Plymouth at 2306.

DAY NINE

The penultimate day of the trip and I'm starting to head north. It starts with 150266 on the 0806 Cardiff Central service, I'm on board until Exeter St. Davids.

With Okehampton not having any services for a few weeks atleast (Summer Saturdays only), I have to leave that (if I can't get there by rail, I can't get there), but I do get a few minutes before the 0927 Barnstaple service, which today is formed of 150120. There is a slight delay at Eggesford because a 143 working from Barnstaple hasn't arrived to hand over the single line token, but by the time 150120 reaches the terminus it's back on time and ready for the 1043 return working.

Back at Exeter St. Davids, I'm picked up by 43176 and 43169 for a short hop to Taunton, to catch another Cardiff Central service, the 1307 via Weston-Super-Mare formed of 158798, as far as Bristol Temple Meads.

The plan here was to get to Severn Beach on the 1516 and 1554 return, but because of some kids playing on the line at Stapleton Road (I note the announcer is very keen to point that out), 150261 arrives into Bristol about 10 minutes late. FGW have decided there is no make up time (it's due into Severn Beach at 1553), so it's only going to Avonmouth. I can't afford to wait for the next service (it's one train every two hours) and the taxi FGW are putting on for passengers kind of defeats the object, so I head to Avonmouth and travel back from there on the 1604.

Back at Bristol I have about 55 minutes to kill so I go looking around the station and 31285 is just behind platform 2 with the Structure Gauge Train. Although I can only see one side, it's a good chance to get some photos. Afterwards I head off to see what platform my next train is from.

Once again it is a Cardiff service, but this time I planned to go to Patchway and back to Filton Abbey Wood for a Gloucester bound train. At this point it is worth noting that Patchway is not the last station in England on this line, Pilning is, but not unlike Okehampton, there is no service today, It only has one train a week and I don't have two days to hang around. Things aren't going quite to plan though.

The 1721 is 7 minutes late and I have a 4 minute connection at both Patchway and Filton Abbey Wood. I search around the timetables and there aren't many options, so I stick with the 1721, three car 150121 (the third coach is 57212). Sure enough my connection is missed and the 1739 from Patchway passes me before I get there. So I make the decision to carry on to Severn Tunnel Junction, this does atleast get me to Pilling and beyond.

Having gotten off the 150 I look round to see what the next train back is. As it happens, the late running service arrives two minutes before the 1755 Portsmouth service (158952), so a quick change of platform and I'm back to Bristol Temple Meads at 1825, in time for the 1841 Great Malvern service.

Somehow, my plan had me picking this service up at Gloucester, I believe because of the way I planned the route, but I'm back on time, that's the main thing. It's formed of 153377 and 153372, which get quite busy intially, must be home time in Bristol.

I'm on the 153s all the way to Worcester Foregate Street, over 90 minutes away, and arrive at 2022. My last train for the day is the 2046 to Hereford. Although most services from Foregate Street to Hereford are London Midland services, this one is Great Western, and an HST at that, 43079 is in charge, a good end to the day.
 
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Very interesting read. I might do something similar one day myself too.

Ferry Exmouth to Starcross.

I wouldn't bother with that, given that it is not on rails and the train via St Davids doesn't take that long anyway.

The 1310 is formed of 150261 and 153370 and spend nearly the whole trip as the only occupant of the 153. At Yeovil Junction I check out where to get the bus to Pen Mill, I planned for 90 minutes for this, you just never know what's going to happen. It appears I'm not the only one going to Pen Mill, the station staff are struggling to convey the information to an oriental gentleman (Chinese I think). I offer to help out and the clerk seems relieved to have him out of his hands. I didn't know what I was letting myself in for, but eventually it is clear the chap is going with me much further. The bus turns up at 1420 (it's half hourly for most of the day), just 15 minutes after I got there and once again I have notions of being an hour early, but after getting off the bus at Yeovil Pen Mill I see the 1439 pull out, giving me an hour here explaining over and over to the chap what he has to do.

I think you have Junction and Pen Mill mixed up. ;)
 

hairyhandedfool

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Ah yes, that's a hazard with writing these out after a long day I guess, corrected now.

DAY TEN

The last day of my trip starts out from Hereford at 0827, on board 175102, with the Arriva Trains Wales service to Holyhead, I get off at Craven Arms though and pick up 150208 on the 0928 Swansea service for a trip down the Heart of Wales line to Knighton.

It's a good job it's picturesque here, I've more than two hours to kill. The town is very hilly but the is a cafe open about midway up and a few minutes walk from the station, the owner, it seems, is not a fan of walkers, despite the trade they bring his way thanks to Offa's Dyke Path, but I can see validity in the points he makes.

1218 soon arrives and 150260 gives me a lift through to Shrewsbury, where I board 158821 for a quick trip to Gobowen, 158833 brings me back to Shrewsbury as the 1356 service. I'm off to Crewe next on the 1452 (175111), to pick up 221109 on the 1549 to Chester.

It's back on to the Merseyrail network next and, as the 1631 Liverpool Central service, 507019 takes me to Hamilton Square (Birkenhead), from there I pick up 507025. I should head to Biston to pick up a train headed for Neston, but it's a bank holiday and I can't be certain the return train at 1823 is running (I don't fancy hanging around there for three hours, although if I had managed to get to Whitby, Lymington Pier and Severn Beach I might have felt differently), so I head through to West Kirby on the 1715. 507025 heads back as the 1751 to Central and I jump off at Birkenhead North.

507033 arrives there at 1817 heading to New Brighton, which I take and remain on board for the 1838 to get me to Moorfields in time for the 1910 to Southport, which tonight is 507005. I have just one train left to catch, but I'm a little earlier than planned (I was aiming for the 1925 to Southport and the 2123 from there) so I join 150140 on the 2023 to Manchester Airport, although I bail out at Piccadilly. I'm not certain what time the train crossed the Ormskirk-Preston line, but it completes the circle for me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have really enjoyed this trip, it's been a learning experience for sure, I know I didn't do everything I set out to, and for the most part I feel it was beyond my control, I have no doubt there will be a next time, but with lessons to learn from and a base plan to work with, I'm sure a trip completely around the coasts and borders of England, within two weeks, is an achievable aim.

Through the trip I've managed to get a ride on the services of all but four of the TOCs and OAOs. Just London Midland, Hull Trains, Scotrail and Chiltern Railways were not used, but to be fair, the latter two of those would have been very hard to use on this trip.

Overall, I think it has been a very worthwhile experience.
 
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Techniquest

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Just read this, absolutely loved the read. An excellent idea for a trip, I like the idea a lot and may try to do the same sort of thing myself one day.
 
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