For a while now I've been thinking whether to post trip reports or not. Finally decided that I should go for it :P. --- old post above --- --- new post below --- Tuesday 16 December 2014: DayTripper, West Midlands For the two days before I went, I looked several times at the Advance ticket prices from London to Birmingham and back, as I was in two minds over whether I really wanted to go or not and whether I’d enjoy it. I only made the decision to go with just minutes before the midnight deadline for Advance tickets! £5.95 each on LM, 0913 outward, 1854 return, not the cheapest £3.95 each but that’d do. So I got up at 0630 to get ready, had a shower and breakfast (just Weetabix as usual ). Left around 0800, slightly later than I’d have liked, as it left things a bit tight. Journey time is 40-50 minutes to Euston from where I am. There is actually a choice of three routes from. All starting with the DLR, but either via Poplar and Northern Line from Bank, Jubilee from Canning Town and Northern from London Bridge, or Jubilee with Victoria Line from Green Park. The DLR option is up to 5 mins slower but both Jubilee Line options are roughly equal. DLR from Gallions Reach was the first thing, touching in at 0808 for the train at 0814, running every 8 minutes during the peak but every 5 at other times (since changed to something more complex). Didn’t bother noting down the units which is normal for me with DLR and London Underground (if I even attempt to identify them in the first place). Last car as usual on a Tower Gateway train in order to be next to the escalator at Canning Town, and the ride passed uneventfully. To the Jubilee Line, they’re very busy at this time westbound and even in the leading car I can’t get a seat from there, but emptied a fair amount at Canary Wharf. Usually I have a choice of seats in this car. At London Bridge, where I switch to the Northern Line via the signposted stairs which were also busy. Somehow squashed onto the Northern Line in one of the two motor cars in the middle, and even got a seat a few stations later; normally I’d wait for a slightly less busy one but had no time after leaving a bit late. Off at Euston to walk to the front end of the platform for the escalators up, touching out at 0859. Up to the concourse and ticket machines to print off the tickets, then to Platform 8 to join my train. It was 350110 on the 0913 Birmingham New Street, which had detached from 350373, so a good start seeing these new ones (saw two others as well). Luckily Coach A was leading, which left the composite coach as the second one, where I went to locate what was then my favourite seat, last row in the non-toilet third of the coach (since changed due to poor ride at speed when sitting over the bogies). Good thrash down the fast until on the approach to Leighton Buzzard, our first stop. From ther journey became more tedious with the frequent stops, struggling to keep myself awake at one point. Very rough ride quality from Northampton to Long Buckby which was not good, non-stop sideways movement. Arrival at New Street was 1117, which was a welcome relief. Straight away I set off for the ticket machines trying to look for my main ticket for the day, the nNetwork DayTripper. Struggled to find it, it wasn’t in the “popular tickets” section, and beginning with “nn” brought up the anytime version which I didn’t need. Thought I'd go toilet first before the ticket office, but couldn’t find them and couldn’t see any signs for the toilets. Ended up walking outside where the taxis were and the whole length of the station trying to get back in. Off into the Bullring shopping centre then, another length of the station, followed by a long corridor, which was a very long walk, and spending 10 minutes more trying to find the toilets in the shopping centre. Again a lack of signs, and maps were confusing, eventually finding them tucked in the corner. Then afterwards I went looking at some stuff in the Apple store, as well as other phone shops. I eventually got back to New Street an hour after I’d got there, and I still hadn’t done any bashing! What a long walk it was back to the station, with the walk on the outside of the station never ending. Still needed to get the Daytripper, back to the machines where I did find the ticket after typing in “Daytripper”, but decided to get it from the Network West Midlands office instead. This was to see what ticket stock they used, and I wasn’t disappointed! Noticed bus maps there, picked up a few of these, as well as a few LM timetables. Finally off to my first train, after much looking at the boards, it was the 1239 to Wolverhampton that I settled on. That was 350266, which I’d seen an hour earlier on its previous working to Walsall. 26 minutes to Wolverhampton, where I set out looking for the bus station. Got there, then couldn’t decide what route to go on. Much looking at the maps, then settled on a choice of two routes, whichever came first. The honours fell to Trident ALX400 4597 (BX54DCY) on the 529, so off to Walsall I was. That was a good route, fast a good bus and driver. 45 mins later, I got off at Walsall Bus Station. Time to go looking for food. I found Dixy Chicken, time for chicken nuggets and chips! Ate them on the way back towards the bus station, looking at my next route to go on while I was finishing them. The X51 limited stop to Birmingham caught my eye, and was happy when I saw Euro 4 E400 4765 (BV57XKJ). High backed leather seats too. Couldn’t sit on my preferred right hand side due to a spillage, so sat on the left. Another decent run, part of it on dual carriageways with lots of flyovers and underpasses, although no E400 thrash which I was looking for! Got off at Bull Street around 1515 and found the bus displaying 997E! Around the corner to Moor Street Station, where I noticed the heritage-looking fittings. Seeing 67008 on layover, I took a photo of it, as well as a couple of buses outside. Then it was time to board a train, 172342 on the 1519 to Worcester Foregate Street was the choice. Bus stop bash to Snow Hill for the trams. What a long way round to go from the trains to the trams. Missed one so I had to wait in the strong wind. No idea which one I got, but it was one of the new ones. These really have rock hard seats, not the Class 387 that everyone moans about! Off at The Hawthorns. 172345 on the 1556 for Whitlock’s End, back to Moor Street. Left the station and saw a 957 to Solihull, just made it. It was a Euro 5 E400 this time, 4907 (BX13JWG). Bit of a boring route this one, started falling asleep! I managed to get off about a mile early from Solihull Station, in the town centre. So it was 2095 (BX12DKF) all to myself on the 37 to take me the final mile to the station. Next train was 172211+172335 at 1717 for Worcester Foregate Street, taking that to Moor Street. Time to walk through the shopping centre again to get to New Street, eventually getting there by 1800. Still 50 mins until my return train so it was time to get 323217 on a bus stop bash to University (1814 to Longbridge). Over the footbridge to get 323243 back at 1825 (train for Lichfield City), seeing 150107 to Worcester while waiting for it. About 1830 now. 350116 was to become my return train. However the Advance ticket had a twist. It had a change at Rugby to a faster service, saving 27 minutes even after waiting for 22 minutes! The guard on the first train didn’t know how to say Berkhamsted, and instead sounded like Birkenhead, which I found amusing . Off at Rugby then and into the waiting room. This is where I got lucky. 350369 turned up a few minutes early from Crewe, on the 1953 to Euston, arriving Euston 2050 (the other one would have arrived 2117). Found a table seat in the composite coach, again the same third as previous, but it was the third coach so I was right at the front of the coach. Lots of fluff on the floor from the new carpet. Seemed to have a smoother ride than the older ones, but then it was brand new as well . Plug socket was available at the table which I made use of . Arrival at Euston about 4 minutes late, just enough time to get a photo of the interior before others boarded it, as well as an exterior shot. Out of the barriers, and decided to do down the subway there to the underground to touch in at 2100. Northern Line again and one of the centre motor coaches, but at London Bridge is where the fun started. Distracted by my phone, I went up the escalators towards the exit! Not a problem, as there are escalators down to the Jubilee. As I was used to Waterloo and the right hand platform being the eastbound, I went that way, boarding the 4th coach on a train that had just pulled in, without looking at the signs. Again on my phone, before “National Rail Services” on the screen caught my eye. I thought that was odd, as Canada Water doesn’t show that. What happened? I’d taken the westbound and was two stops away at Waterloo! . Got off and went to the other side to return, not believing that I’d made such a mistake! Finally on the right track (pun intended ), to Canning Town where the next DLR to Gallions Reach was on the lower platforms. Leading car this time to be close to the exit, and 2-car consist as usual for the Stratford International branch. Touch out at 2154 to walk in at exactly 2200, including the time wasted going in the wrong direction . It was a fun day in the end. The longest I’d spent bashing at the time, as well as my most ambitious. Good to get out of my comfort zone. Also happy that I’d bothered checking and noting down everything National Rail that I went on, something I often forgot to do, but have a long way to go for LUL and DLR . £11.90 Advance tickets, £6.20 Daytripper, Total £18.10 (Oyster season used in London).