Heart of Wales 50

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Sprinter

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My day started a little before 0700 walking up to Walthamstow Central to board a Victoria Line train to Victoria. Just managed to walk down the platform to get in the front coach before the signal cleared and doors closed (the front coach being closest to the exit at Victoria).

Got to Victoria in about 35 minutes so had plenty of time to walk through the mainline station and up to the Greenline Coach station where I noted the following Megabus vehicles in attendance: 50136, 50140, 50143, 50054 and 13625 which just happened to be my bus up to Watford Gap services. Nice Olympian thrash up the M1, just a good job I was heading out of London and not inbound as the traffic in the roadworks between Junction 6 and 11 southbound was crawling at best!!

At Watford Gap, my connecting bus to Birmingham was running late, so those passengers for Coventry and Birmingham had to decamp off 13625 which after a driver change sped off towards Leeds. After a short delay 52621 pulled into the services picked me and the other half dozen passengers for Cov/B'ham up and soon we were back on the road.

The route to Coventry was fairly straight forward as it was a simple run along the M45 and A45 to Cannon Park Shopping Centre. The route after that to Birmingham Snow Hill was much more interesting in that once we joined back on the A45 I thought the driver would stick to the A45 all the way into Birmingham. Wrong! Turned into the M42 n/b, then M6 w/b only to turn off again one junction later at Junction 5. The reason for turning off at junction 5 and not junction 6 as would be logical was that the M6 w/b exit slip at J6 was closed thus an alternative way had to be sought.

Whilst I can't remember the exact details of the diversion I do remember going through the Heartlands area past the Jaguar factory and further along the A47 a freight yard came into view in which I noted 66038 and 66055 parked up, of which 66038 I needed to see. Finally came back to the A38 and to the Megabus stop alongside Snow Hill station.

At the stop I noted fellow Megabus 52619 having attention by a mobile mechanic from Rugby. I went into Snow Hill Station in an attempt to find my last CT Sprinter 150004, but to no avail. However I did see 150011 being run about in two car formation without 57111, meaning 150/2 52204 on one end and 150/0 52111 on the other, looked very odd!

After leaving Snow Hill I walked through the centre of town over to New Street to find a train over to Shrewsbury. I let the 1157 CT all stopper go and placed my trust in ATW's 1233 departure. At around 1208 I noted the arrivals screen say this train was "terminated at Wolves". Typical!!! So I looked on the departures screen to a find a train to Wolves of which the 1212 Pendo was the first one out.

Down onto platform 4 I went to await the Pendo whereby I noted 82131 and a Skoda set parked up on platform 6. My Pendo to Wolves was 390027. At Wolves the ATW train was on platform 3 as a 4 coach set with 158851 leading 837, I boarded the latter unit. Soon after leaving Wolves, the Oxley depot complex came into view of which I noted 87023 and 08653 berthed in a siding (both of which I needed). Alighted at Shrewsbury to await the 1405 Heart of Wales line departure, however I found out that the 1349 to Milford Haven would depart first, so I hopped aboard for just one stop to Church Stretton for station ticking purposes and await the HoW train there. Soon enough 153320 and 153303 came into view but boarding the train at Church Stretton meant I had lost all chances of getting a table seat thus had to settle for an airline seat.

Between Craven Arms and Llandrindod, the train only stopped at Knighton, Knucklas and Llanbister Road, passing all other stations. I alighted at Llandrindod and noted the unit going the other way was 150279! The loco hauled extra train wasn't due off until 1745, so I had a little wonder into town before reurning to the station to watch the shunt move take place with photographers recording every move!

As soon as the gaurd unlocked the doors I hopped aboard and got rather friendly with the gaurd as the refreshment trolley stocks were being loaded into the gaurds van (about the only time the HoW line gets a trolley!!) I overheard that on the previous day that the trolley completely sold out so had bought extra stocks for today. At Builth Wells the platform was absolute rammed with some people having boarded the train not able to find a seat!

The journey along the rest of the HoW seemed to take forever, as we stopped at every station, even those request stops such as Sugar Loaf! As soon the 50 turned onto the Swansea District line however, speed soon picked up as the train was slightly behind schedule. At Port Talbot Parkway, many people disemberked and ran across the platform to board a waiting HST towards Swansea. As the train left Port Talbot I noted the hillside overlooking the town was on fire!!

I saw the screen at Bridgend and by this time the 50 was 13 minutes behind schedule and fianlly pulled into Cardiff platform 1 around 2115. Thus I didn't spend much time at Cardiff before my 2125 FGW departure to London, formed of Adelante 180104 (drat). At Bristol Parkway the driver changed ends as this train is routed via Dr Day's and non-stop through Bath Spa to Swindon. FINALLY doing the Dr Day's line after several attempts at doing it!!! Arriving into Paddington roughly on time at 0013.

--Can anyone explain why the B'ham- Llandrindod fare was £13.35 yet Llandrindod- Cardiff is only £10 Birmingham is closer to Llandrindod than Cardiff?

That ends my report. Hope You enjoye dreading it.
 
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yorkie

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Sprinter said:
--Can anyone explain why the B'ham- Llandrindod fare was £13.35 yet Llandrindod- Cardiff is only £10 Birmingham is closer to Llandrindod than Cardiff?
Rail fares outside England are subsidised more, as the powers-that-be in everywhere other than England value train services, so the fares are lower.

(Although FSR are trying to ensure the fares in Scotland rise so fast that they may become more expensive than England - but that's another story!!)
 

paul1609

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yorkie said:
Rail fares outside England are subsidised more, as the powers-that-be in everywhere other than England value train services, so the fares are lower.

(Although FSR are trying to ensure the fares in Scotland rise so fast that they may become more expensive than England - but that's another story!!)
I think youll find that the highest subsidies actually go to the users of the following services;
Island Rail
Northern
MerseyRail
all of which are in England.
 

Techniquest

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B'ham - Llandrindod will probably be controlled more by CT or Virgin. Llandrindod - Cardiff is probably controlled by ATW, being an entirely ATW-operated route.

Glad you had fun on the HoW. I must say trolleys are not that rare any more on the route, as an independant company operates it locally from Llandrindod, where they are based. They don't do every run up and down, but they definately run trolleys up and down quite often!
 

AlexS

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Tangy: Always go for the CT all shacks train to Shrewsbury over the ATW train, the ATW has a reliability figure somewhere in the single figures. The all shacks is a 170 and gets there about 10 - 15 minutes before the ATW.

As for 150011, 57111 is in for fire damage after some scrotes set fire to the toilet and destroyed the wheelslip prevention equipment.
 

andel

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WSXFan said:
B'ham - Llandrindod will probably be controlled more by CT or Virgin. Llandrindod - Cardiff is probably controlled by ATW, being an entirely ATW-operated route.

Glad you had fun on the HoW. I must say trolleys are not that rare any more on the route, as an independant company operates it locally from Llandrindod, where they are based. They don't do every run up and down, but they definately run trolleys up and down quite often
OK:
1) the whole journey from B'hm to Llandrindod is ATW ran.
2) the company who runs the station in Llan'dod are friends of mine - good blokes.
3) Should've told me you were there - I was the wheelchair passenger on board - Debs (the guard) and I were nattering most of the way.
 

David

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Sprinter said:
Nice Olympian thrash up the M1, just a good job I was heading out of London and not inbound as the traffic in the roadworks between Junction 6 and 11 southbound was crawling at best!!
Yep! I've been caught up in them a few times, and expect to be delayed by them a few more times yet. I don't know what they are doing there, but's it's been a while, and the roadwords is scheduled to carry on for a fair while yet....

Sprinter said:
The route after that to Birmingham Snow Hill was much more interesting in that once we joined back on the A45 I thought the driver would stick to the A45 all the way into Birmingham. Wrong! Turned into the M42 n/b, then M6 w/b only to turn off again one junction later at Junction 5. The reason for turning off at junction 5 and not junction 6 as would be logical was that the M6 w/b exit slip at J6 was closed thus an alternative way had to be sought.
It's a lot quicker to get to Snow Hill that way, than travelling straight up the A45. And as for the roadworks @ J6.... They have been going on for what seems forever (nearly 3 years by my reckoning), and they hope (?!?) to have them completed by Christmas this year. The lane and slip road closures fairly b****r me up every time i have to go to Birmingham....
 

yorkie

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andel said:
OK:
1) the whole journey from B'hm to Llandrindod is ATW ran.
I think WSXFan is saying the fares may not be set by ATW. I have no idea who sets those fares and there's no easy way to find out, but it's not always the TOC that operates over the majority of the route. This leads to many fare anomalies. It is very possible to get a ticket priced by e.g. Virgin, and never step foot on a Virgin train.
 

Mojo

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paul1609 said:
I think youll find that the highest subsidies actually go to the users of the following services;
Island Rail
Northern
MerseyRail
all of which are in England.
Also let's not forget that the Scots and Welsh have more money, per capita spent on them, a large proportion of that excess from English taxpayers.
 
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