Iskra's Odysseys

Iskra

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11 Jun 2014
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Chapeltown, Sheffield
Ok, so I used to 'spot' as a teenager. For the first time in 10 years though today I used the railway purely for recreation. I didn't bother taking numbers down, I just rode trains- I don't know if this has a particular name. Anyway, here goes...

This trip took in some very scenic lines, and a couple of areas where I have previously lived so that's why I chose these journeys.

Ticket types:

Cumbria Day Ranger £40.50 bought at Leeds
North East Round Robin £46.00 bought at Leeds

Traction travelled on:

43 (125/HST), 153, 156, 158, 185(2), 221, 333.

Operators Travelled

NT, TPE, VT, EC

Where I went/Traction:

I arrived at Leeds earlier than expected so instead of the 0851 Leeds-Carlisle, my day went as follows;

0826 NR Leeds-Skipton. Class 333. 1st mistake of the day. I accidentally boarded this service and then remembered that my ticket wasn't allowed to be used before 0845- the ticket office lady didn't tell me that (then again, it does explain why the barriers didn't want to let me through). ...So, I walked to the very front of the 4-car train in order to try and be as far away from the guard as possible. This worked, the guard got to me just as he needed to open the doors at Shipley. I think he was surprised that I had a ticket at all (this was clearly the fare-dodgers' end of the train), nevermind a 'North East Round Robin', he seemed shocked and without mentioning any restrictions checked my ticket and asked me if I was going anywhere nice. Pleasant guy.

0924 NR Skipton-Carlisle Class 158+153- sat in the 158. After a short wait at Skipton I boarded the train I originally intended to catch. I upset some lady who had taken over a table and 4-seats on her own by sitting with her. I immediately regretted this as she was forever arguing with the voice control on her phone and broadcasting her life to the rest of the train. It was a nice atmospheric trip over the S&C, it was raining throughout but not enough to spoil visibility, just enough to make it seem wild and barren-especially Blea Moor. The train had numerous S&C volunteers on it, which was nice to see and the volunteer-run trolley service passed through twice- i bought something to support the cause. At Ribblehead we passed a Colas 66 while a log train was being loaded. RTT then filled in a blank for me telling me that the blur I'd seen going in the other direction was the Clitheroe cement train. Overall a pleasant journey, passing through my former local station at Garsdale. We were slightly late into Carlisle but it was not a problem. A DRS class 37 was seen in a siding with 3 yellow NR carriages here.

1150 NR Carlisle-Barrow in Furness. Single class 153. Approaching the unit I noticed the woman who I'd been sat with on the previous journey stood on the wrong side of the unit waiting for the doors to open. I did the decent thing and told her the doors were open on the other side, but then chose the opposite end of the unit to her for a more peaceful journey. The rain eased-off on this journey and I was even treated to some sunshine-a good job as I'd copped a leaky 153 around the windows. Shortly after leaving Carlisle we passed a DB Class 66 on what I presumed to be a RHTT. Then a pacer heading in the opposite direction (a bullet dodged). Soon there followed another RHTT this time with a DRS 66 at the rear- couldn't catch the first loco. Around Whitehaven visibility was good enough for me to be able to see both the Isle of Man and Scotland- I'd never noticed that the Isle of Man was visible before. A couple of 156's passed in the opposite direction before Sellafield. At Sellafield there were a pair of DRS 37's stabled-one was filthy so I guess it had come off a sandite working. A pleasant journey, but I was glad to get out at the other end, the seat not the best I've ever been in on a 2hr 30min long journey. At Barrow there were 2x153's stabled at platform 1. I had 20mins to kill at Barrow, I chose to go in search of food. I found a tesco express and looking at the area didn't see any signs of anything more promising, so settled for that.

1440 TPE Barrow-Lancaster Single class 185. I use TPE regularly, so didn't really have high expectations of this journey. However, I got lucky and ended up with a prized table seat and an even more valuable plug socket for my phone. The conductor even asked a nearby family to put a device on silent and advised headphones in the future- I thought that good of him, even though I'd already deployed my own headphone's by this point. After the scenic S&C and the Cumbrian Coast I was expecting to be underwhelmed on this leg, however the scenery really took my breath away- especially some of the sea-views with the sun starting to set. I'd completely forgotten what a nice line this is was. As we approached Carnforth (another place where I am a former resident) I was naturally ready to nosy at what was in the WCRC sidings. I got a good view of WCRC 57's, 47's, 37's and a 31(33?) there was also a DRS 57 and an Ian Riley 37 in Intercity livery as well as all the usual coaches that never seem to move. As we approached Lancaster I saw a TOE 350 going in the opposite direction- still need to ride one of those! On arrival at Lancaster I caught a 142 & 153 in platform 5. Then a DRS 66 hauled container train passed heading North. Then two express 390 passed through- 1 in each direction. Lancaster would be the last former home-town of the trip.

1608 VT Lancaster-Carlisle. 2x class 221. The platform was packed ahead of this arrival, and I was concerned it would be just 1x22x. A very helpful dispatch lady radioed to find where I should wait for the unreserved carriage(s) and informed me it would be a double set. Thus I managed to find a seat although it wasn't in the direction of travel as I would normally prefer. Another stunning journey from a scenic perspective with some cracking dusk views over the Lakes, I could even see fog/mist rising out of the grass as the night began to cool. The best thing about this journey was it was the most comfortable yet- I've never appreciated a voyager so much in my life after the 185 and 153 for 3hrs previous. We overtook the aforementioned container train just North of tebay and shortly after arriving at Carlisle the 2x 153 combo pulled in off the Cumbrian Coast. The TM didn't quite get to me to check my ticket.

1728 NR Carlisle-Newcastle. Class 156. This unit was already in the station, so I was able to secure a table-seat again. it was by now pitch black so I saw very little in terms of scenery. This does however give my an excuse to revisit this line as this was my first trip over it. On this leg we passed a Northern 156 a Scotrail 156 in Saltire livery which I was a bit surprised to see and a 142 stabled at Hexham. I was also given the opportunity to practice my Italian when two visitors bound for Newcastle kept thinking every station we slowed for on the route was Newcastle. Apparently there were some diversion in place due to overhead wire problems near Berwick, presumably that's why this journey was so popular with through passengers. A pleasant and comfortable journey.

1906 EC Newcastle-York. Class 43/125/HST. A bit of a bonus this one, a fortunate piece of late-running meant I could catch this train. Once I saw it came from Aberdeen on RTT I knew it would be a HST and I even lowered myself to running to make sure I caught it. This was my first meaningful HST journey for years (I spent the last 6 years using the WCML). And what a breath of fresh air it was to be propelled on a train without the hum and draining vibrations of a diesel engine underneath you, I'd forgotten what that was like! It was full, but I found an aisle seat and enjoyed a fast run down to York calling only at Darlington. Durham castle/cathedral looked fantastic illuminated at night. I resisted the temptation to go and lean out of the window. At York, I did stand and watch it depart to hear the engine's roar, but they didn't seem to sound as impressive as I remembered- the only disappointment on this leg. I accidentally showed the TM my invalid Cumbrian Coast rover on this train, and she didn't notice/say anything. I've always wondered if they actually bother to check what the ticket says, cleary not, but then again Newcastle does have ticket barriers and the train was rammed so I can't blame her for rushing.

2017 TPE York-Leeds. Single class 185. Well, after my previous good luck, revenge was swift. This train was packed, I stood in the aisle for most the full journey, although 2 passengers did kindly offer me a seat but there were people who were more worthy of them than me, and I had spent the whole day sat down so I declined. My ticket was checked, and the guard did a double take at my ticket and then grinned at me: the North East Round Robin ticket is worth the price just for the comedy value alone- I'm guessing conductors don't see too many of them, or they're associated with spotters!

Really enjoyed my day, will have to do it again sometime; especially along the ECML to ride on some proper trains before they all get scrapped!
 
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beermaddavep

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11 Dec 2005
Messages
631
Location
East Durham
Sounds like you had a great trip :)

Did you know that for only £1.50 more, you could have had almost unlimited travel for 4 days out of 8 in the area with a north country flexi rover?

Link to map here http://www.northernrail.org/pdfs/sp...s/2013/2013_Maps/North_Country_Rover_2013.pdf

HTIOU
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
PS to do some east coast bashing, the north east rover at £92 for 4 days covers the ECML from Retford to Berwick, with a huge amount of other lines thrown in...
 

Techniquest

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Nowhere Heath
How so? I have now finished reading and can see it was an excellent trip. Had to stop earlier as I was in dire need of a break from the laptop for a meal!

Hope you'll carry on with more trip reports :)
 

Kite159

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West of Andover
I would imagine that Scotrail 156 would have been for Glasgow, runs as a Northern service to Carlisle where it becomes a Scotrail service.

Rover tickets for some conductors are rare, even better are rover tickets issued from a station way outside their regular zone of validity.
 

crehld

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Norfolk
Thanks for the report. Looks like you had a good day in my former neck of the woods, and a lot of ground covered in a single day.

I agree Barrow to Lancaster is often underrated in scenery terms - some great views to be had over Morecambe bay. Another underrated gem is the line between Carnforth and Skipton, which offers some superb views of Ingleborough and Ribblesdale.

And how did you find the 158s on the S&C? I noticed on my last couple of trips they seemed to struggle with adhesion pulling out of stations - a lot of revving but not much movement! Took 25 mins from Settle to Hellifield!
 

Iskra

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Chapeltown, Sheffield
Thanks guys! I will do a write-up when I next do a trip :)

Thanks for the report. Looks like you had a good day in my former neck of the woods, and a lot of ground covered in a single day.

I agree Barrow to Lancaster is often underrated in scenery terms - some great views to be had over Morecambe bay. Another underrated gem is the line between Carnforth and Skipton, which offers some superb views of Ingleborough and Ribblesdale.

And how did you find the 158s on the S&C? I noticed on my last couple of trips they seemed to struggle with adhesion pulling out of stations - a lot of revving but not much movement! Took 25 mins from Settle to Hellifield!
Yeah I agree, I used to do Lancaster/Carnforth-Leeds a lot and I think it's up there with the S&C in terms of scenery. I avoided it on this trip though as I wanted to concentrate on lines I don't get to use often, and also I think I was subconsciously avoiding pacer hotspots!

In all honesty I didn't notice anything unusual about the 158 (nor did I on the two I rode this weekend between Leeds and Blackburn). Maybe it was just because it's leaf fall season so they're accelerating/braking more gently?
 

Iskra

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Location
Chapeltown, Sheffield
So I've booked trip 2 for 5 days in January, I'm on advance tickets. I have a few queries though if anyone could help out;

1) How easy it to get from Birmingham New Street to Moor Street? What's the best method?

2) I have a day when I'm using Chiltern a few times and was wondering what the chances of a loco set are. I'm getting the 1155 Birmingham Moor Street-Marylebone on the 30th of January, but RTT says it's a DOO service- does this mean its going to be a unit? Equally any ideas on the traction for 1348 Marylebone-Bicester North (which I'm on until Princes Risborough) and 1427 Aylesbury-Marylebone.

3) How easy is it to get from Marylebone to Kings Cross?

4) If you're on advance tickets but a train is delayed, and you miss a connection which you had a specific ticket for, where do you stand?
 
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Lee_Again

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29 Sep 2007
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Location
Stevenage
3) How easy is it to get from Marylebone to Kings Cross?

4) If you're on advance tickets but a train is delayed, and you miss a connection which you had a specific ticket for, where do you stand?
A few options. Marylebone to King's Cross is a 205 bus from outside the station (takes about 20 mins and goes via Euston). Walk to Baker Street (<5 mins) and get the tube. From Marylebone get the Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus and then Victoria Line to King's Cross. It's about £10 and 10 minutes in a taxi.

No. 4 depends. If the Advance is a through ticket,say Stevenage to Plymouth, and the train is delayed from Stevenage, you are allowed to catch the next available train. If the ticket was Paddington to Plymouth and the train was delayed from Stevenage I think you lose the ticket as it's not transferable. Experts will be along soon.

Enjoy your trip. I await the trip report.
 
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fishquinn

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2) I have a day when I'm using Chiltern a few times and was wondering what the chances of a loco set are. I'm getting the 1155 Birmingham Moor Street-Marylebone on the 30th of January, but RTT says it's a DOO service- does this mean its going to be a unit? Equally any ideas on the traction for 1348 Marylebone-Bicester North (which I'm on until Princes Risborough) and 1427 Aylesbury-Marylebone.
The 1st will be a 168, the 2nd will be a 165 and the 3rd will be a 165 so all units.
 

30907

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30 Sep 2012
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Airedale
1. It's a short walk, and was signposted when I last did it.

2. The Chiltern timetable indicates which trains carry their Business Class (or whatever) and are therefore loco hauled.

4. Lee_again is right. Catch the first train shown on your itinerary and you are fine for the rest of the trip.
 

cactustwirly

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3) You could walk from Marylebone to Paddington and take the Circle or H&C lines to Kings Cross.

Actually, It may be quicker to walk to Baker Street
 
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Iskra

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11 Jun 2014
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Location
Chapeltown, Sheffield
Thanks to those above who have provided advice.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So trip no.2 has commenced. All of this week I'm travelling around on advances, exploring lines I've not been to in a while, scenic lines that I enjoy, lines with traction I haven't rode on and totally new lines. This is only my second recreational trip on trains, so I have made a few mistakes and probably paid more than I should for some of these trips, so please excuse the fact I am a bit of a novice. Since ordering these tickets I have purchased a railcard which should make things cheaper!

Day 1

Ticket Type

1st Advance(s)

Leeds-London via Sheffield 1st c.£26.00. EMT & connections.
London-Leeds via York 1st c£50.00. EC & connections (not actually sure this route is valid, but I had reservations all the way and I got away with it (can anyone shed any light?).

Traction Travelled on

158, 222, 91, 185

Operators Travelled on

NT, EMT, EC, TPE

My Trip

I arrived into Leeds earlier than I expected, so I decided to use the freedom of my +connections ticket and travel on an earlier service to Sheffield where I could then wait in the 1st class lounge.


0840 Leeds-Sheffield. Northern 2 car 158 semi-fast service.

I just so happened to arrive at Leeds station in time for this train, a brisk walk saw me onboard just in time. The train was about 60% full but I managed to share a table seat with 2 others. The interior was in good condition-quite smart- actually and everything was nice and clean. Within a minute of me sitting down the train departed. I haven't travelled on this line in around a decade. The first thing to note was the ongoing refurbishment at Wakefield Kirkgate, where the station is coming along nicely and is actually starting to look quite nice. The area around the station does still look a bit rough though. The train then progressed at good speed (quite a fast service for Northern). The somewhat eccentric and over-exuberant conductor then appeared on a ticket check, where he made a joke about there being no 1st class and not getting any free tea or coffee on this service. It was a bit too early in the day for me to quip back. I did think I should have said something along the lines of 'Oh. I thought this was first class, as it doesn't resemble the usual bus.' Not sure that would have gone down too well though. He then proceeded to tell me that I'd chosen a slow route, asked me if I did it often and then told me which platforms the London trains went from at Sheffield. I just told him I was going this way as it was cheaper. Barnsley was the next station stop, the town centre here seems to have been improved, looking less 60's than I remembered it and with a few nice buildings in amongst. A gentlemen boarded here bringing a strong smell of weed with him, but I stuck it out knowing I didn't have much longer left on the train. After Meadowhall we then reached Sheffield through the grim but kind of homely cuttings on the approach. A decent service this, one that I would use again over a faster voyager.

Sheffield station has also been tidied up significantly since I was last there (c.2006), looking rather nice and bigger than I remembered it to be. A pair of EMT 158's stood at platform 5 as I sought-out the first class lounge. When I did find it, it was quite small but modern, a lady checked my ticket and then offered me a drink. I read the Times and used the free wi-fi to kill the 2 hours on a comfy sofa, 4/5 people came and then left while I was there. It was certainly better than waiting on the concourse at Leeds station. The customer service lady offered me many more drinks and biscuits before telling me my train was now at the platform.

1149 Sheffield-London St.Pancras. EMT 5 car 222.

This was my first trip on EMT and also my first trip on a 222. My allocated seat was the first in the carriage and frankly awful- being surrounded by 3 other people on a table, travelling backwards and not having a window aligned with it at all. I asked the train manager if I could move to an unreserved individual seat that was forward facing and that had a window, he allowed me to. 1st class was reasonably well populated and the interior smart as you'd expect for a relatively new unit. The first class host was on the ball offering drinks-more than I could handle really- I had an orange juice and a coffee, which was plenty. Again this was my first trip down the MML for around a decade. Derby station was being refurbished last time I passed through, and I have to say it now looks nice. I did notice that there isn't as much interesting rolling stock lying around now as there used to be. In the Network Rail sidings I did see a 31 an active 37, a decaying 37, a pair of decaying 73's and an 82. As we progressed we passed some sidings around Loughborough (I think) which contained some aggregate wagons and a DRS-liveried 68, the first I've seen- just a shame it wasn't powered up. As we approached Leicester there were some very new looking DB HTA's in the striking red livery and a number of class 56's. From Leicester it was non stop to London St. Pancras, although we were now running slightly late. Around Wellingborough we passed a DRS 37 hauling 3 Network Rail carriages. At Hendon (I think) there was a RHTT train on the slows, I missed the first engine but the rear engine was a DCR-liveried 31. I didn't realise there were any non NR 31's still going on the mainline. We then arrived at St.Pancras around 5mins late. We overtook a number of 319's which are set to come Oop North, some of which were looking a little unkempt. There was also a depot FULL of EMU's, so this rolling stock shortage must be a figment of my imagination. On the approach I noticed the large gas works near the station are no more. As we pulled into St.Pancras I saw my first Javelin unit as well as a number of Eurostars. The new trainshed is frankly stunning and the place still feels very newly built even though it isn't. The concourse shops/cafes were all busy and bustling with life. What a fantastic station. As an afterthought, I did notice the 222 vibrated quite harshly at a couple of points, which caused a lot of rattling amongst the fixtures on this train.

I had around 25 minutes before my trip back to Leeds, so I sauntered over the road to Kings Cross and awaited a platform for my Newcastle-bound train. I noted a cancelled Grand Central train to Bradford Interchange due to a train fault- this could cause me problems later in the week as I'm booked on one of these services. By this point I was getting quite hungry, so looking forward to East Coast's first class offering.

1430 London Kings Cross-York (Newcastle). East Coast 91.

On approaching the train I noticed the normal mix of HST's, 365's a 91 on a Leeds service and also Network Rail's HST-aka the flying banana. First class was fairly full on this service. I was on an individual seat, travelling backwards but had a good view out of the window. The catering crew did a great job offering plenty of food and drink. I had an Old Speckled Hen beer, egg/tomato sandwiches (nicer than I expected), crisps, some very nice chocolate cake, a very good glass of white wine and a coffee. I was offered more sandwiches, cake and coffee but declined as I was a bit full by this point. The only slight problem in first was the intermittent wi-fi signal. Exiting Kings Cross an ATW 67 was on Thunderbird duty. We passed a large number of 319/321/365's around Alexandra Palace, and Clive the FCC shunter. My ticket was checked before Peterborough with the friendly guard not raising any issues about my choice of route- this was a relief. The Mk4's provided a nice ride and I still can't get over how much more relaxing rail travel is without a vibrating diesel engine under you. Around Peterborough there were a number of GBRF 66's and a lot of wagons which seemed to be surplus. Until Doncaster the rest of the journey was fairly uneventful as we sped through the Cambridgeshire/Lincolnshire countryside. On the approach to Doncaster I spotted a 47 in BR two-tone green livery (VXC used to have one like it) and another 47 in either BR or Advenza Blue, as well as a couple of 08's and a number of 66's. There was a EWS liveried 67 acting as Thunderbird at Doncaster, and a again a lof of surplus rolling stock. As a Leodensian, I've never travelled the Doncaster-York section of the ECML, so that was some new track for me. The only interesting rolling stock on this section was a privately-owned industrial shunter in some sidings near some wagons of a type I've not seen before. At York there were a pair of 20's with a snowplough attached and a 66 next to the new NR buildings.

I had around 10 minutes between trains at York. At first I struggled to find platform 4, before realising it's the Scarborough-facing platform.

1641 (Scarborough) York-Leeds (Liverpool Lime Street). TPE 3 car 185.

A simple hop back to Leeds on a unit I know all too well. It was my first time in 1st on TPE though. I was offered refreshments and snacks almost straight away but declined as I'd already had enough for the day. Other than getting a seat it didn't feel too different to standard class to be honest and I can't see the point in paying extra for TPE's first class alone. As we passed Neville Hill I noticed that it was almost deserted of units. At Leeds the unit attached to another 185 for the onward journey. The guard was very good in explaining to passengers what was going to happen and to expect a bit of a bump in the first carriage.

Day 2

Ticket Type

Std Advance
1st Advance

Leeds-Glasgow Central via Carlisle £17.50
Glasgow Central-Leeds via Preston 1st c. £50 (barrier took my ticket and I can't remember how much it was)

Traction Travelled on

158, 390, 390, 158

Operators Travelled on

NT, VT

My Trip

0947 Leeds-Carlisle. Northern 2 car 158 semi-fast service.

I was booked onto this service, but at the time of booking I wasn't aware that it was a fast service calling at only Settle, Kirby Stephen and Appleby across the S&C. I got a good seat around a table and next to a window. There was no working heating on the train when I got on and it was quite cold, I asked the guard if he could turn the heating on, he said it was broken and that he'd see what he could do. He then started advising those with children that the other coach was warmer and keeping everyone updated which was good of him. He checked my ticket after Shipley, commenting that everyone was going to Glasgow today. The train was about 1/3 full. At around Skipton the heating came to life after some banging around in a cupboard near the drivers cab. I was a bit perturbed about going over Blea moor on a train with no heating, so I was glad that was sorted. The weather was closing-in and there was a lot of low cloud on the line, but the views were still reasonably good. Around Hellifield a DRS 37 passed going in the opposite direction light engine. At Settle the friends of the Settle and Carlisle volunteers sprang into action with the refreshment trolley passing through (I bought a coffee to support the cause), the refreshment trolley was well used. There was a volunteer following the trolley who was acting as a bit of a tour guide pointing out features such as Ribblehead viaduct, Ais Gill etc. which was quite interesting. Blea moor was looking especially bleak on this trip, especially that grotty house next to the signalbox. The trip was fairly uneventful from then on, but overall a good one, and it was nice to not have to stop at all the small stations for a change. I do wish the SRA hadn't have axed the Leeds-Glasgow service as this service was something of a throwback to those days.

At Carlisle I took a PNB and then emerged to hear announcements concerning disruption around Euston due to electric-supply issues. On discovering that my train was around 40mins late, I took refuge in the Pumpkin on P1-3 where some soup warmed me up. I noticed a number of TPE 350's and VT 390's as well a DRS 57- County of Staffordshire (I think), presumably acting as a Thunderbird and a Scotrail 156. A DRS 66 on an engineering train came through as well while I was waiting heading South. Other than that Carlisle station was fairly quiet. I was glad to get off it to be honest as the cold was setting in again.

1247 (London Euston)Carlisle-Glasgow Central. VT 390, now about 30mins late. This service was virtually empty, there were around 4/5 others in my carriage. Probably the quietest VT train I've ever seen. I moved in to a forward facing table seat next to a window as there was ample space. At Kingmoor depot there were DRS 37/47/57/66's present. In the yard there were a number of 66's and an 08/9. This was my first trip over Beattock since a VT 47 did the honours a long time ago. We overtook a GBRF 66 on an engineering train at Lockerbie, with our driver clearly pushing the pendo quite hard. We flew through Beattock and up the summit as if it was hardly there at all. The views of the valleys afterwards were superb as we raced the traffic on the motorway. Some of the peaks were dusted with snow adding to the visual affect. We then passed through Carstairs which took me on to new track towards Glasgow Central. At Shieldmuir RMT there was either an 8 or 12 car 325 at the platform waiting to head South. We then passed Motherwell. At Polmadie I was surprised how deserted the depot was- I didn't see any loco/unit's at all. Finally we arrived at Glasgow Central. Again, for such a huge station I was surprised how empty the train shed was, with a few foreign electrics present (a 314?) a TPE 350 an XC Voyager a number of SR 156's and a 158. The train manager kept us updated regarding the delay over the tannoy, but didn't come down the train to do a ticket check- which I thought strange considering how quiet it was.

I had about 2 hours at Glasgow, I considered adventuring off somewhere on a local service but decided against it as I didn't want to get stuck somewhere. Instead I walked out the station, and walked around the rather nice city-centre a bit, before heading for a Costa. After killing some time there I sought out VT's 1st Class Lounge. The lounge was well stocked with refreshments, papers and free wifi, also having some nice comfy chairs. It was a bit disappointing though as it is merely a part of the ticket office that has been screened-off which made it noisy and cold from the automatic doors that kept opening.

1640 Glasgow Central-Preston (London Euston) 1st. 11 car 390.

Got a great individual seat for this journey. The only negative was one of those pretentious people who insists on broadcasting their life to everyone in the carriage. One of my neighbouring passengers had brought a small dog with them, which was wearing a jumper and had its own travel-bed, which I found amusing. The dog was however, a more decorous passenger than the aforementioned mobile-phone lady. Within minutes of me sitting down I was offered a drink (I had an estrella lager) and my food order taken. I went for Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne over the Fish & Chips. The Lasagne was nice and came with a piece of garlic bread and a side salad. The fish and chips didn't look all that great to be honest. Desert followed Cheese & Biscuits or some raspberry and chocolate concoction. I went for the raspberry/chocolate thing and enjoyed it. Coffee was then offered several more times. I later had a glass of white wine followed by a coffee just after Lancaster. It was dark outside so I saw nothing at all on the way back. I was quite disheartened to have to get off this train at Preston as it had been very comfortable and enjoyable.

At Preston the only noteworthy working I saw was a DRS flask train heading southwards propelled by 2 47's, one of which was in a Northern Belle Pullman livery.

1937 (Blackpool North)Preston-Leeds(York). Northern 2 car 158.

An uneventful journey other than it being another cold Northern 158 carriage! I seem to be spending too much time on NT 158's at the moment!

Day 3 (Today)

Ticket Type

Std Advance
1st Advance

Itinery

0823 GC Mirfield-London KC £19.90
1203 EC London KC-Leeds 1st £39.90
TPE return Leeds-Hull £14.10

It all went pete tong. I was at a very cold and windswept Mirfield for 0740. At 0820 the GC service was announced as delayed by 20 minutes, which I thought was ok. Many Northern/TPE services came and went. Northern announced delays due to something in the Mosston area. Then it all went quiet. Luckily a lady waiting for the train knew somebody sat on it at Bradford, who said they were waiting for a replacement guard from York. By 0920 my connection was in danger and to avoid having to buy an anytime ticket back to Leeds from London I called-it off. By this point I was frozen. The train turned up at 0946 (83mins late) and is currently 122late just South of Peterborough. Hoping it stays above 120 late to increase my delay repay. GC would have been a new operator and a 180 new traction for me, so today has been a bit annoying.

I've got an early start and a long trip tomorrow so I'm lacking enthusiasm for just going to Hull and back today.

*I've omitted to mention a lot of 66's or units that I came across, as they are ten a penny on the network and not that interesting.
 
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Techniquest

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Looks like you had a rather good time on your Leeds to London and back, it's not the same doing the MML on a 222, much more fun on an HST. There's also the fact First Class is so much nicer on an HST! Quite generous on the refreshments on your trip by the looks of it, rather keen to travel First Class again myself now!

You'd expect somewhere fairly grand like Glasgow Central to have a decent First Class lounge, must have been a huge disappointment!

Grim times on the Grand Central trip, although I must also say I'd have not braved such tight connections!
 

Iskra

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I was expecting an EMT HST when I booked the trip to be honest, so I was disappointed at first but it's nice to try something different now and then- the 222 did the job perfectly well. I've also got plenty of HST time pencilled in for today and tomorrow anyway :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Day 4- To the North! Thurs 29th of January

Ticket Type

1st Advances

Leeds-Aberdeen £62.50 1st EC & Connections
Aberdeen-Leeds via Edinburgh & York 1st EC & Connections. c. £74

Traction Travelled on

HST, 170 (2), 91, 185

Operators Travelled On

EC, SR, TPE

My Trip

0710 Leeds-Aberdeen. East Coast HST. After battling through the snow to Leeds station, my HST was sat waiting at platform 9 powered by 43312 and 43316(I think). This was to be my first meaningful trip beyond York on the ECML in the daylight and my first beyond Newcastle so I was quite excited. I was a bit surprised at just how many stops this train was supposed to have- I thought with it being quite a long distance train it would be more of an express. Breakfast was served promptly leaving Leeds- this catering crew were very on-the-ball throughout the whole trip- I had toast followed by a full English which was nicely cooked and not swimming in grease like many a full English. It was a very civilised start to the morning as the sun started to rise. At York the 2x20's and snowplough were still present, but now a DRS 37 was alongside them next to the Network Rail building. We then began to make good progress along the 4 track section but the train slowed suddenly around Thirsk and as we approached Northallerton it was announced that due to a powercar fault on 43316 the train was restricted to 100mph from now on. We then started to drop a little bit of time as we progressed Northwards. I didn't think the powercar fault was going to be much of an issue with the line above Edinburgh not allowing any meaningful 125mph running anyway. The snow between Darlington and Durham;



The sun rising behind Durham cathedral/castle on the approach to the station;



At Newcastle we took the back way into the station, with the train reversing out afterwards. No-one was sat opposite me so I took the opportunity to change seats to continue facing forwards. I think this confused the catering staff as I was then offered another breakfast :D I didn't take them up on it- one was enough.

Newcastle;



Approaching Berwick-upon-Tweed;



At Berwick the train was announced as the service to Edinburgh, which raised alarm bells. Shortly afterwards the guard came on the tannoy explaining that the train was being terminated at Edinburgh and that 'onwards travel' would be arranged. A second guard then came through asking everyone where they were going so that buses could be arranged. A number of first class customers-including myself- declined bus travel, instead asking when the next train was to Aberdeen, and if our tickets would be valid, to which the guard said they would be. The journey North of Newcastle was absolutely stunning from a scenery point of view and I'm glad I made the trip just for that alone. Ironically as we passed Craigentinny (sp), there was a solitary EC HST powercar sat there. We arrived into Edinburgh only a few minutes later than scheduled. As we pulled in I saw a EWS liveried 67 and a DB 90.

At Edinburgh I was now faced with an hours wait, so I googled where the EC 1st class lounge was and took refuge. It's a spacious, warm and well-stocked lounge, probably the best I've been in thus far. A fellow passenger then came in telling everyone that tickets weren't going to be accepted on Scotrail services and that we'd have to get buses. Nobody listened. I'd already asked the EC guard and the 1st class lounge attendant who confirmed my ticket would be valid. I planned to ask the scotrail train guard before boarding anyway, so that I couldn't end up being excessed.

I approached platform 18 where a barbie-liveried 170 was standing, I found the very friendly guard in the rear cab and after explaining that my train had been terminated early, he said I was fine to travel on that train.

1129 Edinburgh-Aberdeen. 3-car un-refurbished Scotrail 170. I sat in the unreserved 1st class section on one of the single seats. This was my first meaningful trip on a 170 (I've previously used TPE's between Dewsbury/Huddersfield) and I was very impressed with the unit to be honest. This was to be an express service only calling at Haymarket and Leuchars before Dundee- so faster than the EC service I was on. The trolley person was very forthcoming with refreshments on the trip and overall very helpful. There were a number of passengers from my previous train in the compartment, one of which I overheard saying he'd had to buy another ticket to use this service! We then crossed the Forth bridge offering some superb and interesting views. I noticed a couple of islands which looked to have been military installations at some point. As we came off the bridge I could see the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier looking fairly complete and also very impressive. I was sat on the wrong side for the coastal views on this train after that, but it was still an enjoyable ride. At Dundee we crossed the Tay bridge, which was again impressive. North of Dundee; I've never seen so many golf courses in my life! As we passed Montrose there a number of ships moored-up that were presumably there to support the North sea oil platforms. The journey beyond continued to be very scenic. As we approached Aberdeen I saw a EWS-liveried class 67 with 6 sleeper coaches awaiting its evening's work. Due to the earlier train termination I was to have only 14mins at Aberdeen, but to be honest I was just happy to have go there and to have made it in time for my train back.

I was now quite exhausted from the travelling and also hungry having missed out on lunch and cake between Edinburgh and Aberdeen on the EC service. At Aberdeen I had to discretely swap train without anyone noticing that I was getting a train back to where I'd just come from :D

1404 Aberdeen-Edinburgh. SR Saltire refurbished 3-car 170. This unit was even better than the last one, now with added comfier seats. Again the crew were cheery and the refreshments plentiful- although shortbread can only sustain you for so long. I was sat with a coastal view this time and again the scenery was top notch this time with added wildlife- I saw a buzzard, a fox and a group of deer on the journey South.

Crossing the Tay bridge Southwards;



A view from the Scottish East Coast;





I have to say my first (significant) experience of Scotrail was fantastic for a local/regional operator.

At Edinburgh I again sought out the 1st class lounge for a quick refresh before boarding my train South.

1700 Edinburgh-York (London Kings Cross). EC 91.

As we awaited departure I class 67 and around 6 mk2's in a maroon livery passed us. I presumed this to be the Fife Circle set. The journey south was fairly routine. The catering crew were again a competent set, I tried the Chicken Tikka Massala and rice which was nice. Followed by cake, beer, wine and coffee.

1938 (Scarborough) York-Leeds (Liverpool). TPE 3-car 185.

A routine trip. I was the only person in 1st, there was no refreshment trolley. The guard was very friendly.

- - - - -

A long, tiring, but very worthwhile day.
 

Iskra

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Some great pics there (even if they are the same as those taken by every East Coast passenger on their journey!)
Haha, now you mention it there were a few others taking photo's at various stages :D
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Just a quick report to finish off my week of travelling;

Day 5- 30/01/15

0911 (Edinburgh) Leeds-Birmingham (Plymouth) XC HST.

A new operator for me, I've not travelled on the cross country route since the days of virgin. When I booked this I was expecting a voyager so I was pretty happy when a HST turned up. A last minute platform alteration meant I wasn't in a position to get the powercars' number. The interior of these trains is refurbished to a very high standard- I was most impressed. Although, this train had its faults with the reservation system not working and no lighting other than emergency lighting in coach E. I was sharing a table with some chuggers who were quite amusing until Derby. After Derby I had plenty of space around me due to a nearby gentleman rapping to himself. Standard class is a more entertaining ride. Other than that the journey was fairly uneventful.

Birmingham New Street was even less welcoming than I remembered it, with a lot of construction work going on. My first time on the concourse there revealed that area to be not much better. To Birmingham Moor Street it was for my next train. It was a very well signposted, with some fantastic architecture to be seen. Moor Street in comparison was a fantastic little station, in pristine condition. I bought a couple of sausage rolls at a small cafe, and they were excellent.

1155 Birmingham Moor Street-London Marylebone. Chiltern 168.

Both a new operator and new traction for me. On boarding the unit, there was a 'new car' smell so I'm guessing this was a newly refurbished 168. Everything about it was spotless and seemed new and almost every seat was at a table with plug sockets. After being impressed by Scotrails' 170's earlier in this week, a new favourite multiple unit had been discovered. The journey through to London was fairly uneventful, a lot of Chiltern 67 sets passed in the other direction, I did spot a 68 near London and at Banbury there was a lone virgin-liveried Mk2 sat in a siding. The purpose of this trip was to try get a loco-hauled service, but I hadn't discovered the 'Frequently Requested Diagram' thread at the time I booked, so I was unsuccessful (but still impressed nevertheless). My only disappointment on this leg was that I am still clueless as to how 'Marylebone' is supposed to be pronounced with several interpretations offered by people around me/the guard!

At Marylebone I got a taxi down to St.Pancras where I took refuge in the rather excellent Betjeman Arms. I had a couple of pints and some food here as I killed the time before my next train.



1606 London Kings Cross-Leeds. EC HST. 1st Class.

Well, it's a good job I enjoy HST's! A routine journey again back to Leeds again.

I never thought it would happen, but I was a bit trained-out by the end of the week. Glad I've got a bit of a gap before my next travels in March.
 

Techniquest

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Quite the trip there, fair dos! It's worth bearing in mind the Chiltern timetable also suggests what's loco-hauled, with a small black rectangular box with white MS on top above the relevant services.
 

Iskra

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Thank you. It is but I wasn't that aware of RTT when I booked this trip a few months back. I am now booked on a 67 across the Chilterns in the coming months :)

Or I could always do the North Wales Coast line for a 67 out of Manchester...
 

fishquinn

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Thank you. It is but I wasn't that aware of RTT when I booked this trip a few months back. I am now booked on a 67 across the Chilterns in the coming months :)

Or I could always do the North Wales Coast line for a 67 out of Manchester...
The 67s will be coming off the chilterns in a few months and replaced with 68s. If you want 67s head out of Manchester, if you want the new 68s, do the Chilterns.
 

Iskra

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10/11-3-15

Operators Travelled

VTEC, FGW, NT

Traction Travelled

91x2, HSTx2, 57, 158x2, 144

Ticket Types

1st Advance Single Leeds-Penzance £96.70
Sleeper Advance Solo Penzance-London £79
1st Advance London-Meadowhall £37.20
Std Off-peak Day Single Meadowhall-Dewsbury £7.25

Intro

Having relatively recently got back into the hobby, I've been getting a bit more adventurous with my travels and decided to do something I've always wanted to do; travel on a sleeper train. I chose the Night Riviera as it offered solo berths in standard and because 57's may not be in passenger use for too much longer and I haven't travelled on one yet. Additionally, on the FGW network I'd never been to Penzance (previously I've been to Newquay and St.Austell by train but no further) and I wanted to try out the Pullman dining.

0845 Leeds-London Kings Cross. Class 91, VTEC.

My first trip on VTEC. I was expecting another fairly routine whizz down the ECML, however on boarding I could smell a burning smell. I thought nothing of it. My initial impressions of VTEC were that it was exactly the same as EC. My only qualm being that 'weekend first' menu's were still on the otherwise clean floor- this on a Tuesday morning doesn't give you great confidence in the cleaning regime. On departing Leeds progress seemed (and indeed was) extremely slow and jerky towards Wakey. The catering crew did a great job of continuing their service even though the brakes were spontaneously applying, followed by many a spill. The breakfast was up to the usual standard and the crew were a pleasure. Just after Wakefield the guard announced that the train was having issues with its brakes and that fitters would be joining the train at Doncaster to fix the issue. At Doncaster some of the Yorkshire regions rarer sights were present- 2x180's one each from GC and HT, a Northern 322, a 68- Evolution and 2x47's in retro livery's. Progress onwards was still slow and jerky and we continued to drop time. Around Newark a new VTEC livery set passed in the other direction. Approaching Peterborough we were routed onto the slows where the two aforementioned 180's both overtook us. At this point the guard checked my ticket and I asked him where I stood should I miss my connection, he duly endorsed my ticket and was very helpful. A couple of passengers just over the aisle were heading for the same train as me out of Paddington. As we approached London it became apparent that my 1206 connection was going to be pretty tight. We arrived into London 45 late at 1144, which at least means I can claim delay repay.

A quick rush down to the tube station (not one that I've used before) saw me arrive at the platform with 4mins before the next tube to Paddington. We pulled into Paddington tube station at about 1204, causing me to just miss the 1206.

I then proceeded to the 1st Class lounge to ask what I should do now, they sent me to the ticket office where the clerk verified my previous train's delay and permitted me to use the 1406 to Penzance instead. I retired to the 1st class lounge, grabbed some sandwiches and a can of coke. I then went to check if the 1406 had Pullman dining, it didn't, so I set my sights on the 1303 to Plymouth instead. The couple from VTEC train also bound for Penzance arrived in the 1st class lounge just as I was leaving it. I was pretty lucky here as I normally book my tickets separately rather than as through tickets- good job I didn't on this journey or I would have been in real trouble at this point.

I then proceeded to the gateline for the 1303 to Plymouth, I explained my situation to the RPI who allowed me through. I then found the train manager hanging-out of the rear powercar, and asked if I could use that train instead. He was absolutely fine with it, and seemed very happy for me to do so.

1303 London Paddington-Plymouth. FGW HST.

Another new operator for me, and all new track until beyond Taunton. I liked the FGW 1st interior. The dining car was even nicer. I ordered Scallops followed by Fillet Steak, washed down with a pint of St. Austell's Brewery Tribute. This was truly train travel at its most civilised:





(sorry about the photo's being the wrong way around)

The food was excellent, if a little overpriced. However, the service did justify it and they weren't shy with the portions, offering more veg etc. There were 2 others in the dining car on what was a fairly quiet service. After having coffee and settling the bill I took up a seat in the 1st class carriage and charged my phone. I'd been impressed with what I'd seen of the Berkshire/Wiltshire countryside whilst having lunch, the coastal section of the line around Exeter/Dawlish bettered it. On approaching Newton Abbot, I witnessed some clever track usage, with my HST undertaking a local service on the opposite track heading in the same direction- not something you see much up North. As we approached Plymouth I was more than ready to get off the train. I had an hour in Plymouth, I asked to be let through the barrier, the lady obliged and I found a comfy chair and a hot chocolate n the Pumpkin cafe.

1724 London Paddington-Penzance. FGW. HST

Heading out of Plymouth I had a good nosey at the dockyards, where I could see a number of Royal Navy warships including a T23, T45, an aircraft carrier and a minehunter. I was a bit dismayed at how often this train stopped, it seemed to be almost a local service. Nevertheless it was interesting seeing the Cornish rail network for the first time in 10 years and the scenery was very pleasant too. At around St.Austell the sun descended and I sought-out the bar for another pint of Tribute.

At Penzance I had a brief wander around the town (I had 2 hours less than what I'd originally planned), before having a couple of pints in Spoons, grabbing some very overpriced cheesy chips (£3) from a dodgy takeaway and then returning to the station. There wasn't much to do in Penzance so maybe it was good that I was late arriving.





2145 Penzance-London Paddington. FGW. Class 57

New traction. I was welcomed onboard and shown my cabin which was better than I was expecting, I then spent an hour or so in the lounge car before retiring as I was up very early the next day. There were around 10 other sleeper passengers that I saw, which I thought was good for a Tuesday night out of the main seasons. To be honest, my night's sleep was fairly dire, but that was expected. The train on the way back went via Bristol and Swindon giving me more new track. At 5am I recieved my wake up call, Bacon Roll and coffee. The crew were absolutely fantastic on this train and the lady pointed me towards the showers and waved me off in the morning. It must be said that every single FGW staff member I came across on my trip was very welcoming and friendly- they were all a credit to the company.

The network rail showers again surpassed my expectations, and I was surprised to be offered a towel. Refreshed, I then set out for Kings Cross again on the underground. This time the fare wasn't included in my ticket and I was dismayed to find that a single ticket was £4.80 for what must be no more than 10mins and 4 stops along the line. I thought that was ridiculous.



At Kings Cross I sought out the 1st class lounge only to find that it doesn't open until 7am so I took a seat on the concourse and waited for my platform to be displayed. I was heading to Meadowhall, Sheffield on work business this morning.

0705 London-Kings Cross-Doncaster VTEC 91.

A fairly routine trip, the breakfast and service were spot on.

At Doncaster I had a short wait for the Northern service to Meadowhall;

0856 Bridlington-Sheffield. Northern 158.

This was a fast service, first call meadowhall. Again fairly uneventful, I was glad to get a 158.

c.1300 Meadowhall-Leeds (fast). Northern 158.

Again, a fairly standard journey. Wakefield Kirkgate was looking very nice now it's finished.

c.1356 Leeds-Huddersfield. Northern 144.

Well, it's been a long time since I used a pacer, so perhaps I deserved one. At least it was on an appropriate journey at only 15mins duration. I ended up getting off at Batley, not Dewsbury in the end.

I was absolutely exhausted when I got home!
 

Kite159

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Remember you can use contactless credit/debit cards for the tube (assuming you have one) and pay the same as Oyster.

Sounds like a couple busy luxurious days
 

Techniquest

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Glad to hear you enjoyed the Pullman service, I used to love the lunch service on the 1130 Swansea to Paddington. Sadly it looks like it's changed quite a bit in 10 years, all I could see on the plate for your main was greens! I had the fillet steak once on one of the many Pullman services I did, exceptional! As was the mixed grill on the many times I had that, and their apple pie and custard for dessert was heavenly!

I've never found much to do in Penzance either, and I've had several hours to kill in one day there before. The best bit of Penzance is departing there on a train, in my eyes!

Oh, and that shot at Kings Cross is stunning!
 

Iskra

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Remember you can use contactless credit/debit cards for the tube (assuming you have one) and pay the same as Oyster.

Sounds like a couple busy luxurious days
I don't unfortunately, I'll have to invest in an Oyster card (and look after it this time). I'll be using the tube on Tuesday so I'll get one then.

It was all very nice on the way down, but I wouldn't describe the sleeper as luxurious- its more travelodge on wheels :D

Glad to hear you enjoyed the Pullman service, I used to love the lunch service on the 1130 Swansea to Paddington. Sadly it looks like it's changed quite a bit in 10 years, all I could see on the plate for your main was greens! I had the fillet steak once on one of the many Pullman services I did, exceptional! As was the mixed grill on the many times I had that, and their apple pie and custard for dessert was heavenly!

I've never found much to do in Penzance either, and I've had several hours to kill in one day there before. The best bit of Penzance is departing there on a train, in my eyes!

Oh, and that shot at Kings Cross is stunning!
They did overdo it with the greenery, but the steak was fairly sizeable for fillet and it tasted good. It was worth it as a one-off treat. I couldn't manage desert!

Yes, I was expecting a bit more for a relatively important terminus town, what I saw was pleasant, it was just that everything was closed bar the handful of pubs. The people I met were all very friendly, which is more than can be said for many a place!

I don't think my phone has done the scene justice tbh, it was a breathtaking view as I emerged from the Tube (never thought I'd say that about Central London).
- - - - -

All being well, I should be visiting East Anglia and the Chilterns in order to travel on some more loco-hauled services on Tuesday. Report to follow.
 
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