Juliano's World Frenzy/Tech's Trip Reports

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Techniquest, 5 Jun 2014.

  1. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Hi all,

    Following Kite159's (and before him, 4SRKT) thread, I've decided I'm going to have all my trip reports in one place. Less clutter on the forum in this section at least, whether it'll work out I don't know yet. Anyway, I'd have started this before now, but I didn't have a trip report to put up until this week. Not done one in absolutely ages getting now, and I apologise now for the lack of photos in this first entry, they're all on my phone and Flickr/my phone/my laptop are all falling out with each other at the moment. Shame really as some photos were taken especially for use in this trip report!

    So why call the thread what I've called it? Well, simply put, most of my trips end up chasing after trains with different numbers on, the numbers making it either a successful or a failure of a day. It's less about the noise of the train or whatever, although that's still an important part of a trip, but after an endless spree of, say, 507s and 508s it isn't such an issue. Besides, the thread title made me smile! So let's get it posted!

    02/06/2014 – Anglia Plus Day Ranger

    After an epic spree of watching the final season of How I Met Your Mother [my life will never be the same when it finishes, I fogging love it! - Ed], it was finally time to doss around 0315. Yes with an alarm going off at 0600 this wasn’t good! Nevertheless, I manage to wake up to the alarm on my watch first, the one on the clock following. I wasn’t willing to trust just one alarm today! A breakfast of champions first, a bowl of Weetabix Minis Chocolate and a coffee took occupancy of my travel mug before leaving slightly late for the 0645 bus. Much to my surprise my sister is following a few minutes behind so I have someone to talk to this morning. My most travelled-on bus ever [VX12 FBO - Ed], by a very long way, is on the 0645 as usual, and after waiting for Morrisons to open I had the need for more coffee and a sausage bap from the cafe. Lunch sourced while I was here, it was off to the station to join 170516 and 153375 on the 0849 to Birmingham New Street. Feels like quite some time since I last did this one, used to be a weekly event! Still a mundane journey, and after flicking through the Metro I start watching Red. Got most of the way through it before the laptop got too low on charge to carry on. Oh, and as per usual, I forgot to see what was on the Tesco train coming down the Lickey! [I'm counting that as a personal tradition! :lol: - Ed]

    We arrived into platform 5b, most unusual in my experience, at 1022 and I head into town in search of something to kill time with. Costa coffee time, and I also visit Ian Allan in the hope of finding the 2014 NREA, as my 2012 copy is somewhat out of date now! Alas, I should have known I wouldn’t find it here so I give up for now (I’ll try again at the Manchester shop when I’m up there next, that one is usually better in my experience) and go to Hill Street in preparation for the next leg of my journey, doing something I’ve not done in years. Once I finally find the right place, I get chatting to the driver and it’s soon time to board. So what’s this that I’m doing that I’ve not done in years, not since December 2008, and yes I did have to scour the grey matter for when it was? Travelling on Megabus! I discover the Birmingham to Cambridge and Norwich route is rather new, starting last week. That’ll be why it was so cheap then [£2 each way and 50p booking fee - Ed]! KX07 HDJ is the coach for me this morning, and we leave 2 minutes early after everyone was on at 1118. I settle in for the 2 hours and 15 minutes journey, and we’re off via the M6 (first time I can remember doing that) then via the A14, M11 and A603. A major rebuild at J19 on the M1 is underway until mid-2016 and the sheer amount of civil engineering was impressive. Lunch time while cruising along the A14 somewhere, and I read a bit more of the current copy of RAIL. Arrival at Cambridge Parkside is at 1318, 17 minutes earlier than I expected. Now it was time to use the extremely useful app on my phone, Maps. I eventually reach Chesterton Road, and end up asking someone where The Portland Arms is. Turns out it’s not where Maps told me it was, but after about 35 minutes of walking I eventually reach it. Checking into the room, I leave the unnecessary stuff behind and put the laptop on charge. The travel mug gets another coffee in it and I head out for the long walk into town. It turns out the walk via Midsummer Common to Parkside is only around 15 minutes, wish I’d gone this way earlier! I end up asking a PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) for the route to the station, and he gives me a most helpful and detailed description, which I was most appreciative of. Having only ever been to Cambridge on trains and changing onto others, I was very much on virgin territory for me [poor joke alert - But Virgin Trains don't serve Cambridge! I know, awful... - Ed]!

    Eventually I get to the station at 1444, just as a train to Ipswich was leaving I found out soon after. The ticket for the main event of the day, an Anglia Plus Day Ranger, is got for £17.70 which has clearly flown up a fair bit since I last did one, although that was 2006 or 2008 if memory serves correctly so no surprise, and in all fairness I had a railcard back then [I really do miss my Young Persons Railcard :( - Ed]! The plan was now to get the 1512 to Norwich, however this was dud 170208. First train I can get and it’s dud, what are the odds?! Fortunately the ECS for the 1523 to Ely rolls in and my NREA tells me 365540 is required so I jump back off the 170 and onto that instead! Waterbeach is the first required station of the day, and I have only a short wait for 365516 coming up from London to take me forward to Ely. Winner number 2 for the day so far, and at this time I was thinking how poorly today’s going really so far. 1552 at Ely and I’d only got 2 winners so far, on a standard day out for me that would be unacceptably poor! However, I needed not fret as it turned out later. Read on to find out why...

    Food and drink is sourced from Tesco in Ely [but no Rubicon Mango Sparkling in large bottles! - Ed], then I return to the station and end up on dud 158774 to Thetford for station score number 2. I had no idea what was coming up on the 1612 from Cambridge behind us, however I had cause to celebrate as 170205 was on it which was required! First winner 170 in quite a while getting now, so I was well chuffed. Off to Norwich I go next, and I see the mini-loco hauled set is out today. When I say mini, I mean mini. 2 MK3s and a DVT, with 47818 at the front and 47841 on the rear! I toy with not doing it as 47818 is dud from a trip over here years back. However I recall I can do it to Brundall for a required station and get another train from there so I’m on. Of course, a few photos were required first! Off we go at 1737 towards Great Yarrrrrrrmouth [don't ask me what that came from, I don't remember! - Ed], and now I’m glad I did get on as 47818 is in much better health than last time I had it! The noise off it, from the front vestibule, was quite good considering it’s a short formation and I’m very happy. Not as happy as I was when I was genned up by the guard, who tells me that 37s should take the place of 47s in September. Sign me up for a week of that then please [good thing I've a fair bit of holiday time to come at work then! - Ed]! More photos and video at Brundall, including of the rather ancient way of doing things, with semaphore signals and manual crossing gates. 153309 and 153335 are both required on the 1750 Norwich to Lowestoft, which means I’ve now managed to score 3 153s this year so far, which I’m rather happy about! Off I go to Cantley [furthest east I've been this year so far! - Ed] for a +10 back, although I could have just about managed the +0 as it turned out onto 156417. That would have been a winner, sadly 156416 on the 1748 from Lowestoft was not, however I need to get on it to get back to Brundall for 47841. The refurbishment of 156416 is done to a very high standard I see, they’ve done a top quality job and it’s much more of a pleasure to travel on these now.

    Due to the minor delay, I unfortunately now don’t have time to pop into the pub by the station at Brundall for a quick half, however I’m soon made up by 47841 making one helluva racket coming in with the 1817 Great Yarrrrrrrrmouth to Norwich. It has certainly been quite a while since my last winner 47 on the mainline, I’m thinking that would have been 47818 years ago! A good bit of noise is enjoyed on the run back to Norwich [with a smile from one ear to the other, and a big desire to have a proper good flail for the first time in years! - Ed], and we arrive at 1851 meaning there’s plenty of time to get another photo before joining winner 90008 on the 1900 to London Liverpool Street. I always, always forget how far it is to Diss, and I got worried we’d gone past it [I kid you not, I hunted down the guard to double-check I wasn't having a blonde moment or randomly blacked out! - Ed]! I’m getting off here for the trio of 321s on the 1930 Norwich to Liverpool Street, and I see it’s non-stop through Stowmarket. I swear it used to be all Norwich to London express services calling at both Diss and Stowmarket, not any more it seems. Rather fortunate then there’s time at Ipswich to get the train to Cambridge then, and it’s 321319, 321339 and 321333 on it today. 319 and 339 were winners, can’t remember when I had 333. We leave 2 minutes late and encounter another 6 minutes of delay on the way to Ipswich, the cause unknown. That new Bacon [mmm, bacon! - Ed] Factory Curve is longer than I expected, and to my surprise it’s double track too. Arrival into Ipswich is at almost 2018, not a good thing when the next Cambridge leaves at 2020! Fortunately it’s leaving from platform 1, right next to where I got off the 321s. Bonus here is that it was 170202 tonight, which was a winner! Always nice to end the day on a winner, fair play, and the trek over feels like an eternity. Wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t almost run out of charge in my phone, but hey! I observe 170273 on the 1950 Peterborough to Colchester (what a weird choice of destination!), and working backwards through the timetable I would have probably scored that if I’d got the 1632 from Ely to Ipswich. That being said, I wouldn’t have got that 47 if I had so it’s all good!

    After arriving at 2136 into Cambridge, it’s time for the long walk to base camp [my accommodation, for those who haven't read one of these before - Ed], with a short stop at Tesco Express first. I eventually get back around 2215 and find there’s a band playing downstairs so it’s not a quiet environment. Much prep work to do for tomorrow, and eventually most of it is done for the time being. De-rancification is brought forward to tonight as I don’t see me being awake enough in the morning somehow, and after a bit of Family Guy I finally fall asleep around 0020. Turned out to be a pretty darn good afternoon and evening, with 10 winners and 4 required stations. Worth me making the effort to get right across the country for sure!

    03/06/2014 – Day 2

    Both alarms managed to wake me up without too much effort, much to my surprise, at 0600 and it’s time to get some more preparation for departure done. I do feel gutted I’m going home already, more so that I’ve got work this afternoon and evening, but I manage to get the travel mug to accept its new tenant, a doubled-up Nescafe (doubled up I hear you say, why ever do that? Simple, there’s not much coffee in those sachets!) and seven packets of sugar. Yes you read that right, seven. Same as the coffee, there’s just not enough sugar in the packets for me [plus I don't trust sugar to dissolve properly, so the stirring takes a while... - Ed]! Somehow I manage to start running low on time, even with very little to do this morning, and leave around 0643 for the walk to Parkside. I really need to look into why, but my top of my left foot is feeling funny today. I have a feeling it’s these work boots of mine, but I need to further research that [as I edit this at 0122 on Wednesday morning, it seems to have been caused by something and not a direct result of footwear but it sure don't help! - Ed]. Why am I wearing work boots on a trip away? I had no room in my bag for them so had little choice but to wear them all day yesterday and today. Even with the foot being a pain, quite literally, I manage to walk to Parkside in the allocated 15 minutes and observe the National Express party this morning. There were coaches to Brighton, London, Liverpool and Norwich all within about 15 minutes of each other, as well as a Megabus to Norwich.

    Eventually KX07 HDJ rolls in, the same coach as yesterday and the same driver too. He tells me about a tractor and trailer who passed him en-route yesterday to Norwich who smacked into his mirror on a section with narrow lanes and who hadn’t stopped, and we get going at 0723, 3 minutes late. Surprisingly, I’m the only one on board this morning and that included from Norwich! So being the only one on, I should have had a booking for £1 surely? Ah well, £2 is still a bargain! It’s back along the A603, M11 and A14 to the M6, and I whip out the laptop to type up the trip report, having been way too tired last night to even start it. It takes a little over an hour to do and right then, we approach J2 on the A14. Now to get the spreadsheet updated and at least start on processing yesterday’s observations [oh crepe, I haven't finished doing those yet! - Ed]! With all of that done somewhere on the M6, it was time to recline the seat and relax for a while. We arrive into Birmingham at 0947, 18 minutes earlier than expected, and I was RA (Right Away) to Costa for a large Americano. As I had plenty of time before the 1049 to Hereford, I decided to drink in for a change. LM reply to my tweet to tell me it’s 150107 [one day, one day 150105 will be underlined in the books... - Ed] today, so I change plans and get a Virgin Trains Only day return to Birmingham International for £3. Fortunately I’m in luck, as the 1030 to London Euston is 390122 which is a winner! I get so busy watching planes out of the window on the approach to International that I leave my bag of sandwiches and choccy bars on the table, oops! After what felt like an age of waiting, the 0943 London Euston to Glasgow Central rolls in with 390134, winner winner chicken dinner [mmm, chicken dinner... - Ed]! Well worth that £3 then! On I get in coach U for a change and as we’re following 2 other trains it’s a really slow journey but eventually I’m back at New Street at 1119. I figure I must have time to pick up a coffee for the journey homeward bound, however the new Caffe Nero outside New Street was taking so very long serving other people, I gave up [no doubt to DanTrainMan185's relief, I'm not deserting Costa yet! - Ed] and got some food for a much needed breakfast and lunch. Tesco Metro to the rescue as is often the case! Down to platform 12B this time, still annoyed I had to flag 390016 on the 1130 to London Euston, and I join 170501 on the 1149 to Hereford.

    Right time away, and I finally get the paper moves book done. Oh, and that chicken, bacon and stuffing sandwich went down so well it was unreal! Out with the laptop again after changing into work trousers, time to update this trip report somewhat. Not enough battery to update the observations, but that can be done later. Well annoyed I’ve got to go to work but hey. I definitely don’t like that Volvic Juiced Berry Medley either, good golly gosh that was rancid. So glad I didn’t buy a big bottle of it elsewhere! Arrival into Hereford is at 1315,and I make the long walk to work. 25 minutes later it’s coffee time and it’s such a drag of a day! Finally it’s over and I’m on my usual mode of transport home with YJ59 GFZ [somehow, not the same as getting a train! - Ed]. Time for food when I get in as I was starving and I end up falling asleep while catching up on missed TV so it was off to bed at 0040!

    Great trip all in all, can’t wait for another one now!
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2014
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  3. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    At least you didn't have the same train 3 times in a row for 3 different trips, damn that 156

    Anglia Plus Day Ranger, must be one of the few rangers which can be purchased from a Ticket machine. I plan to return to that area around the 9th August (haven't checked yet for any engineering works)
     
  4. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    I got my ticket from the ticket office, didn't think of using the TVM but will do next time :)

    Well worth a repeat visit for you if you ask me, indeed I hope to return soon myself :)
     
  5. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(


    and I hope youl us megabus again to ge there. Fantastic. Wonder what depot does this run? Oh and that pub you stayed in, any good?
     
  6. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    The Portland Arms? It was OK but the rooms are up some fairly hefty stairs with no alternatives so not terribly helpful for some people. Didn't visit the bar bit, was too tired by the time I got back in the evening and it felt too early in the afternoon when I first got there to drop bags off.

    Aye I'll be using Megabus again in the future, when and where to I don't yet know. No clue on Megabus depots I'm afraid!
     
  7. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

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    Good idea! Without trying to nick ideas, I might do the same, on the basis that you are right, it doesn't get cluttered.

    Never watched it believe it or not. Only watched BBT including the new series. Maybe I should start..

    I too always go on two alarms, much like a power car, I can't rely on one!

    it was off to the station to join 170516 and 153375 on the 0849 to Birmingham New Street. [/QUOTE]

    May I ask, did you ride in the 170 or 153? Just wondering that's all. Just for example if a 158 or 150 and 153 showed up, I go for the 153, on the basis that I've been up the Avon Valley on a 158 or 150 so many times, I like to listen to a 153 up the valley mainly as it's not that often I get the chance to.

    Is that the bigger book with the tube stock, track machines etc in? I noticed on the Pathfinder tour last month and the recent tour had a 2014 NREA combined, but seemed to be a smaller version missing out the LU stuff, track machines and other bits. Maybe they will be in another version soon?

    Bloody hell, last time for me was donkeys years ago on the TTF meet to Scotland! :lol:!

    Did better than me for finding something after a walk that long, on the RUK Cardiff challenge I spent 30-35 minutes walking trying to find Radyr from Coryton. After giving up, I got the next bus to Central, only to pass Coryton station no more than a minute later! Basically I spent 35 minutes walking in a loop :lol:!

    Blimey! Is that an all zones one? I remember looking at certain zone ones for less, with the all zones one being more (I think there are some season versions too for a week/month etc). Not bad price for a day I suppose, but you are right about missing the Y-P

    I've been thinking about getting a Network Card to do stations/routes in Kent and the South East, and gives you discounts on Travelcards mainly on weekends. You also get discounts on some rovers too like the Kennet Day Ranger, Thames ranger etc.

    :lol:!!!! Almost had a similar situation recently, something for my trip report...

    [/QUOTE]however I had cause to celebrate as 170205 was on it which was required! First winner 170 in quite a while getting now, so I was well chuffed.[/QUOTE]

    Almost like Anglia in Hellfire, chuffed when an actual required MR 31/37 turns up :lol: Is one of those 170's still in Anglia Spearmint livery?

    Must watch the video after. I've seen those mini set's before vice DMU. I wonder what the idea of towing the DVT is about, I can only assume it's either for using the handbrake for the stock (like a BSO is used for) or to do the door operation from...or both...

    Auto announcer?

    I bet! Finding some of them is like finding needle in a haystack! Only heard recently there's a possible (not confirmed mind) plan to reform them to 155's again :roll: just nearly finish them in time to do them all over again...

    LOL the long drag. I know what you mean. I remember watching a Railscene cab ride on the GEML, from Diss to Norwich I literally fell asleep!

    As for the 321's, it is booked, but then it seems Stowmarket is hourly, I say that as the 1830 is fast past there too. I seem to recall in ONE days that Stowmarket was hourly, it might still be the case.

    That sounded confusing, thought you meant you had a trio of GA 319's to Cambridge!

    Haven't seen that yet. I was surprised at Hitchin curve too, seems to go out all the way to Grantham before pulling back to Shepreth...well that's what it looks like :lol:

    [/QUOTE]I observe 170273 on the 1950 Peterborough to Colchester (what a weird choice of destination!)[/QUOTE]

    Always thought that myself, still runs then, always wondered if it uses a rare # or bay, doubtful. It used to, and probably still does, run to a rather sparse 2 hourly interval.

    Blimey, same coach too! Almost worth wondering why you didn't get the £1 fare, unless 10 people or something coincidentally decided not to turn up?

    ROFL!! :lol:


    Damn good report as always! Makes a change to be somewhere different I suppose. Last time I done an Anglia day ranger was when Anglia existed :shock:! Ironically that's when I had 47818 from Liv Street - Ipswich!
     
  8. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    I have observed your reply, however it will be a million times easier to reply when I'm next on the laptop. Hence a lack of proper reply yet, but I have lots to comment on!

    Also, to let you all know there will be another trip report soon, as I'm on my way to London currently on 350242. Find out in the next few days whether it was a winner and what happens. I'll mention it now though, I'm not looking forward to the 0400 alarm tomorrow...
     
  9. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    It seems to be working, but I'm not convinced yet.

    I think you should watch Big Bang Theory, it's brilliant :D

    Just makes sense don't it, especially if you're on Advances and can't change plans!

    Most of the time I'll go for the 153, on this occasion I went for the 170 as I was watching a DVD and the volume wasn't massively loud on the laptop and I struggled to hear much as it was.

    The NREA doesn't have LU stock or track machines AFAIK, I can't personally see it happening in future versions but who knows? I have a separate ST Publications UK Combined 2013 book which covers all of the UK, Ireland and light rail, including LU and track machines.

    Crikey, that was what, November 2004? Seems like an absolute eternity ago, to think it's not far off 10 years ago is unreal. How different we all were back then...

    Aye it is an All Zones Anglia Plus, I looked into doing the smaller zones instead, but that appears only to be an option for season tickets.

    I keep forgetting about the Network Card, I could use it from Worcester at least for Thames Valley/London trips. It needs to be looked into further, however I would need to use it at least once a month to make it worthwhile.

    :lol::lol::lol:

    170273 is still in Anglia livery yes, can't see that changing for ages!

    I think it's more for brake force than owt else, and yeah when the DVT was towards the front dispatch was done from it.

    Some weeks after the Anglia bash, I forget where the inspiration for "Yarrrrmouth" came from. It came to mind at the time and sounded funny so decided to use it in the trip report.

    I bet! Finding some of them is like finding needle in a haystack! Only heard recently there's a possible (not confirmed mind) plan to reform them to 155's again :roll: just nearly finish them in time to do them all over again...

    It is an endurance, but I still remain impressed at the high speed run, especially heading to London. For some reason it feels much more of an adventure.

    Aye I've seen it's 1702 London Liverpool Street to Norwich and 1930 Norwich to London Liverpool Street for 321s. I swear back in 2008 it was every 30 minutes at Stowmarket on London to Norwich services, but I could be wrong.

    Yeah I must admit that was badly written! :lol:

    The rest of the day it terminates at Ipswich, so it's quite weird. I have a hunch it'll roll into the normal southbound platform when it gets to Colchester, then go ECS into the depot but never seen it so no gen.

    Aye it could have been several people didn't show up, but I wasn't complaining :lol:

    Glad you enjoyed it James, I shall be reading your one shortly. Been so busy catching up with everything after running out of time to do much all week, I haven't got my trip report typed up yet from the epic London bash! It will be done soon though, hopefully. Definitely getting on with it as soon as possible tomorrow if not!

    Aye I have had quite some variety this year for sure. Done a few places multiple times though, but hey!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Right then, I doubt I'll get all this done in one go, however as it's almost Tuesday which means it's almost back to work after 2 lovely lazy days off, I must start it before memory fails me miserably! I don't write my trip reports up as I go so much any more, going to have to change that by the looks of things! Anyway, let's crack on!

    15th June 2014 - London Bash

    After a less than brilliant night of rest, I'm rather glad I didn't have to be up early as I over-dossed past my alarm for an hour! Less time to get prepared than I would have liked, so it's a good thing it was mostly done the night before! I'm only on a bash today (a Sunday) as my sister's going into work on overtime so I booked my trip to work around that. I get dropped off in town as there's a lot of time to kill before the train, so have a slow walk through town, using the ATM on the way. After picking up the Advances, I am surprised Pumpkin's open before 12 noon on a Sunday (although I'm not sure what time it's due to open anyway) and visit there for a coffee. £1.84 later and I have my second coffee of the day :)

    170634 is out and about today on the 1200 to Birmingham New Street, and I find myself a table seat. I don't remember much occupying the journey, other than making a few observations and noting the arrival at Shrub Hill of 5V80, an ECS movement from Tyseley to Worcester, formed of 150105, 170635, 170509 and 153334. Made for quite the sight, that's for sure! Arrival into New Street is bang on time this afternoon at 1337, and I go for a stroll outside the station. As I haven't long had my packed lunch, it's not a trip to Tesco Metro for once and I end up at Costa. A most welcome coffee again and a bit more strolling before heading back down to the platforms for the 1414 to London Euston. 350242 rolls in for it on the 1124 from London, dud sadly (out of the 13 350/2s that I need too, but hey!), and I make my way to First Class since I had booked a 1st Advance for only £1.50 more than a Standard one would have cost. We head out on time, much to my surprise (other times we leave a couple of minutes late as the xx10 with Virgin to London is usually a little late leaving), and I get the phone on charge and get onto Twitter.

    Eventually the TM arrives to kick out the non-Weekend First-paying passengers, with one woman making such a fuss about it it was unreal. Thought she was going to make herself cry the way it was going...Not much to mention otherwise until Northampton, where I'm sure I scored a required crossover into platform 3. I also just about managed to observe 350373 on the depot, first 350/3 for sight! :D We're banging onto another 350 at Northampton, and soon after the coupling up's done I have a walk through to check which one it is. 13 350/2s to get and now...*drum roll please*...

    Still 13 more 350/2s to get, as it's 350238. Off we go again at 1525, and I see we're calling at Harrow and Wealdstone. I don't remember that happening normally on Euston to Birmingham LM services! I make mental note of a couple of 378/2s out on the DC lines, just in case it proves to be useful later on. One of these being 378210, which long-time readers of my trip readers may remember was my last 378 to see until I happened to note it on the way back from a London trip ages ago. Wembley EUFOC gives me my first sightings of 377/7s, 377705 and 377702, much to my surprise and delight! We arrive into Euston at 1635, 3 up, and I try to find a TVM on the concourse that would sell me a Zones 1-9 Travelcard, however this isn't possible so I head downstairs and get onto the LU ticket machines, miraculously one is available with no queue, and £12.50 later I have my Off Peak Zones 1-9 Travelcard. It's straight off to the Victoria line, and I'm already in the mindset for the Tube, this one being 'Grr, get out of my way! Don't you know the Tube ettiquette?!' <D

    11024 is scored here (11023 having been done before I started recording my moves on the Tube properly) on a trip to Seven Sisters and we use the terminating platform. I obviously didn't follow the signs properly, as I end up on street level, but I had wanted the mainline platforms. Oops! I head along the streets to the mainline and, had I been a few minutes quicker, I could have got a 317 up to Edmonton Green or beyond, however I do score 315834 on the 1700 Liverpool Street to Enfield Town and I head straight for a motor coach. Not that I could hear much of the motors for the first couple of stops, mind, as it was rather busy on this 4-car train! Still, it's not that far to Edmonton Green which is my first required station of the trip :) 317651 is next up for a trip to Turkey Street, sadly this one is dud, and again it's onto a motor coach for the sounds :D

    I get a phone call from home saying about how a tyre exploded on my Mum's car, with a recovery vehicle coming from some way away, whilst I was at Turkey Street. I don't know if any other forum members can visualise how it sounded and looked in my head, hearing town names like Llandrindod when in the metropolis that is London. Two very different worlds, two very different lifestyles (although that gap is becoming smaller as each year passes) there...Anyway, as I'm feeling glad it didn't happen earlier and that everyone was OK, winner 317663 is rolling in from Hertford East and I jump on for the short trip to Southbury for station score number 3 of the day. With 20 minutes to kill here, I get my notebook and NREA up to date, something that's surprisingly difficult to do when on a busy series of moves! 317515 is next up to take me to Theobalds Grove, the last station on this line to Cheshunt I needed to visit (bar Cambridge Heath, but I'll get there eventually), and I have a long wait for the next train so I have a look about and find a most helpful map suggesting Waltham Cross (another required station) wasn't that far a walk away.

    Out comes Maps on the phone to check this, and sure enough thankfully I find it is a walkable route all the way. However I'm also in dire need of food now, it being nearly half 6 in the evening and I had my light lunch well over 5 hours ago now. I pass on Tesco Express, and I'm glad I did as I found a KFC further down the road :D. It's been forever since I went to a KFC, and a Popcorn Chicken Snackbox for £1.99 fits very nicely into my tight budget and goes down a right royal storm (hmm, that gives me an idea for a trip title one day...), and was the only hot food I had all day as it turned out. Without the KFC stop, I estimate the walk from Theobalds Grove to Waltham Cross would take around 15 minutes, not too bad really. I have until 1859 for the next train into town, so I get devouring of the meal! I'm also very, very glad I came this way today after all, as I ended up scoring my last two 379s for sight (002 and 022) here! :D

    Winner 379018 comes in to take me to Tottenham Hale, 11 minutes later I was getting off and getting over to the Victoria line. I see you have to leave the station through the barriers to then re-enter the station currently to access the Victoria line, I hope this won't be the case permanently as it does add more time to the journey than necessary. 11017 and 11018 are a double win on the trip to Euston, and it's up to the mainline platforms now to finish the Euston DC lines stations off. 378228 is a winner first on the trip to Hatch End, where a fortunate quick connection is made onto winner 378226 back down the very short distance to Headstone Lane. With plenty of time here, I get the notebook back out to update it. I knew dud 378212 was on the next trip for Bushey, and of course from there I get 378228 again to Carpenders Park. One more station to go, and that's Watford High Street. Winner 378256 comes up to take me there and I arrive at 2059, exactly 2 hours after leaving Waltham Cross.

    Having checked the maps previously, I knew it wasn't a long way to Watford Central Travelodge from High Street station, certainly a lot closer than the map suggested it was from LU's Watford station. Crikey that's a long way out of town! Junction I can understand being a little further out, but Watford LU suggests that it's relatively central to the place it's named after! The location of the stations was one reason why I chose to do the Euston DC lines stations tonight, as it made sense to do them all now whilst in the area and had a Z1-9 Travelcard than to do them on separate trips. About 10 minutes later I was checking in and getting up to my room. Sadly Travelodge have gone for Sleepezee (or however you spell it) beds in their rooms across the land, and I'm definitely not a fan! Be warned, the following is a fair bit of a rant...

    Considering they're supposed to provide an amazing sleep, I couldn't sleep for hours which was most disappointing. Finally though, after around 3 hours of trying to get comfortable, sleep finally arrives! I am a bit of a fan of Travelodge, far more than of Premier Inn as the latter's beds are traditionally, in my view at least, ridiculously uncomfortable in all bar one of their hotels I stayed in. Now Travelodge have joined them in the get-rid-of-comfy-beds-for-inferior-quality-sleeping-devices-that-resemble-Argos-Value-mattresses war, and I really don't approve (and don't start me on their advertising campaign of late...)! You may think I'm exaggerating with the Argos Value matress thing, but I have one of those (have done for years) with a memory foam mattress topper. Without the topper, that mattress is outrageously uncomfortable and this is after several years (no joke, it's been used since 2005 at least now) of use. If someone else at home hadn't got rid of the wrong mattress, I would still have the most luxuriously comfortable bed in the universe, however that's not the case. If Travelodge had one of the Best Night's Sleep guarantees I would definitely have taken it up with them and demanded money back, alas they don't do that. Sadly, Travelodge seem to think these beds are wonderful and so are implementing them into all their hotels, so it looks like I will looking elsewhere now :(

    Anyway, that'll do for the rant. To sum up the above, it's safe to assume I left some rather negative feedback in the survey I received by email! The trip report for day 2 will follow this one shortly, it's going to take ages to type up and may have to be done in multiple parts as it is. To finish off day 1, some statistics:

    Mileage for the day: 220 miles, 61 chains
    Mileage move of the day: 65m56c on 350238 and 350242
    Insect leap of the day: 0m60c on 378226
    Highlight of the day: Finishing the 379s for sight
    Disappointment of the day: That darn bed!
    Winners: 10
    Required stations: 10

    Day 2 is coming, I need a break for a good few minutes before carrying on!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    OK then, I've had a look at and replied to other threads, so I've had a bit of a break now. I don't see me finishing day 2 off in one go I'm afraid, as I've got a double bill of new episodes of Pawn Stars to watch, as well as a new one of Mythbusters and Shipping Wars so I might only get so far tonight before a break is had! Onwards and upwards for now though...

    EDIT: Wow, I eventually made it in one sitting! :shock: It took WAY too long to type up just day 2, I think it was about 3 hours!

    16th June 2014 - "Man, This Better Be Worth It, Rick!"

    I should first of all explain the trip title. The shortest possible version of the backstory behind it is that to do Rickmansworth Curve, the most awkward bit of the Underground to get, I would need to be up darn early, when I really wanted some sleep. So the early start had better be worth it, so I took apart the name of Rickmansworth somewhat and came up with the trip title this comes with (probably not the best one I could have done, but what do you expect at 0438 in the morning?! :lol:).

    Alternative trip titles included things like 'Metropolitan Madness', which I still think sounds OK. So, was the early start worth it? Read on and find out!

    Well as mentioned in the trip report for 15th June 2014, sleep was difficult to come by unfortunately. I last saw the time at approximately 0216, and the alarms were going off at 0400. Something in the region of around 95 minutes of sleep in the end was had, not even close to enough. I predict at this point, with eyes stinging and feeling heavier than a backpacker's rucksack, that a LOT of coffee would be had today, although as I look back at it now a week later it wasn't as much of it had as I expected. Thankfully much of the preparations had been made last night, including de-rancification as I somehow knew I wouldn't want a shower at 0400! I drop off the keycard and start the walk to Watford Junction station, with the blister on the right foot really noticeable already. "This is going to be fun" I think to myself, and having studied multiple times the map for the walking route to the station last night I knew the route and got my 'Tech's Pumped Up Playlist' (indeed, as I'm typing I have it going on again to keep me going through the epic story telling! It should be found here, pump up the volume!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvRCCj5Ffxs&list=PLUOhWf9YeDRbnJwqwtrqSaAhSOQ5yevTG&index=1) going on to wake me up a fair bit. It worked quite well that!

    "Woah, hold on! Why are you going to Watford Junction on an Underground bash?!" I hear you all asking. The answer to that lies in my "Zones 1-9 Query" thread in Trip Planning and Reports on this forum, but to answer it here there was no way of making it by train to Rickmansworth for the 0513 Chesham to Watford, one of the PSUL journeys which uses Rickmansworth Curve. So, how am I getting to Rickmansworth then? By using route 724, Harlow to Heathrow, an Arriva Greenline bus route. It leaves Watford Junction at 0500 and gets to Rickmansworth LU station at 0514. I surmise from a bit of estimating that a Watford to Rickmansworth single should only be £3 or less, after all it's not that far. Nope, as I board BK58 URL I find it's £4.20! Quite a bit more than I was expecting to say the least, however I have no choice but to pay it. That knocked more out of my budget than I liked, less money for food and drink today now then!

    Anyway, we get to Rickmansworth at 0514 and I'm glad I don't have to use that route very often at all. Imagine the ching from Harlow to Heathrow, it must be insane! My Anytime Zones 1-9 Travelcard is bought, after I see an option on the TVM to include Shenfield and somewhere else too I believe. That was £27.30, which made my ticket sound cheap at £21 (if £21 can sound cheap, after all that's more than I spent getting to and from London!), which is likely to be my most expensive Travelcard ever bought. £8.50 difference between the Anytime and Off Peak versions, which made me wish I'd made more effort to find my Oyster card! Although, again looking back a week later, I suspect it wouldn't have worked out any cheaper with the amount of touching in/out I would have done. 21011+21012 roll in for a double win on the 0513 Chesham to Watford, and I should add the weather was absolutely stunning this morning! A video clip of the journey over the curve is got, and will be uploaded in due course. It's only a 7 minute journey to Watford, and I get straight back onto 21012+21011 for the journey towards London. For some reason I didn't take any photos, although since I was very low on phone charge before I got back to Birmingham, and this after having a full charge when leaving the Travelodge, it's just as well!

    Croxley might as well be scooped while I'm here, and 16 minutes later 21050+21049 roll in for another double win on a trip down the slow lines to North Harrow, the furthest I'd previously travelled on the Metropolitan towards Amersham. I have 10 minutes to examine the timetable poster before another double win with 21015+21016 for the trip to Northwood. I decided I might as well score another shack while waiting for a Chesham train, and here I found a bakery which, although it wasn't actually open yet, got me a large coffee for £2 and was of fair taste and strength. Shame the outlet on Northwood station doesn't do coffee really, would have been easier! I had had the opportunity to score 21001+21002 to Northwood Hills instead, however my second coffee of the day was deemed far more important! Double win yet again with 21005+21006 (you can tell I really didn't do much at all on the Metropolitan line previously! :lol:) up to another station score at Moor Park and no further on this train, otherwise I'd have been going to Watford again.

    My first S7 of the day is had next on a Chesham train, with the n'th double win of the day with 21327+21328 for the 25 minute journey. No doubt it's quicker normally but we did have two significant waits at red signals. It's quite the weird experience being on a single track Underground line this far away from the city, curving away as if we were on a country road (it sure reminded me of a local 'A' road in places!) in places with vegetation quite close to the windows. I expected a quick turnaround here, so stayed with the train and got my seat early. Probably just as well as it was pretty full well before departure time at 0734. My eyes are already feeling tired, this is not a good sign! Back I go with 21328+21327, this time to Chorleywood. I may as well get the stations beyond zone 6 done while I'm up here, and I go for a walk around initially. Then I noticed on the timetable poster a Chiltern service was due in just a few minutes so I cancelled that plan and went back through the barrier. I get lost finding the subway again, when I finally discover it's the other side of the barrier! So I get let through this time and make it with just enough time to find my NREA in my pocket (it felt like looking up an old friend, that's how long it felt like since I'd last used it!) before the Chiltern service arrived.

    Wahey, winner 165018 is on the front. What's at the back? 165029, hmm...nope, dud from several years ago when I had it from Marylebone to Snow Hill and Snow Hill to Moor Street (strangely I can remember that well!). Still, a winner DMU is getting hard to come across and, let's face it, quite a nice change from S stock after much time spent on them already today. I joined my first S stock of the day at 0530, it's now 0751 and I'm only just getting on something different! The 4 minute journey went by outrageously fast, and the diesel noise extremely welcome, as we were soon at Chalfont and Latimer. Double wins were back now, with 21035+21036 for the trip to Amersham. Worth mentioning I've probably covered this area, bar the Chesham and Watford branches obviously, several years back when I did Marylebone to Aylesbury and back. I can't remember when that was, but I'd reckon it was 2004. However, I hadn't done the LU bits before so it still needed doing!

    Coffee time again here at Amersham, and platform 3 is very crowded at 0809, with the next train due to leave at 0817 and with more people to come. The lack of facilities for gentlemen here (or if it was there, it was not at all obvious!) was not welcoming, however I still get my third coffee of the day and again, it was of reasonable strength and taste. Not bad for the money, £1.80 I think it was for a medium size cup which was fairly generous. The prices for the coffee in these parts, considering they're supposedly fairly affluent, was considered to be acceptable, better than I expected at least! Another double win next with another S7 set, 21323+21324, on a semi-fast service to Aldgate. I wanted to sample a fast service, and by now it was getting to be more and more needed to get up and deal with the morning's liquids! So it was a bail at Rickmansworth, arriving back here at 0826, 2 hours and 56 minutes after I joined my first train here! Thankfully the next train's a fast one, and 21036+21035 have returned to take me to Finchley Road. Standing only by now, which came in handy after all as it made it so much easier to note other Underground trains!

    After a 24 minute journey, on which I wasn't blown away by the 'fast' train along the Met, I arrive at Finchley Road with a super easy connection onto the Jubilee line and 96047+96038. I needed to hurry up and get into London itself now, I had spent way more time on the Metropolitan than I expected. However, the entire Underground network was now covered! :D:D:D It took me long enough to get on with it, but it's finally done and to be fair, it's been a pretty good morning. So I'm very happy anyway, my books look so very much better now! I had intended to take this Jubilee train to Green Park, however I change plans and jump off at Swiss Cottage for the station score. 96052+96060 roll in not much later to take me to Green Park, but again I jump off the double win at St Johns Wood for the station score. A 3 minute wait this time, and yet another double win with 96067+96042, this time actually making it to Green Park! I could have alighted at Baker Street off the Metropolitan line, but this got me two additional station scores and 6 more Underground scores. Plus I absolutely hate the interchange between the Met and the Jubilee/Bakerloo!

    I must have got quite a few 2009 stock sets in the book now, as double dud 11037+11038 are in charge of wizzing me from Green Park to Victoria. I must say I quite like the 2009 stock, and now I'm well used to the S stock I don't mind that either. Somehow a trip on the Metropolitan doesn't seem so dire now, indeed it seems acceptable to use it! Don't get me wrong, I liked the 67 stock previously in use on the Victoria line, and my last journey on an 'A' stock wasn't as horrible as previous lines had been, but I will never fully understand my hatred for the 'A' stock. Anyway, onto the mainline for the first time properly today, at long last, I figure the suburban platforms would be best to try and get a winner 377/6 in the book, plus it's not as far to walk to compared to the other platforms so that's a bonus this morning! No 377/6s, but 377411+377413 are on the 0931 to Horsham, that'll do. Double dud as it turned out, but I needed the higher numbered platforms at Clapham Junction anyway so it'll do. So imagine my dismay when I saw a Southampton Central/Bognor Regis train pass by with a trio of winner 377/1s on it, which I could have got on if I'd made the effort! <(

    However, it was worth the effort in the end as, per diagram posted on the forum, 377625 and 377704 were on the 0858 Dorking to Victoria for a double win. 377704 was on its first day in passenger service (which I'd only found out about by chance, reading the thread on 377/7s during the difficulty sleeping during the small hours of the morning) and this was its third working of the day. I can't remember the last time I was there for a train's first day of working passenger trains, if I've ever done it, so this was a huge plus for me today! :D Back to Victoria I go, and from there I decide to have a look at the Southeastern side and see what's there. 465922 is noticed as a winner on the 0958 to Gillingham, and I have just enough to get there. On I get into a motor coach and I remembered just how much I loved the Networker Noise, and how much I miss the classic sound the /0s used to make! Off to Bromley South on this via Bellingham, notable as it's slightly longer than via Brixton.

    I have a walk about here, as the next Victoria train is fairly late. I also note Subway over the road, which reminds me I've still not eaten yet today. This being at 1018 or so in the morning, so I get over the road as quick as possible for a sausage sub for £2. Sadly no coffee, or alternative drink, as the machine was out of use. Fortunately I have some water left still yet so that'll do and the food goes down beautifully! Back on the platforms, I await the delayed 1020 to Victoria, but the 1035 comes in first which has winner 465904 on it which will do nicely! I don't know which way we went, as I was too busy uploading photos of 377704 to Twitter and Facebook! 16 minutes later I was back at Victoria and noticing how little time I had left in London already. Back to the Victoria line next, as I was on a right royal mission next (hmm, another trip title idea there!), but will I actually get the infernal thing? Read on and find out...

    Winner 11030 is had (11029 was another set I scored before logging my Underground trips properly), and I change plans a bit here. Off at Oxford Circus to change for the Central line, on which I score 91263, 93094, 92426 and 92109. I have to say, it's a mission trying to note the numbers and simultaneously look at your phone to type them into a memo file! :lol: On I get, no idea where I'm alighting yet. It turns out I've done more Central London Central Line stations than I thought, so I was off to Holland Park now. Or, was I? One reason to do this was to pass non-stop through Bond Street, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds going non-stop through Underground stations both fascinating and bizarre in equal measures! If it's not already finished, it will soon and then the Jubilee trains will run non-stop through Bond Street for the majority of the rest of 2014. We get to Notting Hill Gate and apparently at White City, someone's activated the passenger alarm so we're being held for now here, pending further instructions. Fortunately this clears up soon enough and we get going onwards towards West Ruislip.

    91093, 93406, 93410 and 91223 are another quadruple win, this time I'm off to Chancery Lane for another station score, and the destination of this train couldn't be made out from the PA thing for ages. Only when I got off at looked at the screen did it finally make sense. Loughton it was going to, although it sounded more like "Auck-ton", or at least something like that, definitely didn't sound like how I'd pronounce it ("Low-ton" if you're wondering...)! Not that far off clearing the Central Line stations, same for the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines. Quite, the Victoria Line was done ages ago and the Bakerloo only has 1 left to get. Me thinks a lot of light rail bashing in the future! The 5 minute wait at Chancery Lane feels like ages, but I spend the time positioning myself as well as possible to get the numbers of my next Central Line train, this time to Bank. A quadruple win with 91253, 92074, 92440 and 92107 had here for the 3 minute journey where I'm changing for the Northern Line. No, not THAT Northern Line! ;):lol: (this is a joke I used on a Merseyrail Northern Line journey when I went up there earlier this year, except this time the Northern Lines in question are reversed! I found it funny at least...) 51595 and 51715 are a double win on the short trip to Old Street (64 chains according to RailMiles, although that's massive compared to the leap to Swiss Cottage earlier, that was just 30 chains!), where I'm changing to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time, and it's something I keep forgetting about doing or keep putting off until the next London bash. Read on to find out what...

    Once I found my way upstairs to the mainline platforms (although these in a previous life formed the Northern City line apparently, I don't know my London railway history enough to fully understand what happened here), I end up after some minutes waiting on winner 313032 on the leap to Drayton Park. Good grief isn't this line covered in NSE stuff everywhere?! There's still indications of the WAGN area, although this can also be found at Seven Sisters as well as a couple of other places. Instead of waiting for the next southbound train, after noticing the towering Emirates Stadium, I go for a bit of a wander. When I go back down to the platforms, I see the next northbound train is due to be a pair of 313s. And like anyone who's played Hellfire a bit tooooo much, the obvious saying came to mind: "My God, it's a pair!" :lol: It rolls in with 313054 and 313045, with only the latter being a winner sadly, and it's off up the hill to Finsbury Park.

    Good grief hasn't this place changed a lot in recent years! Barriers galore and modernised platforms too, sadly there was no time to visit Puccinos (it is becoming a bit of a tradition for me when on the Southern Region, or indeed anywhere else with a Puccinos, that when I need a coffee I go to Puccinos) I would definitely recommend it over that other cafe at Orpington, although this has been covered in a previous trip report, I believe March's Red Pen Fest will have covered this. I didn't have time to run over for the next Moorgate train unfortunately, so I soak up the atmosphere here, as Finsbury Park is one of the classic spotting locations for me in the last 10 and something years. A London trip wasn't a London trip if it didn't involve a trip to here, most commonly on a 365 bash from t'Cross. Bear with me for a few minutes, I'm having a fairly significant trip along Nostalgia Avenue here...*enjoys memories across London of the last 10 years, goes in hunt of nostalgic music, Nickelback's Photograph will do nicely*...Right, I'm back. So, where were we?

    Oh yes, 313062 was a winner on the 1231 to Moorgate, on which I had yet another trip in a motor coach, alighting at Essex Road this time to clear the stations on this line. Now to get to Highbury and Islington, where I reckon a quicker interchange with the Victoria line can be had than at Finsbury Park. Dud 313018 takes me for the 42 chain journey (that's the thing with some of these leaps, it looks so much further than that in the Baker!) and the interchange was simply through a corridor and I was on the Victoria line. Hundreds of times quicker than it would have been to change trains at Finsbury Park! It's back to double winning now with 11056+11055 for the trip to Blackhorse Road. It's now 1248 as I head north, and I'm starting to panic about how little time I've got left to do any cranking. Really wish I'd booked a later train! It turned out to be a good move, and this next bit is what I was originally up to when I left Victoria about 2 hours ago!

    Onto the Overground's GOBLIN line now, and the revenue inspectors looked shocked to see someone using a paper travelcard! If you're after 172s, unless you fester on the footbridge here it's awkward as trains pass each other here. So there I stand on the footbridge, waiting to see if the Gospel Oak or Barking train would arrive first. It's the Gospel Oak, which is 172007. Dud, and I have a sense of deja vu here, this has happened before! However, I was wrong as the 1306 to Barking produces 172008, winner winner chicken dinner! FINALLY got this little bugger in the book! Readers of other trip reports, particularly the Red Pen Fest ones from earlier this year, may recall I've spent some significant amount of time looking for this one, finally the 172/0s are all done with just 172101 and 104 to get to finish the 172s at long last. I haven't got much time at all, so I bail at Walthamstow Queens Road. I could have gone for the walk to Central no doubt, but I need to get to Euston pretty sharpish so I stick with Queens Road to get back to Blackhorse Road and the Victoria line. 172002 takes me back, and back on the Tube for the last time on this trip, I end up scoring a double win with 11041+11042 to Euston.

    It's now 1337, so it's just as well I didn't hang around any longer. Good grief that 8 hours and 5 minutes since I set off from Rickmansworth flew by WAY too quick! I rush upstairs as fast as I could, getting stuck behind tourists way too often for my liking (note, I don't class myself as a tourist when on the Tube, for as soon as I get close to London I turn into a bit of a monster, requiring everyone to get out of my way!) and get to Sainsburys for some supplies. My Subway breakfast has officially worn off, and in the end I find some less-than-acceptable rolls and some less-than-acceptable ham for lunch. My budget will not allow for anything more interesting! No decent offers on soft drinks I like, and no Sainsburys Cola, so I settle for a big bottle of Coke and another of Diet Coke, since they were 2 for £2, a most acceptable offer. I get out with more time than I realised I had, so after I give up looking for a Costa I end up in the usual stop before a trip home from Euston, Caffe Nero. I don't particularly like their coffee that much, as they're drastically inferior to Costa in my eyes and to my tastebuds, but they'll do.

    After the sugar's added to the coffee, I find my train's got a platform announced. So I race to platform 11, and what do I see as I head down the ramp? Costa! Every time I get ready to head home from Euston I forget Costa's down the ramp towards platforms 9-11, even if I've walked past it the day before! To be fair, I blame it on the very little sleep during the night and the very busy day of cranking! To my surprise, the train's not super crammed, unlike last time I used LM out of Euston around this time of day, and I find a table seat with ease. I'm in Standard Class this time, as the difference between the £6 Standard Advance and the £13.50 1st Advance was too big to accept this time. Wish I had as I wouldn't have had the battery issues I had with my phone. I was down from 100% at 0410 to around 27% by the time I got on the train at Euston! "Ah no worries, I've got my emergency charger" I tell myself, although by now I should know that such statements are famous last words...Anyway, I settle down into my space on 350109, dud from an age ago (as any long-time readers of my trip reports should know by now, all 350/1s are dud after some good luck on the Great Escape bash in the opening segment of the year :D), and get started on lunch and the enormous stack of bookwork (this trip report is one part of that stack, and don't worry, it's nearly over...) that this trip alone has generated.

    We leave 1 down at 1414 on the 1413 to Birmingham New Street, and surprisingly my coach is still nice and quiet. RA to Leighton Buzzard is nice, and the journey goes pretty quickly all in, with a lot of bookwork done but still only scratching the surface. I definitely felt better after some Coke and ham rolls, and once the coffee had kicked in a bit. Sadly by now it wasn't having all that big an effect. Before I knew it we were passing DIRFT, still couldn't ID any required 66s or 92s. Only need 1 DRS 66 so it's naturally getting hard to find (428 if anyone's wondering). Rugby comes and goes, as does Coventry and then I get a passenger survey given to me. I didn't think I'd get it filled in before New Street, but managed it by Birmingham International to my surprise. With very little time left to go on this leg on the journey, it's time to pack the bags and get everything sorted. It's now I'm down to about 18% charge in my phone, so get my emergency charger going on for a bit to see if it works. Sure enough, it is right now so as we roll into New Street I turn it off for now. Arrival is smack on time, much to my surprise, at 1617 and I now have 30 minutes to kill. Hmm, what to do...

    Well, first of all I tweet about the on-time arrival and enjoyable journey with LM, then I have a walk about in the fresh air, having been sat down for over 2.25 hours, before going to Costa. Yes my 5th coffee of the day now, but that's nothing unusual for me. 5 coffees in a day when I've got work is easy done! I head next for platform 12b and get on 170514+170510 working the 1649 to Hereford. Good thing I went down early to await the ECS from Tyseley, as the train got well busy! Right time departure, and the emergency charger's on again. Only it's not working now, indeed the charge is going DOWN, not UP! So a small chunk of bookwork can't be done yet, and I have no music now, as I need to keep the little bit of charge for the way home. Not much to comment on really on the way home, except it stayed fairly busy until Colwall, with still a decent crowd getting off at Hereford where we arrived 6 up at 1816. So I have a +59 for my bus home, what am I going to do with no charge in my phone? Not a lot, and I was so low on charge the final few observations had to hand-written into the notebook! I end up sitting on the bench outside the station, in the sunshine, reading more of the current copy of RAIL before the bus home at 1915.

    Eventually around 55 minutes later I'm home, having a proper good meal and I'm falling asleep watching TV at 2310 so it's off to bed for a decent night's sleep! All in all, an absolutely fantastic day which I wished could have carried on! Finally then, some statistics:

    Day 2 mileage: 289 miles, 63 chains
    Mileage move of the day: 115m08c on 350109
    Insect leap of the day: 0m30c on 96047+96038
    Highlight of the day: FINALLY finishing the Underground network! :D Followed closely by getting 377704 on its first day :)
    Disappointment of the day: It ending way too quickly!
    Winners: 32
    Required stations: 18
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2014
  10. Temple

    Temple Established Member

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    Well well well, sir! 465904 was mine on Monday, so I must have seen you on the platform at Bromley. We went via Herne Hill, by the way. (p.s the 1020 was practically just behind, it had been delayed in Kent an hour earlier)

    Cracking report as always, enjoyed reading it! Will look out for you on your Kent one even more!
     
  11. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    Most interesting - your budgeting is most impressive, I'm far too good at splurging on rubbish if I go out for a ride!
     
  12. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Glad you enjoyed the read, it genuinely makes it so very much more worth the epic amount of time spent typing these things up when you receive positive feedback. After spending something like 5 hours on it all in, I'll be trying to make sure my next one gets done more during the trip as I will have 5 days to type up on it!

    I would had my blue Regatta coat on with my Umbro backpack, if that helps!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    It took some serious effort mind, I'd have killed for more in my budget and be able to splash out on a Burger King meal or two during the two days! Maybe, just maybe, on my next trip I'll budget food/drink/coffee into the general budget. Yeah right...

    Also, depending on trip planning and budgeting for the first massive bash of 2014, I should be out for a reasonably decent bash on Monday. Therefore another trip report should also follow next week. As always, stay tuned to this thread for the next entry in the epic tale of my bashing!
     
  13. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    I suppose one good thing with my adventures is that I don't drink coffee and tend to take drink with me so the only things I tend to buy is lunch/dinner (and sometimes breakfast)

    I'm planning a London day-out, probably will be a Friday, in the hope of finishing off the Southeastern metro network, DLR, Overground & the Chiltern Paddington service, plus the 150/0s on the Basingstoke/Reading service and a FGW 180.

    Being on a station where the London bound trains leave at :59 pass the hour really sucks, first 'off-peak' isn't til 9:59, first service which allows network card is the 10:59 (hence why I'm planning to spilt at Andover & Reading)

    The wheels on the bus go round and round, carrying Techniquest to rare track ;)
     
  14. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    I wish I could do that, sadly (well, not sadly really, I really do love my coffee from Costa! :D) I'm well addicted to coffee so I have a lot of it every day. Fortunately I kicked my addiction to energy drinks (I still have an occasional one, most usually when it's too hot for coffee on my pre-work energising-up) a good while ago!

    Taking my own food with me is something I need to start doing much more often. The money I could save would be a pretty big figure over the course of a year!

    That's a fair bit to achieve in one day. Don't underestimate how long it takes to cover the SET Metro lines, it's surprising how much time it takes up! The DLR and Overground is all I'd plan to get in that day, although for you getting the 150/0s in to Reading and a 180 forward wouldn't be too difficult I suppose.

    I sympathise, on my Midlands days out it's really annoying the WMDR is not valid until after 0900, with the first train I can realistically get being at 0849. I could always buy a single to Ledbury and pick up the WMDR from there, but the single to Ledbury really mounts up the cost. No time restriction relaxations on the WMDR on any service or any part of the route annoyingly.

    :lol::lol::lol:

    Not much track on the mainline I need these days, one such little bit I'll be getting on my Kent Rover trip. One of the Chiselhurst curves I need will really need to be done on a separate trip I think, although now I remember it I'm going to try and get it on the way home <D

    Aside from that PSUL curve on the Sheffield Supertram and Halton Curve, if I get those SET bits in I'll only need the Newton Connecting Line in Scotland to get my rare track finished. After that it's finishing the Metrolink network eventually, and the Edinburgh tram line at some point. Of course, there's still tons of non-passenger routes and preserved railways to conquer yet, and mainland Europe is not far away. I'll be busy for years though getting all the UK trains, trams and stations done though, although that said every trip gets me closer to completing that mission!

    So long as I've still trains to enjoy until I'm too old and frail to get out and about, I'll be happy :)
     
  15. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    I've covered part of the SE metro lines, and the overground is only the New Cross & Crystal Palace 'branches'. It's still in the air at the moment, depends what I can fit in on what day I can do it. Needs to be a weekday though to do the 150/0, FGW 180 & Chiltern service, everything else is a bonus.

    My travelling bag normally contains a packet of cookies (me eat cookies), maybe a packet of crisps, some bottles of pepsi max, normally a bottle of water. During the winter it also contained a mini cool-bag with a sandwich in. Just helps if I get caught on a good run without much dwell time between trains at stations.
     
  16. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Im rather envyous of your London bash, a lot there that I need. Premier Inn beds are very different these days and having (against my better judgement) experienced the TL ones can guarantee that PI is better
     
  17. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Morning all :) Before I go back to work later after my first day out on the rails in ages and a much needed break from reality, I have my trip report to post!

    14/07/2014 – Techniquest’s A Good Day To Crank Hard

    Before I start the trip report notes, I should mention the trip title is inspired by the 5th Die Hard movie, A Good Day To Die Hard. Just sounded good at 0659 this morning...So on with the epic tale then:

    FINALLY! Good golly gosh it’s been ages since my last day out on the rails! Those who know me well would no doubt confirm I was in dire need of one! If it hadn’t been for financial issues (for once not caused by over-spending on cranking!), which should be sorted in the next couple of weeks, I’d have been out sooner. I decided yesterday it needed to be a budget day out, however I simply couldn’t leave the Advances to/from Chester when they were found for a total of £37! So I revived my East Coast Rewards account, sadly way too late to save the bonus points from the initial setup, and booked them there and then. In the morning, after a less than brilliant bit of doss, it was up at 0600 to have breakfast. I hope you’re all sitting down for this one though...I didn’t make a coffee to go with it!

    The regular readers of these trip reports (if you’re new to them, welcome to the epic storytelling of my trips, there’s tons of them on here) will know only too well I love my coffee, perhaps too much! Due to time constraints, there was no time for a pre-departure one, however I ensured there was time to fill my travel mug with one, so the universe hasn’t gone topsy-turvy yet! Off I go for the early bus, first time in ages and oh how I cannot wait to get to Chester already! I haven’t even been to a station since my London bash in mid-June, except for very briefly on Saturday when I hitched a ride with a colleague who was getting a train. It was sure nice to hear 43004 pushing the rear of the HST on the 2020 to Paddington before I went to the pub, some post-work drinks were most needed after a hellish week! It’s a gloriously sunny day [although this didn’t last all day sadly], quite warm for this time of day too, all is promising to be an awesome day! Time to pick up my Advances before owt else, after which it was off to an ATM and into Morrisons for a couple of bits and bobs, then back to the station to make observations. Crikey it’s been way too long since I did that last! I see Pumpkin have changed their loyalty cards, you now have to get 9 hot drinks before your free one. Hmm, Costa’s becoming more and more tempting for my loyalty, although I still got 20% in Pumpkin so I don’t know yet.

    175102 is on the 0721 Cardiff Central to Holyhead today, and amazingly I find a non-reserved table without any effort, I had prepared myself to fight for one! Right time away at 0827 on my first journey by train since I got back from London on 16th June, big beaming smiles on my face. Time for some classic dance tunes, such as Zombie Nation, Time to Burn and Toca’s Miracle, sure made a change from My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade album, which has been played way too often lately! While looking at other notes during the cruise along ATW’s Premier line, I find 4 170s missing from my books. 3 Scottish ones and an Anglia one, had them in 2007 and 2011 respectively. Good grief it took THAT long to find the errors, I think it’s high time I got every single book I have out and check every little detail, that’ll take months! I must also remember the proposed trip title for my Kent Rover trip, “Techniquest and his Red Pen Strike Back” (inspired by Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, yes I have got this weird idea of ripping off titles of movies lately)!

    Arrival at Chester is just 1 minute late at 1020, and I get my Saveaway for £4.90. It’s also Costa coffee time before joining the 1031 to Liverpool Central, which today is in the hands of dud 507027. Off I get at Bromborough to see what the one is coming up from Ellesmere Port, and that’s dud 508117, boo. On I get anyway as the next one is from Chester and is dud 507002, next port of call is Hamilton Square. I note alterations to West Kirby services due to the golf tournament at Hoylake, with all trains terminating at Hoylake, replacement buses for the short journey onwards to West Kirby. 6 car trains all day long by the looks of it, my basher sense tells me there’s a good chance of some winners here then! Sure enough, 508134 is scored on one pair which I take to Birkenhead Park as I wished to take advantage of the island platform and no long challenging walks today [ha ha ha, I wish that was true! Read on to find out what happened there...], and getting off there was a good call as I score 507028 in another pair on the trip to Moorfields. We get held at Conway Park for what felt like forever, but in reality was about 5 minutes, no reason given. I see nothing else required on the Wirral lines today, so I head off to the Northern line (no, not THAT Northern line!) with a truckload of hope and many crossed fingers and toes I would have some good luck today.

    A refreshment break is deemed required now first though, and coming back to the platforms I just miss 507020 so I figure out where it went and aim to get it in later. 507030 is a winner on a leap to Sandhills, and I figure I have about 20 minutes to wait for 507020 to come back. Surely I’ll see plenty I need in the meantime? No such luck, everything else was dud until it came back, so I return to Moorfields to score it. Surely a fester again would reap rewards? Nope, I spend almost 40 minutes here and nothing was required so I give up and decide to go for some mainline action. Back to the Wirral line and I await the next pair on a Hoylake service. Just as well, as winner 507001 is finally scored on it for the bus stop bash (thanks Keith Jarrett on RailUK Forums for that one!) to Lime Street, and was incredibly pleasing after a long spree of festering! The lift which means you can escape the never-ending escalators is out of use today, so I utilise every effort the legs can provide to get to the surface. I see that they’ve got rid of the poems and art that decorated the corridor from the Mersey2Go (or whatever it’s called) shop to the mainline station now. After adjusting the eyes and ears somewhat, I spot 350234 on the 1334 to Birmingham New Street. “Sounds required, but is it?” I hear myself saying out loud. For the first time in ages, I’ve found a required 350 with LM so I cannot turn it down for the leap to South Parkway, and I was cutting it fine to get on so just as well I didn’t spend any longer checking the book!

    The good luck on the mainline continues, with winner 185125 rolling in a few minutes late to take me back to Lime Street, bonus! On arrival it’s time to ponder the next move while getting another Costa coffee (which turned out to be my 4th coffee all day, not bad for me it has to be said!), the decision was finally made to score winner 156461 on the 1416 to Manchester Airport and get a winner station in at Newton-le-Willows. Yes, that’ll do very nicely, especially since it’s a fast run and a 156. A right noisy little beast too, big beaming smiles on my face again! I now have plenty of time to eat, so I rip out the lunchbox for some ham sandwiches which went down a right royal treat. The new track through Huyton and Roby opened today, and this train goes over it to my surprise and delight. It’ll eventually be 4 tracks, but that won’t be for a while, a need for new track layout diagrams is here though. I see there’s a long wait for a train back to Liverpool at Newton-le-Willows, 40 minutes to be exact. I have a wander about then settle on sitting in the waiting room to write up some more of this trip report. 150260 was out vice 175 on the 1450 Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno today, shame it wasn’t 150235 otherwise I’d have jumped on and had a party! A few minutes later, winner 156460 rolls in a few minutes late and I rush straight to a particular area of the train. I see the equipment to electrify the line is plentiful all the way along the line, not much longer to see it all juiced up! Back at Lime Street at 1545 and I head to the Wirral line again after a quick look about and attempting to decide what move to make next. I swear the posters said that it’s a 10 minute frequency to/from Hoylake this afternoon, so that’ll be interesting to see. Nope, it’s every 15 or so minutes still, oh well let’s see what’s going on just in case.

    Eventually I decide to jump on dud 508115 for the bus stop bash to Central and get over to the Northern line, where I know there’s some 6 car trains in the late afternoon/evenings. It means another fair bit of festering (it would have been easier if I’d got a timetable to tell me what’s booked for 6 car trains but hey!), however I’m rewarded after about 25 minutes with my last 508 for sight, 508136, turning up on a Hunts Cross service with dud 507010. I definitely couldn’t turn that down, so on I get with the plan being to score Cressington while I was here. However, that’s canned when I see the next northbound service at Brunswick is booked for 6 cars and is makeable. I get over the footbridge and past the crowds just as 508123 and 508143 roll in, with 508143 being one of my last 2 508s to score. That was well fortunate then, and it’s back to Central. Just 508139 to get to finally clear the class, a drastically different tale to February! I hang back a bit to check for any other potential winners, but I decide to check out the Wirral line again. Maybe it’s now the 10 minute frequency kicks in (it’s 1642 now) I think, and I’m glad the transfer from the Northern to the Wirral is much easier than the other way around. Eventually I find a poster about the alterations, and carefully read it and re-read it, after all it wasn’t super obvious what applied to what days. Eventually it’s deciphered to say it’s Thursday to Saturday this week that the evening 10 minute frequency applies. As it’s now around 1650, it’s not long until my last possible train to Chester so I decide to hang about and make even more Merseyrail observations. To my surprise, I find one of my last 2 507s I need for sight, 507019, on the 1700 Liverpool Central to Chester, so I jump on and score it to James Street. I have two more trains (1715 and 1730 from Central) to choose from yet and I’m determined to make the most of the opportunity to find any winners.

    Whilst at James Street (has platform 2 ever been used? It seems such a waste of time to put a PIS screen on it!), I find the amount of liquids consumed to quench thirst is causing grief so I hunt the necessary part of the station. The map is so not clear, and the ramp leading to that one exit is ridiculously long and arduous, then I find it’s not up there! I’m running out of time here, so I run back down and find someone who could tell me where I needed to go. Finally, someone helpful at James Street! And what’s with that absurd use of lifts only to get to the main exit? Makes it so much more inconvenient to get to/from trains, a lot of people including me weren’t overly amused. Fortunately I get back down in plenty of time for the 1732 to Chester, the last possible option with a positive connection onto my booked train home, and it’s dud 507002. Merr, it has to do, and I get in a motor coach to enjoy the sounds for the last time today. To my epic surprise, the journey’s over before I know it, usually it drags on and on and on and on! Arrival at Chester is bang on time at 1811, and it’s 175102 taking me home. No matter, I haven’t that many miles on it anyway so should be on around 430 (if not more) with it by the time I return to Hereford. Out comes the laptop to get this typed up, while doing so I look at what’s on the old memory stick I found recently. I had forgotten about a lot of stuff on it, same for some of the tunes on the really old MP3 player I found. It’s been a long time since I last heard Evanescence’s Going Under or Dragonforce’s Operation Ground Pound or Fury of the Storm!

    I’m all caught up with this somewhere between Church Stretton and Craven Arms, but I do have a megaton of observations to process yet. I have a hunch that’ll have to wait until later this week. Arrival into Hereford is at 2011, 4 minutes early, so even more time to go to Wetherspoons and have a couple of celebratory drinks! Amazingly the time flies by and it’s soon time to get on the bus home. I’ve got plenty to watch on TV tonight, but I’m way too tired so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow now. I’m up well earlier than expected the following day, so I get the laptop out to finish the last little bits of this before much else. So a summary:

    5 507s scored, including 1 I needed for sight. 3 508s including 1 I needed for sight scored. 1 station scored, 2 156s, a 185 and a 350 also scored, so 12 required trains in the book, not bad at all! Very low mileage in Merseyside mind, but I’m well satisfied with how things have gone!
     
  18. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    nice report there, Doubt Il ever clear all the local lines in that area but well done you! Good luck with work.
     
  19. fishquinn

    fishquinn Established Member Quizmaster

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    Cracking report and I hope you had a good day!

    When I do my trip to Merseyside, end of July-Early August, I will get in the whole of the network including a 150/156 from Hunts Cross-Liverpool South Parkway for a 185 forward.
     
  20. Green Lane

    Green Lane Member

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    Great report, thanks for posting!

    As for the PIS screen on James Street platform 2, you are correct in that it is not needed during normal operation.

    It does come into play though when the loop line is closed and all Wirral line trains then terminate at James Street.

    I remember this happened last summer during the James Street refurbishment.

    For a while, platform 3 was closed and inaccessible to the public.

    Some Wirral line trains were terminating at platform 1 and some at platform 2, until the loop was reopened. So the platform 2 information screen was in use at that time.

    I'm sure the loop line will close many times again in the future as I understand it does need a bit of ongoing maintenance in the long term. I also remember a previous derailment which caused the loop to be closed for some considerable time. (i.e. weeks).

    So I can only guess that the PIS screen was installed on platform 2 because Wirral Line services starting from that platform is usual during the above and similar incidents. I have myself used platform 2 on several occasions. Perhaps it's not in use quite frequently enough though to justify bringing it up to the same standards (e.g. lighting etc..) as the "usual" platforms.

    I also see you found the Water Street exit, although I'm sorry it didn't lead to what you were looking for. I usually get the bus straight home from work in Liverpool, but if I feel like I need a little bit of extra exercise on a pleasant evening then I will take the train now and again and Water Street is currently my favoured entrance to the Merseyrail system (only open during peak times). Although it has to be said it is more fun walking down it rather than up it.

    Like you have mentioned I also wish there was an alternative to the lifts to get to/from the James Street main entrance. I certainly don't mind walking up lots of stairs (In fact I walk up 171 steps every morning to my job on the 7th floor of the building I work in), but alas this is not an option at James Street.
    At least I can do it at Conway Park though, a mere 99 steps. :D
     
    Last edited: 15 Jul 2014
  21. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Sounds like a busy day, was that all on the saveaway (apart from the advances)?

    I need to make time to restart my trip reports, biggest issue is now I've changed jobs I no longer have ~ 2 hours of 'dead' time at the end of the day in a pretty much deserted office, so no chance of making the time pass faster by doing some writing.

    Merseyside I hope to do some bashing on the Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend (sadly I purchased advance tickets without realising a couple splits and a rover would be cheaper than the advances)
     
    Last edited: 15 Jul 2014
  22. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Thanks Green Lane, that would make sense then with regards to the PIS on platform 2 at James Street. Aye that was the one, Water Street. Couldn't remember the name as I was hammering away on the keyboard on the way home. It just goes on and on and on, definitely better coming down it though!

    Kite159: Yep everything beyond Chester was on the All Areas Saveaway. I could have got many more miles in if I'd been determined, but the red pen needed satisfying more than filling my atlas with visited stations. One day I'll finishing my need to travel on Merseyrail, aside from cross-Liverpool trips at least (until future new trains replace the 507s and 508s that is), but that day is still ages off. I wouldn't be surprised if I was back up there by September! That said, I need to get over to Manchester as well again yet, still plenty I need up there!
     
  23. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Amazing value that Saveaway.

    Will be interesting to see what sort of vehicles Merseyrail get to replace the 507/508s as it's 3rd rail. Probably end up with the 465/466s from Southeastern when Southeastern replace them with something else ;)
     
  24. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    I believe brand new trains are being sought after eventually. Don't think 465/466s will fit in the tunnels anyway!

    Aye the Saveaway is amazing value, you could do some serious mileage on that ticket!
     
  25. fishquinn

    fishquinn Established Member Quizmaster

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    Maybe get some 3 car 378s made that fit in the tunnels.
     
  26. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    I know, I know, it's taken a while but it is done. Sadly my laptop doesn't like Flickr so all the photos are not included in this report :(

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the trip report from my Kent trip!

    31st July 2014 – Techniquest and Red Pen Strike Back, Day 1

    First of all, as per my Merseyside day out a couple of weeks back, this trip’s title is also inspired by a movie title. This time round it’s ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’ as it seemed outrageously fitting!

    It took until Sunday last weekend, when I finally got my hotels and rail fares all booked, for it to finally feel real, that I was actually going away for more than a day somewhere. All in all, this trip covers 5 days so a big step up from the norm for 2014! Ever since I shut the laptop down on Sunday afternoon, more so after picking up my tickets on Monday, I have been having big beaming smiles on my face whenever I’ve been thinking about the fun I’ll have! Working 12-8 yesterday was not easy since I was in epic Holiday Mode all day! Still, eventually it was done and I got home around the usual time to have some food, pack my bags for the trip and have a de-rancifying shower. A bit of Borderlands 2 in co-op mode with my brother followed, then finally I get to sleep around 0145. With an alarm due to go off at 0500 that wasn’t good, but I knew I wouldn’t sleep that well anyway, what with being excited!

    0430 or thereabouts comes around and I’m awake again, so I try to have that little bit more doss. No chance, so it’s up and about by 0451, and I think I somehow knew I’d need that extra few minutes. After a bowl of Coco Pops and a coffee for breakfast, final preparations are made and it’s out the door at 0532 (notice that this is around an hour earlier than my usual bashes, read on to find out why) to get to the ATM for some bus money. Those extra few minutes did indeed prove handy, as the main cash machine in town is out of use, so I trek over to the only other one about which is thankfully working. I panicked for nothing after all, as it’s only now 0546 so plenty of time to await the bus. As I mentioned above, normally on a bash I’m on the 0645 bus to Hereford, however today it’s all different and I’m getting, for the first time surprisingly, the 0600 to Llandrindod Wells. Or as it’s commonly referred to around these parts, Llandod. Oh, and that is how we say it, Lan-dod. None of the pronounciation involved with the town’s proper name. I have no idea why it is we all call it Llandod before you ask, it’s always been the way. Off I go on Y876 PWT at 0559, 1 minute early, and I’m the only passenger for the whole journey as we charge along the A44 and reach Llandod bang on time at 0632. Which, regular readers with good memories will recall, is the usual time I leave the house if I’m going via Hereford! First things first, I pop into the newsagents which is thankfully open and pick up a couple of drinks as I’m 99.99% certain there’ll be no catering on board. At this time of day on a rural line it was no surprise that there wasn’t really! 153323 rolls in on the 0516 Shrewsbury to Swansea, 150258 on the 0431 Swansea to Shrewsbury (yes, really that early!) and I’m on the 153 to Swansea, leaving 1 minute late at 0653. A nice bit of DBT (Dog Box Thrash, for the un-initiated) all the way to the best Welsh city, lovely job!

    Those of who follow me on Twitter and Facebook will have noticed I mentioned I’ll explain my rather odd choice of routing in my trip report, so here it is. I could go on for hours over the details, but basically with the impending (2 or 3 years away, I know, but still it’s definitely getting closer) arrival of IEP I’ve decided I will be trying to cover some of my old territory on HSTs again. Nostalgia partly is the reason, but I just want to make sure I’ve got at least one last trip on my old stomping ground, on journeys I used to make regularly, on HSTs just in case I don’t get a chance again. Yes I’m hearing you all moaning I’ve got until 2016 or 2017 to do it all, but you never know what’s going to happen so I’m doing what I can now. I’ll be back on it again no doubt in the future, before the IEPs take over squadron service, but tough I’m doing it. It’s a long ol’ way round from my way to Ashford International, but the difference in fares wasn’t that huge anyway. I must add that, as I type up this trip report on the way to London on the 0928 Swansea to London Paddington (I did prefer it when it was xx30, but hey), the journey’s going by quickly and is most enjoyable, so I’m rather glad I’ve done it now. A shame the secondary reason for going this way, to possibly score 150235 on the Heart of Wales, didn’t work out but you can’t win them all!

    Before I know it, we’re on the South Wales Main Line at Llanelli, and as we head east to Swansea I remembered this is my first trip over the new Loughor Viaduct and the newly re-doubled track through Cockett and Gowerton. I’m also surprised at just how busy it is on this line this morning, which is definitely a good thing. We roll in 2 minutes early at 0921 after being held on the bank into Swansea for two other trains to pass by, and during that time I notice Malliphant Carriage Sidings is being ripped up. Another memory, along with the long-dumped postal vans having gone some time ago, disappeared. Ahh the memories of seeing it rammed full of HSTs as well as each platform road occupied by HSTs all those years ago when I lived down there. All those HSTs with Valentas and VP185s idling away and clagging a fair bit while they were at it, all just memories now. On the 0928 Swansea to London Paddington this Thursday morning then are 43012 and 43181, with the set in reverse formation too. I see the concourse has changed beyond all recognition, I didn’t recognise the place at all. More memories, gone, just like that! I like the idea of a Costa Coffee outlet there mind, shame I didn’t have time to go there though. Off we go on time at 0928 and I’m enjoying the trip down Memory Lane a lot, been too long since I came through Neath, Port Talbot Parkway and Bridgend last. Looks like Margam to Tondu via Parc Slip’s been ripped up, unless I mistook it for something else. Coffee time now, and the trek to/from the Quiet Carriage didn’t seem as bad as I thought it would be. That’s something else that’s going soon apparently, no more Quiet Carriages. I’m not sure whether it’ll affect FGW, but XC have got rid of it already apparently, great fun that’ll be with all the screaming brats in what was, until 2008 at least, the Cranks Coach! Also, what’s going on with the coach letters? Every FGW HST I’ve seen has L and M for First Class coaches now, I’ve obviously missed something lately, but that’s going to take some getting used to.

    Passing Cardiff Canton I see my first Colas Rail 70/8, 70807, and to my surprise my book says I needed 56087 too. Two new sights then unexpectedly, excellent. It’s coffee time again after Newport, and we’re following a freight by the looks of it from Chipping Sodbury to Swindon. That was a lot slower on that sector than normal as a result, before that the Severn Tunnel produced a less than helpful pitch black environment in coach C which has lost its lights! That was a fun time carrying my coffee back to Coach A, felt like a secret agent trying to squeeze through a thin gap, couldn’t see who or what was in my way! Once the sugar and milk are in the cup, it’s time to get cracking with typing up this trip report, and it takes until near Challow to get caught up to date. Thanks to following the freight we’re about 11 minutes late now too from Swindon, but we are booked non-stop to Reading which I’m very happy about! Why’s that, I hear you ask. Simple, I much prefer to belt it through there on my way to the Thames Valley at full speed than to have to hit the brakes and spend ages loading everyone on at Didcot Parkway. Sure enough, we go non-stop, full speed, through Didcot Parkway and I’m well chuffed! Not much longer until I arrive at my favourite London terminal (sorry, but it was, is and always will be my favourite. St Pancras ain’t got nothing on Paddington!) and trek across town for the final leg of the journey to Kent!

    From this point on, Day 1 and Day 2 are all from memory I’m afraid, as I didn’t get time or have the energy to type this lot (or even make decent notes in my notebook!) up until the end of Day 3, and even now I won’t have it all done I reckon. So if there’s a noticeable difference in the level of detail, that’ll be why! So anyway, I arrive at Paddington’s platform 5 at 1234, just 1 minute late. Would have been much later if the HeX hadn’t been held for us (instead of the other way around for once!), although sadly a TSR through Slough stopped us belting it through there. This station will always hold a special place in my heart and I can’t help but remember my first trip as an enthusiast way back in autumn 2003 on the 0330 Swansea to Paddington (but that’s a whole other story, and I could go on for ages about it! Quite, I’m taking ages to get on with this as it is as I keep changing music!), ever since then I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when I’m at Paddington. I’m sure we all have such places, or am I really that strange? Anyway, enough being side-tracked! It’s off to the Tube now, and my plan to get some 72 stock on the Bakerloo line done is out as it’s exit only currently at Paddington on the Bakerloo. So I end up scoring 21355+21356 on a leap to Edgware Road, going forward with 21419+21420 which was also a winner to Kings Cross St Pancras. 2 more S stock down, what feels like millions to go! I could have pushed for getting the 1312 as I made it in time but settled with the planned 1342 and soaked up some sunshine and the London atmosphere. Winner 395028 is on it to take me to Ashford International, the final leg of my Kent-bound journey, and it’s time for some more tweets before we carry on and I see 3733206+3733205 leave on the 1331 to Paris Gare du Nord. Well jealous...

    The journey goes well quickly, as it should do, and the 140mph run was hardly noticeable! Off to the ticket office next, and the guy there insists the Kent Rover is only valid in East Kent (wherever that is exactly), not Orpington or London. I must have managed to somehow persuade him I wasn’t using it to London, and eventually he sold me my Kent Rover for £39.50. I know what you’re thinking, it sounds expensive for 3 days, but it works out at less than £13.20 a day. As I find out later, an Off Peak Day Single Ashford International to Swanley is £17.80 so it shows how good the value is! Quite, expect by the end of the Day 3 report to see me bigging it up somewhat! But we’ll get there soon enough, and it was winner 465902 on the 1447 to Victoria first up after I redeemed my Pumpkin card for a much needed coffee. Off I go to Swanley to get some of the further out stations done, and it must be said there were a LOT of stations in Kent to get done and out of the way at this point! Rather enjoyed the noise from this 465/9 fair dos, and after a 66 minute journey I arrive at Swanley. A 4 minute connection is made into winner 319009 and dud 319458 to Shoreham (Kent) for another shack scratch, before returning shortly after on dud 319438 and winner 319219 for the bus stop bash to Eynsford. Due to a train failure at Nunhead, the 1630 to Sevenoaks is cancelled so I end up, after much deciding on the next moves, on double winners 319005 and 319377 to Swanley to head towards Rochester. I had expected 465s to be honest here, but instead my first 375s (of many for this trip!) of the day roll in with double winners 375829 and 375713 for the trip to Sole Street. Here, the 1719 to London is announced as having just 2 carriages, which had me bellowing “AAAAA?!”, but it rolled in with winner 466029 and dud 465922 for the trip to Farningham Road. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that every station since Ashford has been a score! Double duds next with 466014 and 465173 for the leap to Meopham, where I have just a matter of 90 seconds or less to run off the train and over the other side to jump in what turned out to be dud 465934 on the bus stop bash to Longfield.

    I pop over to the newsagents across the road here, but despite it being 1756 it’s already shut but not meant to be until 1800. Tut tut tut! Fortunately Waitrose is to the rescue (first time ever saying that!) nearby and I grab a sandwich and small bottle of pop to tide me over for now. The two staff members on the kiosk tills wouldn’t survive 5 minutes at my workplace, good grief they were slow! Mind you so were the other lot, and I was in a rush to get back to the station so couldn’t be bothered to wait until New Year to get my penny change! Most surprisingly it’s winner 377523 and dud 377520 on the next train to Rochester, that’ll do nicely! I do find it odd there’s services to Victoria which are RA to Bromley South from here, surely a stop at Swanley would have been appropriate? Off at Rochester and it’s only a short wait for a pair of 395s, ooh yes please! Winner 395005 and dud 395021 take me around the corner to Chatham (umpteenth shack scratch today!) and they’re followed by a trio of winner 375s, those being 375909, 820 and 922. Very happy with that, off to Gillingham (Kent) on those, and it’s dud 375605, winners 608 and 603 forward to Teynham next. Eventually the next eastbound train arrives with double winners 375626 and 375604, and I need to hurry up and get to Ashford as it’s now 1942 and I’m a fair way from Ashford! It’s much quicker to go to Dover and over from there, so I jump in 375604 and see off 375626 after it splits off to Ramsgate. Annoyingly it’s all stations to Dover, but it’ll have to do. The final move of the day is the 2045 Dover to St Pancras, which tonight is dud 395026. Nothing of note really at all apart from to say I finally get to Ashford at 2111 and start walking to town to find base camp for the first night, Cornerstone B&B. Google Maps shows me where it should be, but I fail to find it for ages. However, eventually it’s found and I’m £45 lighter.

    To be fair, that £45 was well spent. Ultra comfortable bed for a start with a decent bathroom, good size TV, enough tea and coffee and milk (I’m used to asking for more from reception in Travelodge, there’s never enough for me!) and even had a microwave and fridge in my room! Shame I didn’t have need for those really, if I’d known I’d have stocked up and got stuff in ready for the next day, never mind. All the usual evening activities on my trips away are done and I eventually fall asleep quite late, well gone 2300, but oh my days what a good sleep it was! Day 1 was brilliant in my eyes, with 20 (18 minus Tube) winners and 11 required stations. Not bad at all I reckon and a great start to the epic adventure! Roll on Day 2 I say!

    1st August 2014 – Techniquest and Red Pen Strike Back, Day 2

    I’m up and about a little earlier than my 0800 alarm, no point getting up too early since I’m certain my rover isn’t valid until 0930. De-rancification was badly needed, and a coffee goes down beautifully. After sorting out my bags again, and a few tweets, it’s out and across the road to The County Hotel (Wetherspoons) for breakfast. Large coffee and sausage bap for £2.59 will do nicely, although in all fairness I could have probably downed a much bigger meal as I was famished since I didn’t eat again after that Waitrose sandwich yesterday! After devouring that breakfast, and more tweeting (is it at all obvious I love Twitter when I’m out and about?), it’s off to the station and I try to decide on my first move of the day. 1003 to Charing Cross, yep that’ll do nicely. Pumpkin for a coffee first, and it’s double winners 375813 and 375701 for the trip to Marden. Yep I’m still on a shack scratching mission! Nothing of note here, and I get double winner 375815 and dud 375713 back down the line to Headcorn. Back to the double winners with 375715 and 375307 to Sevenoaks, on this move I happen to sit next to a pair of bus and train spotters, and I end up talking to them until they alighted at Tonbridge. If they’re reading this by chance, then hope it was a good day of spotting and nice to meet you both! Up next, winner 319368 and dud 319380 for the short trip to Bat & Ball, and the old NSE clock is still there ticking away happily on the northbound platform! To my delight, double winners 319429 and 319436 take me back to Sevenoaks. Got a good few 319s on this trip, although I hadn’t expected to get on any! I go looking around as the next train for me is at 1206, and I see Costa. Oh good I think, I’ll get a coffee. Ha, no chance as they were out of coffee! Oh well then, they’ve lost a bit of custom from me then!

    It’s winner 465185 and dud 465038 next for the short trip to Dunton Green, all 2 minutes of it, and the amount of observations made here was surprising. Which is another point, I’ve made a LOT of notes for the ‘Trains you’ve seen working’ thread, but it’s going to take me AGES to process them all! Winner 465183 takes me back to Sevenoaks, and it’s time I reckon for a coffee so I make sure I have time to run upstairs and get one from Pumpkin, which I do and it’s stamp 2 of 9 now. Next stop, Hildenborough with dud 465031 and winner 465008, and I had planned to update my moves book here but I end up texting instead! Double duds next with 466022 and 465904 for the short trip to Tonbridge, going forward to Pluckley I get dud 375916 and winner 375621, slowly the numbers are coming down...Another 30 minute wait here for the next train, which produces winner 375808 and dud 375812 carry me onwards to Ashford International, nearly 4.5 hours after I left here this morning! Annoyingly we come into platform 5 at 1427, almost 1428 for that matter, and I need to get the 1430 to Victoria on platform 1. Cue a run to get it, and I make it with 30 seconds to spare. It also turns out to be winner 465913, and the reason for wanting it is that it was the penultimate bit of PSUL track I needed on SET, the link from platforms 1 and 2 to the Maidstone East line. Done the relief line before, indeed I did it yesterday, but this bit was annoying me. I might well have done it years ago, but I don’t know and have definitely done it now! Next stop for me, Borough Green and Wrotham, and by now I’d finished the last of the drinks I had with me so I was in dire need of more. So when I saw a Co-Op here, I breathed a sigh of relief and said to myself “It’s not often I say it, but thank Goodness for Co-Op!”. It’s well gone 1500 by now so a long time since I finished my small breakfast in Spoons, so I’m naturally hungry. Another sandwich will do, as will a twin pack of mini pork pies and a bottle of Dr Pepper. A larger one is also sourced for refilling my smaller bottles, and my very late lunch goes down beautifully. Dud 375702 takes me onwards to my next shack scratch, Bearsted, where I have just a few minutes before the next train west, which was today winner 375711. Off I go to West Malling, and here I spend a long time flicking through the timetable trying to make plans for the rest of the day. The only thing I know for sure that I want to do is to get the peak time trains from London in, with all those extra carriages! 465921 is a winner on the next one to Maidstone East, and the map on my phone tells me it’s about 8 minutes of walking to Maidstone Barracks. I manage it in 6, and I score 375310 to Wateringbury. Quite the contrast between 375s and 466s, the latter of which I’ve only had once on my 2012 ALR from Paddock Wood to Strood, although obviously the difference is for the better! After scoring yet another shack, it’s on winner 375302 to Strood. Here, I find it’s a +25 connection for a train to Rochester, which is hugely annoying as I can hear all the peak time stuff nearby but can’t get to it! Eventually dud 465166 and winner 466038 roll in on a Gillingham service to get me there, and I’m only here minorly earlier than yesterday, so basically missed almost everything! It’s the 1831 again tonight for me, which has produced dud 395028 and winner 395020 (just need 395007 for sight at this time!) which I happily take to Rainham for the shack scratch.

    Double win next on the 1851 east, with 375927 and 375710 providing the power. Off next to Whitstable for yet another shack scratch, and dud 375821 takes me on a bus stop bash to Chestfield and Swalecliffe. Dud 375630, winners 375629 and 375309 take me forward for another bus stop bash to Herne Bay. Winner 395029 is on a St Pancras to Broadstairs run next, that’ll do nicely and I’m on it the whole way as I’m in dire need of charging my phone and I need the shack. Coming back to Margate, winner 375903 rounds up the rail action for the day, always nice to end on a winner! My last 395 was also seen earlier, thanks to Ryan Webb on Twitter for the gen! No offence to anyone living there, but by gum isn’t Margate a dump? The station itself is rough and unloved, but the first sights coming out of the station are outrageously tatty houses and guest houses/hotels and long-closed cafes and pubs. I did also see a long-closed amusement centre on the way towards Broadstairs too, it’s fair to say this town needs serious rejuvenating! I don’t like the look of anywhere I can see, so Brewers Fayre by the Premier Inn will do. Service here is outrageously slow (seriously, me and my fellow crew are made to work hard, it’s high time the rest of the world was too! That or we stop doing so!), but eventually I get to order my meal and a pint of Budweiser.

    Who on God’s green Earth puts quarters of tomatoes in a chicken tikka masala?! Brewers Fayre do, which I found weird and could have lobbed them at the window quite happily (I hate tomatoes, but not quite as much as mushrooms and eggs)! Out they go onto a napkin instead, and they had no naan bread so an extra, broken, poppadom will have to suffice. Other that that, it was most delicious and well worth having, although I was getting most famished so even just a portion of chips would have been welcome! Off I go to my next base camp, Westbrook Lodge Guest House. I still don’t see much of Margate worth coming for, and I can’t wait to leave this dump in the morning! The guest house was fine though, £39 lighter but the bed was comfy (not as good as the previous night mind!) and tons of tea/coffee for me. Didn’t bother turning the TV on in the end but it was small. Shared bathrooms which I didn’t realise at the time, but otherwise it did the job. All the evening stuff done, it was time to de-rancify now as I had an alarm set for 0600. No time restriction at weekends so got to make the most of it! Later on it’s time to sleep, alas an annoying headache and epic thunder put a stop to that until around 0100, which was not welcome! Day 2 was another great day, with 26 winners and 16 required stations. Not bad fair dos, bring on Day 3!

    2nd August 2014 – Techniquest and Red Pen Strike Back, Day 3

    After briefly being disturbed at 0530, I manage to collapse back to sleep until the alarm at 0600. I’m surprisingly awake all things considered, and after a coffee is made for the walk to the station and everything is sorted out, it’s out I go at 0626 and end up at the station 11 minutes later. The 0648 to Ramsgate is the first train for me today, and it’s winner 375612 for the trip to required shack Dumpton Park. Dud 375927 takes me back around the coast to Birchington-on-Sea, and I have a decent bit of time here so go off in search of an ATM and somewhere to get breakfast from. I end up at Village Square Cafe and have an excellent breakfast of 4 slices of bacon, sausage, beans and 2 rounds of toast, with a coffee for £4.25. For affluent (read rich!) Kent, I considered this quite reasonable and without a doubt cheaper than the cafe at home! Feeling most satisfied, I return to the station for a bus stop bash to Westgate-on-Sea, where a short wait would provide me with the shack and a train west. Umm, yeah, well that was the plan, but it finally showed up with winner 375806 running 9 minutes late so that didn’t work. I now have almost an hour here (57 minutes to be exact) between one train and the next westbound one now, so I go looking for a cafe for a coffee break. Eventually I find Beano’s Cafe, just past the garden centre, and get a coffee for just £1. Most reasonable and the coffee was quite decent, especially for the money! It’s soon time after some tweeting to get back to the station and it’s dud 375817 next to Faversham for me. I was planning on meeting Ryan on the 0958 Faversham to St Pancras, which he was on to London, and it produces dud 395012. Still, on I get for a trip to Strood and meet up with Ryan, and we have a good natter on trains in the South East until I have to get off at Strood. If he’s reading this, a pleasure to finally meet you and I look forward to you coming up this way next year!

    Next up, double winners 465191 and 466032 for the short trip to Higham, returning on 466027 and 465040 which were also double winners! Time next to get more Medway Valley stations done, which falls to super dud 375305 for the trip to Snodland. Some sort of miracle means I make the run over the bridge to jump on dud 375302 for the trip to Cuxton. I wait for it to return to get it to Halling, tweeting while I wait. There’s only one more train working this line I haven’t noted yet, and that’s due to take me from Halling to Strood. It’s dud 375310 (302 and 310 dud after having them yesterday) and I decide to go and do some stations elsewhere as I don’t want to ride up and down on dud EMUs all day! Dud 395013 and winner 395014 take me away from Strood, where I feel I’ve spent far too much of my life at recently, and it’s off to Sittingbourne to finally hit the Sheerness line stations. Well, after I find a pair of moves which mean I can scoop Newington without too much effort, so at Sittingbourne I end up doing double duds 375618 and 375619 to Newington, with it seemingly being a train full of alcoholics, at 1230 in the afternoon. Bit early if you ask me. I must add as I type this at 0048 on Day 4 (I’ve been typing this for about 90 minutes so far since the break!) that I really need to get some Dragonforce music on my phone! Just wanted to mention it...

    Winner 375825 and dud 375604 take me back to Sittingbourne, and I nearly lose my laptop bag off the platform as the strap fails. I’ve known it’s going to happen for ages, just no idea when. I must find the other one at some point before my next trip when I get home! Winner 466035 takes me to Queenborough for the scratch, and soon enough returns after I plan my moves on this line to take me to Kemsley. Fortunately I make it onto winner 466041 easily enough after all and it’s off to Swale. Here I watch Swale (King’s Ferry) Lifting Bridge going up to let a boat through, and I decide to transfer stuff from one bag to the other to make it easier to carry the laptop bag. 466041 is back eventually to take me back to Sittingbourne. A short wait gets me onto winner 395006 for the trip to Faversham. I had hoped to micro-grice into platform 1 but we get shoved into platform 4 instead. Never mind, it can be done again. I see here that my base camp for tomorrow is almost literally right next to the station, that’ll be handy! Winner 375805 takes me to another winner shack, Adisham. Running very low on liquids now, which is not good at all! Fantastic news though as I go past the carriage sidings at Faversham, as my last 465 for sight, 465930, was seen! It’s about darn time too, been looking everywhere for that thing this week! Nothing whatsoever near Adisham station, and I realise here I don’t have a clean shirt for Monday somehow, don’t know how I failed to pack one, so I need to find a shop to get a new one! 375616 is a winner taking me back to Selling for another scratch, and to my surprise the next one back down, this time to Aylesham, is also a winner with 375306! Sadly, the good run of winners is ruined by dud 375618 for the trip to Maidstone East. I figured I could do with a break from this line now and go to the Canterbury West line instead.

    I find a Primark in town and pick up a T-shirt for Monday, then finally find the right route to Canterbury West. I don’t know why it’s so hard for Canterbury to put signs up for it, or indeed to put them up sensibly...I spy a Pizza Hut and decide to get some food. When it came to ordering, I realised it had been a massive NINE hours since I’d finished my breakfast and not eaten since, no wonder I was feeling awful! I was also so very thirsty (having run of water before Bekesbourne) I ended up drinking 2 big glasses of Pepsi Max within 12 minutes. Good thing they’re refillable and unlimited! Before I left, I had gone through 4.25 glasses of it, and I was still thirsty! A most delicious and hot meat feast pizza which filled me right up, I start heading towards West station again. When I get near it, I see Sainsburys so get a couple of bits and bobs for later. I end up going the wrong way for the station entrance, finding it on the maps function on my phone. Stupidly, Canterbury had put the sign completely out of view of pedestrians coming from the town centre! Eventually I get there and it’s on dud 375815 to required shack Wye. A lengthy wait here gets me winner 375823 to Ashford, and I had planned to head towards Folkestone, however winner 375610 was on the 1905 to Ramsgate and a look on Real Time Trains (RTT) confirmed a scratch at Chartham was possible without too long to hang about, so I was on. Just over 20 minutes after arriving, after talking to two strangers, I get dud 375601 back down to Chilham, again having checked the moves out on RTT. With a fair bit of time here, I start getting my moves book done, and made a good bit of progress before winner 375623 rolled in to get me to Ashford.
    A short wait and across the station to platform 5 gets me winner 375809 forward to Folkestone West. No lavatories on this train either, not happy about that now! With none at Folkestone West either, this was not good!

    The last train of the day falls to winner 395001 for the short trip to Folkestone Central. Another day ended on a winner, very nice! A 15 minute walk gets me to the seafront and my third base camp for the trip, Carlton Hotel. £35 lighter, and the cheapest night of the trip, and I’m checked in getting started on bookwork and calling home to let them know I was well etc. I also look up the bus times for the bus to Hythe for tomorrow, however there aren’t any! So that’s bowled me out of my plan to do the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway tomorrow, now I need a new plan to fill the day! I get the laptop out and get started with bringing the trip report up to date while I think about it, but end up finishing it off and all done. It took nearly 2 hours mind! Day 3 then went really well with 18 winners and 20 required stations. Not bad at all, very happy with that! Now let’s see what Day 4 brings my way, but I will say that the Kent Rover is exceptional value for money. You can see for yourselves how much I covered in 3 days, except for Dunton Green which needed a separate ticket. I will be doing another one again sometime to get the last 26 stations in that I need, as well as hopefully progress on my 375s and 395s!

    3rd August 2014 – Techniquest and Red Pen Strike Back, Day 4

    Before I get cracking with this, I’m now over 6,000 words into this and nearly onto the 9th page in Word! Me thinks I may have rambled on a bit in Day 1, but hey ho let’s get going with the aid of some music, at this very moment in time it’s Dragonforce’s Fury of the Storm!

    After getting to sleep around 0200, due to spending ages typing up almost 3 days of trip report, I was up at 0830 and without a plan (see above for why, regarding the buses), so I try and decide what to do. Coffee and de-rancification time, as well as a few tweets and a Facebook status, then there was a lightbulb moment, when I remembered the existence of Traveline. Sure enough, it finds the buses to Hythe without any problems, and I’m just about to miss one at that point, with the next one at 1005. All of a sudden I spur into life and get a proper shift on with getting everything sorted as soon as possible, I need to get some food yet too as I’m proper famished! It’s farewell to Carlton Hotel by 0934 and I find the bus station with some assistance from Google Maps, but nowhere is open for food and drink yet that I found. A trip to the ATM is made and on the way back to the bus station there’s a massive army of Asda colleagues coming out of the rear entrance. Absolutely loads of them all at once, as if war had been declared on Asda! Eventually the 1005 bus to Lydd turns up and I get my combined Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (RHDR) and Stagecoach Explorer for £18.50. Considering this covers as much travel as you want on the RHDR and on Stagecoach buses across Kent and East Sussex for the day it’s a bargain!

    Off we go 4 minutes late, and traffic is shocking for a Sunday morning. I know it’s an incredibly glorious day, which was nice to wake up to, but still. I’m outside Hythe station at 1029, slightly too late to make the 1030 departure. I have to get a separate ticket printed for the RHDR bit, so both go into the ticket wallet ready for display, and I get a coffee for £2 and a bottle of pop for £1.20 to set myself up for the day. I don’t see owt in the cafe I want so pass and head to the platforms after consulting some bus timetables and maps. Cue the start of a massive photo taking session that lasted all day! No. 9 is the steam loco on the 1115 to Dungeness, and it’s proving to be such a popular tourist attraction today that an extra two coaches are bolted onto the already lengthy formation (I think this set was at least 14 coaches now), and we’re off 1 minute late. Oh yes, before I forget to add, Folkestone’s not a bad looking town, a billion times better than Margate! Folkestone’s more a town fitting of the Garden of England (that is, Kent). Margate’s more the rubbish bin at the end of the garden waiting for refuse collection...And yes, this is the last time I’m going to moan about that town for the time being!

    It’s a nice and scenic line, it must be said, and I’m also busy planning moves. Trains cross at Romney Sands, so after a LOT of decision making I go for the cross and see what can be done. I see one of the diesels is out today, oh I want that then! I need not have worried, as we roll into Romney Sands and the northbound train is not yet in so the interchange on the island platform was a piece of cake! When the leaflet said this stop is for the holiday park, I didn’t expect it to be literally right next to the line! No. 1 is on the Hythe train, obviously everything so far is a winner as it’s my first visit to the RHDR. Off to New Romney now, and I discover northbound trains change locos here today, so the drivers can have a break. Not a bad idea that fair dos, more locos to score! The queue for the cafe is outrageous so I pass on that and it’s No. 8 next for the trip to Dungeness. The RNLI lifeboat station is having an open day, so trains call nearby. “How are they going to do that?” I wondered, the answer being simply stopping nearby. No platforms or owt, but then when you’re only a couple of inches off the ground I suppose it’s not too bad. Off we go again eventually, as it takes ages to get everyone off and on. There’s only a few minutes until No. 8 is due to leave again now, so it’s a quick grab ‘n’ go photo stop before jumping back on, still no chance of getting something to eat. Around the rest of the loop we go, and that’s the track all done for the Baker now. At New Romney, No. 8 comes off and I get No. 9 forward to the request stop St Marys Halt. According to my 2002 (or so) Quail for the South East, this was previously called Jefferson Road, no idea when it was renamed.

    I visit the nearby pub, Baliff Sergeant, and get a pint of Shepard Neame’s Master Brew for £3.30. Not cheap but then it’s affluent Kent and a country pub, so not too bad. It’s not bad stuff, but it’s also very bitter! Not my first choice, and I don’t understand how it’s a best seller in Kent! Back to the station and No. 1 is back to get me over to New Romney. Just one more available station to get (there’s two halts, but they only get served on special days) at Dymchurch, and that’s definitely doable before I have to head north. No. 14, the diesel loco in service today, takes over from steam on the next Hythe train at New Romney, sounded great on startup and put in a good performance to Dymchurch too. With the stations all done, and just the eastbound track from Dymchurch to Hythe to get for the Quail now, it’s all gone well. A coffee is settled on eventually for a drink, and it’s £1.20 here. For the same size cup and everything, maybe he made an error with it but I wasn’t complaining at £1.20! The weather is still glorious (indeed, it was still clear skies and warm when I last looked out of the window around 2140 on Day 4) and before the train comes in, a RHDR staff member comes up to those of us on the platform the train’s very busy and extra coaches have been added to meet demand. Fortunately it wasn’t too hard to find seats after all, and to my surprise it’s a double header with No. 1 and No. 10 on the run to Hythe! Arrival is just 2 minutes late, so plenty of time to get another bottle of pop for £1.20 before the bus to Folkestone. It’s due at 1657, not long then...

    1700, “Oh it’s not too bad, there is a fair bit of traffic” I tell myself, 1705 comes around and I start being concerned about my connections. 1710 and I’m starting to get very irate. A group next to me asked me if buses normally run this late in England, and I find they’re from the Netherlands on a 2 week holiday. Eventually the bus shows up and leaves at 1718, 21 minutes late. It’s a slow run to town, stopping all over the place and some stops were quite lengthy too. We come near the bus station and I didn’t realise we have to go a fair way around to get into it. 1736 we arrive, 24 minutes late, and I go like a bat out of hell across the bus station as I see the 1735 to Canterbury hasn’t left just yet. A large queue is still getting on, if that queue hadn’t been there I’d have been screwed! I tell the driver about the woman who drove us over from Hythe (and me around the bend too!), and apparently it’s not unusual for her and she’s been 35 minutes late before now. If I was her boss I’d have got rid of her before now, and I’m still going to send Stagecoach a complaint. Off we go 4 minutes late and I settle in on the top deck for the trip across the county. I didn’t know the area surrounding Folkestone was that hilly, but we climb and climb and climb up hills for some time. I had not long missed a bus from Hythe to Canterbury, 1638 that was timetabled to leave. We arrived at 1642, so that one wasn’t delayed much if at all, which was a shame as it would have been more convenient!

    After a good journey up from Folkestone, I get to Canterbury Bus Station bang on time at 1826. Best double check the time of the next bus to Faversham, and it’s at 1905. Good, I finally, FINALLY, have time to get something to eat! So I head into town and a couple of minutes later my eyes pop out of my head, I’ve finally found a Burger King on my travels! It’s been months since I went to one, so I rush over and order my usual meal, a supersize Bacon Double Cheeseburger XL meal with a Coke. £7.29 but good golly gosh it was absolutely divine! That sure filled me up considerably, and since I’ve not eaten, apart from a few Munchies left in my bag from the other day, since my meal in Pizza Hut yesterday I was beyond starving! Over 25 hours between one meal and the next, don’t ask me how I managed it because I don’t know myself! Back at the bus station I find my bus has arrived from Faversham and I get on for the last trip of the day, the 1905 Canterbury to Faversham. It also occurs to me that this is my last trip in Kent on my trip, apart from the homeward bound journey tomorrow. You may be wondering why I got buses all the way from Hythe to Faversham, well this is because it was all rail replacement buses from Folkestone to Dover and onwards to Canterbury East, and a single Folkestone to Faversham was to set me back £14.80 (or thereabouts). Since I already had my bus ticket to cover me all the way, I figured I might as well just use buses anyway, and the journey time wasn’t that much different on my chosen route anyway. Saving £14.80 was a tidy bonus, and I could have got the train anyway from Canterbury and got a single from there instead. For the short distance, it wasn’t worth £5.10 plus this way I got to see a bit more of the country than I would have done otherwise.

    Arrival at Faversham station is at 1935, and I head straight to my 4th and final base camp of the trip, Railway Hotel in Faversham. £39 lighter, my room looks decent and the bed is not too bad. Bathroom’s a good size and the TV is tiny. The big bonus of booking this stay was that Faversham station is close, a 2 minute walk it said on Booking.com, that’ll be fine. Actually, it’s almost directly opposite the station! Talk about convenience when out on a bash, fair play that’ll be useful for me. I’m booked on the 0803 to London Cannon Street (read on tomorrow to find out why) so I don’t need to leave the hotel until 0750, very nice! I pass on paying £6 for breakfast, but I’m thinking I should have taken it up. Oh well, never mind, I’m sure I can still do so in the morning should I desire. I head off after a bit to The Leading Light (Wetherspoons) and have a lovely pint of Tuborg to toast the epic trip and all its successes, then head back to get on with the evening stuff. Following that, it’s time to de-rancify and have a shave, then I finally get on with typing up the trip report for Day 4. I’d also better get on with sorting my bags out too while I think about it, one less thing to deal with in the morning and I can sleep in a little longer! So then, Day 4 produced a total of 9 winners (1 diesel loco, 4 steam locos and 4 buses) and 6 required stations, not bad at all really. I also see that I hadn’t got No. 10 in today before it turned up on the double header, I was lucky it showed up then really! Day 5 is the final day of the trip, it’s all coming to an end so fast! Question is, will i have a bit of a London bash before heading onwards from London, or will I go straight home? Time will tell, as will this trip report...

    4th August 2014 – Techniquest and Red Pen Strike Back, Day 5

    Up and about just before the alarms went off at 0700, and despite having almost everything sorted last night it still takes until 0739 to get final prep done with a couple of tweets and a status update before heading out the door. I’m leaving slightly earlier than planned to the station so I can make sure there’s not a winner 375 on the 0752 to London Victoria. Nope, both dud, as is the 0758 to St Pancras. So I await my planned train, the 0803 (0717 from Ramsgate) to London Cannon Street. It rolls in with 375619 and 375714, 714 being a winner. I think that’s now 68 375s to go, a fair chunk of those being /7s and /9s. Lots of vegging between Charing Cross and London Bridge in the future at peak times then! I resist the urge to get some tunes on until Gillingham, when someone sits at my table and plugs his earphones in. I could resist no longer, and got some Dragonforce blasting into the ears. That lot sure woke me up and got me all fired up for the day! I’ve still not decided if I’m going straight home from London, or whether I should have a day out instead here while I’m at it. The works west of Rochester are getting quite extensive now, new platforms or new station altogether? Can’t honestly remember what’s supposed to be happening here. After Rochester, it’s straight on towards Swanley, and now it’s time to cross the fingers on both hands. Why do that, I hear you ask? For those unaware, the 0717 SSuX (Saturdays and Sundays Excluded) Ramsgate to London Cannon Street is one of just two trains booked to cover the Up Chatham Loop at Chislehurst, a single track curve that links the Up Slow from Swanley to the Up Fast at Chislehurst. This is the last bit of track on the SET network I need (save for microgricing that is), hence leaving Faversham so early. Especially beyond Swanley I get nervous, that I’ve bought an Anytime Single home at a cost of £54.50 for nothing. St Mary Cray, and we start slowing down. “Uh-oh” I think, “We’re going to use the reversible link to the slow lines”. For several moments I’m staring out the window, fingers crossed and concentrating slowly on the track next to me. We branch left and I breathe a sigh of relief as we join the Up Chatham Loop Curve. It’s video’d on my phone, but it’s not a very interesting clip apart from where we cross the mainline, it’ll be uploaded to YouTube soon enough, for some sort of proof I’ve done it!

    Time to belt it up the mainline, but due to some issues near London Bridge some lines are blocked. So it’s a slow run with lots of waiting at red signals but we eventually arrive at 0918, 7 minutes late I believe. A trio of 375s in particular caught my attention as we waited for access to London Bridge’s platform 2, the one in the middle left Bridge around 0913, 0914 maybe, and all I could tell for sure was it was 375x01. Was it 375901? If anyone knows, or can find out, please let me know as I’d love to know if I have indeed seen my last 375 for sight! I pop out of the station for a look around, and end up at West Cornwall Pasty Shop for a bacon roll and coffee for breakfast, a cost of £2.99 which I deemed fairly reasonable for the capital. Well, until I started eating the bacon roll, it was not far off cold and had virtually no bacon in it! However it filled a massive void in the stomach, and the coffee not bad, so it wasn’t all bad. I go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth on whether to do a London bash or not. Then I can’t decide where to get cranking. SWT can wait until they pull their finger out and decide whether they’re renumbering their 455s upon their getting AC motors and when the 458/5s finally get arriving in bigger numbers! Southern, I have a lot I need there, I need a good few bits on GA and FCC and there’s a lot of stuff on the Tube I need too. Finally, after about 15 minutes of debates and arguments in my head (I was arguing with myself over the need to have a good time and the need to get home and get bookwork done, just so you know!), I join a long and slow moving queue for a TVM. The woman in front of me bought a day return to Brighton, £26.30, that seems like quite a rip off to me! My Off-Peak Travelcard is still £8.90 for Z1-6, not bad value if you ask me.

    So what TOC am I using today? Surely not the one I’ve spent almost all this trip on? Yep, South Eastern still, there’s a lot I need with SET in the Greater London area, trains and stations wise, so since I don’t often do much on SET metals I might as well get cracking! First up are double winners 465012 and 465168 for a trip to Grove Park. I swear I’ve been here before, but my atlas doesn’t agree with me. I don’t have any luck ID’ing I need on Grove Park depot and carriage sidings, chances are both 466s and my last 375 were there but I couldn’t see the numbers! Off the fast lines just before Grove Park to the slows, another bit of microgricing I needed. Over I go to platform 1 for a 466 bash to Sandridge Park. Or at least that’s what I was expecting, instead I get dud 465185 on the Bromley North shuttles! With the only intermediate station on the branch done, it’s back on 465185 to Grove Park from where I get double winners 465035 and 465188 for the bus stop bash to Hither Green. 66847 is seen on a westbound freight here and a photo had to be taken. Turned out I needed it for sight too, excellent stuff! Winner 465003 takes me to Mottingham for another shack scratch (as you’ll see further on in this, there was a lot of that today!) with winner 465034 and dud 465151 taking me forward a couple of minutes later (003 had been held up significantly by the issues in the London Bridge area earlier) to New Eltham. My first 376 of the day, winner 376010, takes me on to Sidcup for yet another shack scratch, and after dealing with some rather matters it was onto dud 465183 forward to Albany Park. That’s all the stations Lewisham to Dartford via Sidcup done now, and after getting a coffee from Coffee Cino’s outside the station for £1.40 (expensive for the size cup to be honest, but hey ho!) I see the 1142 to London is cancelled. Grr, that’s going to put me behind schedule then! Instead I get dud 465245 and winner 465177 to Slade Green, and then the same pair onwards to London, as far as Belvedere for me. I see trains are every 10 minutes on this section, I’ll keep going west in 10 minute intervals then as that’ll be easier than leapfrogging stations to go back and forth the line!

    Winner 465157 is up next for the bus stop bash to Abbey Wood, and I see the works to put in the new platforms is coming on well so far. Making for a very noisy environment mind! Next up in this game of ‘Which Number Will It Be?’ - I might make that a thing actually! – it’s 465019. Ridiculously dud, this will be at least the 5th time I’ve had this one now! Plumstead is next, and I didn’t realise there were carriage sidings here! 465244 and 465194 are photted on said sidings and it’s time to play ‘What Number Will It Be?’ again 10 minutes later. Double duds 465152 and 465249 take me to Charlton for yet another shack scratch. The PIS screen here still shows the 0811 to Cannon Street that was cancelled, [sarcasm]most useful! [/sarcasm], and the next one to Charing Cross goes via Blackheath. Hmm, I do what those last 4 stations via Greenwich to clear the top Dartford Metro line (for the unfamiliar, the Dartford Metro lines are: London Bridge to Dartford via Woolwich Arsenal (top line), London Bridge to Dartford via Bexleyheath (middle line) and London Bridge to Dartford via Sidcup (bottom line). See page 36 in the Baker if you’re still not sure), but I’m swayed towards getting the middle line stations done when I see it’s double winners 465037 and 465238 on the 1247 to Charing Cross via Blackheath!

    I was about to change platforms at Blackheath to head east, but then I hear an announcement for the 1255 to London calling at St Johns. “Ooh, I can finally get that one in!” I tell myself, probably out loud too, and walk back down the platform in time to note that it’s winner 465154. That’ll definitely do nicely, and clears the bottom line finally. Already a great bit of progress today then! After a wait of just a few minutes, it’s onto winner 465048 to Kidbrooke. Someone’s either had a cigar or something illegal smoked in the lavatory on this 465, it absolutely stunk! At Kidbrooke, when the next train rolled in, the game of ‘Which Number Will It Be?’ continued (I said I was going to make it a thing!), and it’s a pair of 376s, 007 and 017, both winners. Sweet, that’ll do nicely and I take them to Eltham. Frequencies on this line were also quite reasonable, so like along the top line I’m happy to avoid leapfrogging stations to get them all done. Winner 465187 is up next for the trip to Falconwood, with dud 465154 forward to Bexleyheath. Double duds 465245 and 465177 are back for the leap to Welling, which clears the bottom line stations now (it’s worth pointing out I’ve done a couple on each Metro line when I did all the curves outside the zones on an ALR). 465019 is back again and I flag it in favour of a coffee move at Puccinos. The guy running it today was very friendly and I had a nice chat to him about my trip so far, he actually seemed genuinely interested which was a surprise. Dud 465187 is back now on the 1422 to Victoria (1422, already?! Where has the day gone?!) and I’m on it for the trip to Peckham Rye. I finally get my notebook and NREA back up to date and the journey is only 22 minutes. Went by well fast for an all-stations run! Dud 465002 takes me on a bus stop bash to Nunhead, and a few minutes here gets me my first double winners in an hour and a half with 319448 and 319447. Consecutively numbered 319s, not a sight I see too often. Off to Bellingham I go for the short wait for the next one back to Crofton Park. Winner 319446 (now that’s not something you see too often, 3 319s in descending number order like that!) takes me forward to Crofton Park, or so I thought...

    What do I mean “or so I thought...” I hear you all asking. Well, I got off the 319 and headed downstairs to change platforms, then I see a sign for Catford Bridge. It suddenly dawns on me and I hear an out loud “Oh no...” and a look at the station building confirms I got off at Catford. Epic fail, but believe it or not, not the first time I’ve done that sort of thing this year...Oh well, onto the Hayes line I go as I still need 6 stations on that. I’d have gone and cleared them all if time hadn’t been against me, after all by the time I was on the next train to Hayes it was 1519 and my train home is at 1722. Dud 465249 is up for the bus stop bash to Lower Sydenham, and I rush over the footbridge for double duds 465175 and 465030 for a leap to Ladywell. Dud 465176 and winner 465189 take me back south, and I bail this time at New Beckenham to return north on double duds 465245 and 465177 again. Don’t know what happened, but there was a lot of brown stuff on the floor by the seats opposite the lavatory in the last coach of 465177 (65836 I believe it was), which was reported to SET via Twitter. Felt sorry for anyone travelling on it later on! Off I go to Charing Cross and I’m still looking out the window for the 2 466s and 375901, just in case they’re about. No such luck, and after a 26 minute journey I arrive at Charing Cross’s platform 5. So many long trains out now it’s getting unreal, and so many winners I can see! It’s now time for a very late lunch/early tea, and Burger King is my saviour again today. Usual meal downsized to a large as there were no supersize cups and I had no patience for trying to carry two cups onto the Tube, not with only one hand free!

    After a most delicious meal, having not eaten since around 0930 so almost 7 hours without food (I should add I had some chocolate and crisps in my bag, just didn’t have time to eat them!), it’s off to the Bakerloo line. I always forget how long the walk is to it though, unless there’s a faster route (I used the stairs just outside the station, didn’t see another route) and I keep missing it, but I’m on double winners 3541 and 3264 and on the way at 1637. Time is not on my side today, and if I had been staying in London I’d have quite happily kept cranking until 2200! A 13 minute journey gets me to Paddington, just as well as it’s roasting on the Oven Line (It can be at 0530 on a winter’s morning mind too!), makes you really appreciate the air conditioning on the Victoria line and on S stock! I pop into Sainsburys to get some Dr Pepper, 2 big bottles for £3 wasn’t the original intention, but there is very, very, very little choice of anything soft drinks wise here! I also have a craving for coffee so visit Costa and have a wander about. Even as I came up the escalator from the Tube onto the concourse, I was whistling the McDonalds theme and in my head I was quoting Bender from Futurama, “I’m back, baby!”. Not the first Bender quote I’ve used lately, while waiting for the bus from Hythe yesterday I kept thinking of “Let’s go alreadaaaaaaaaaay!”, as I mentioned in the write up for Day 1 I love Paddington! The 1722 to Hereford is already boarding at 1657, unheard of to have boarding start so early! I do struggle to get through the barriers with two bags and a coffee to carry while putting the ticket through the barrier, but I manage. Who on Earth ever said men can’t multi-task?!

    A walk up to the front reveals it’s 43183 with 43035 on the rear, and we leave right time with 43183 clagging a fair amount for a MTU! The sound and smell of diesel after so much EMU action was most appreciated, and we belt it along the GWML much to my delight! Once the coffee was devoured, it was time to get the notebook and NREA up to date, then the Quail and the trip report finished off. This takes until just after Great Malvern to do, 2.5 hours after departure from Paddington! I still have a megaton of observations to process, the ST Publications book to update, the moves book to finish filling in, the spreadsheet to get done with July’s moves and August so far and the atlas to finish colouring in and ticking off stations! In other words, I’m going to be here for AGES getting it all done! It’s been a nice smooth ride through Middle England (I’ll never forget a TM saying that on the tannoy once years ago!), in other words through the North Cotswolds and Malverns. Didn’t feel at all like 2.5 hours to Malvern! Time to transfer the photos (of which there’s a LOT!) from the phone to the laptop, and we’re soon at Ledbury. It’s at this point I feel the need to go to a droplight, pull it down and just listen to the sound as we leave. This is the last time, unless something unexpected happens in the meantime, I’ll get to enjoy a journey on an HST through a stunning summer’s evening, as come 1st September the council’s withdrawal of subsidy on the evening buses means my last bus home will be 3 hours earlier, at 1815 vice 2115.

    It’ll mean a drastic change both to my working hours and to my day trips, but as things stand there isn’t much I can do about it. Instead of getting the 1919 from Birmingham New Street on a day trip to the Midlands, I’d have to get the 1549 home with a long (almost an hour!) to wait for the bus home. Forget about doing a day trip to London, that’s not even remotely possible now without paying silly money and even then it would only be a couple of hours at the most. So I’m still figuring out how I’m going to do things, but we’ll see what happens.

    I’m soon back into Hereford at 2025, 3 minutes early and the journey didn’t even remotely feel like 3 hours and 3 minutes! I head to Wetherspoons to meet up with two colleagues before getting the 2115 bus home, and I’m in such a good mood it’s unreal. Sadly the good mood didn’t last long, as the following day I discovered just how skint I am now, but it’s all been well worth the expenditure and the need to be a cheapskate now is worth it all! As I type this up on the 10th of August, 6 days after the end of the trip, I still haven’t finished off the moves book or processed my mileages, but everything else is done so it’s not all bad.

    An absolutely brilliant trip had, now to await payday to book the next adventure!
     
    Last edited: 10 Aug 2014
  27. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    West of Andover
    Busy few days you had there, lots of coverage in Kent (I picked up my Kent Rover from Hull, probably the first (and last) time the FTPE ticket-office has sold one of those tickets, had some interesting looks from the guards.

    Shame the council is cutting back on the buses, the last few times I've caught buses in this area the majority of users are from the older generation on free bus-passes, so the revenue gained is minimal.
     
  28. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
    A similar situation exists on rural routes everywhere sadly, who is the opperater Techniquest? Are they likely to have a go at it comercially? Staying with buses, im interested at how well, delays not withstanding you did in Kent on buses, good to know it works. As it was SC I assume you wer (un)fortunate enough to get some kind of Inviro derivative?

    Great trip that, lots of fun to read as I love kent and really enjoyed it. The RHDR sounds rather fun too! Hope things are ok your end, ta for a great report↲
     
  29. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Nowhere Heath
    Cheers both for replying :)

    Buses wise in Kent, well it was all double deck vehicles, Enviros on each move yes. Long time since it was a decent decker (Volvo Olympian, or better still Leyland Olympian or even a step entrance Dart, all three types were favourites! A Marshall Dart was also welcome too!) on a bus journey I made, although I occasionally get an Optare Spectra which is nice!

    When I'm next not browsing the forum on my phone, I'll detail the buses bit better via PM :)
     
  30. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    28 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
    fare doos mate. Do keep in touch. BTW if your next mega bash involves your much anticipated trip to Edinburgh for trams etc, do PM me before booking anything
     
  31. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Nowhere Heath
    First of all, apologies Blindtraveller, I am too tired now to reply properly about the buses bit. I'll try to do so later!

    Secondly, I have finally got my photos uploaded to Flickr! They can be found at the following link:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/43002/sets/72157646566237752/

    I haven't added titles but I've done descriptions, that'll have to do for tonight as I'm shattered and need sleep!
     

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