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! - 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!