Kris' Double Time! (Trip Report)

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Kristofferson, 1 May 2015.

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  1. Kristofferson

    Kristofferson Established Member

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    As some of you may know, I'm a long time reader (well, almost a year!) of this forum - and the more eagle-eyed may even remember my plans for a day on the rails to experience some new stock and track. Although my first "travelcard adventure" hasn't happened yet, as luck would have it I ended up accidentally scratching off a lot of the "to do" list yesterday evening!

    If you'd like to know how a 2hr30 commute turned into an impromptu 5hr30 mini-bash, read on...


    Kris' Double Time

    Boarding my usual chariot at Clapham Jct, a Southern 377/7 north to Watford Jct, I happen to cast my eye up to the departure board and notice the southbound train on the opposite platform is cancelled. Although pretty sure it's just due to a staff shortage or something equally minor, I think to myself "better board this and get home sharpish all the same!". All is well as the Electrostar whines its way up the West London Line, taking in the same scenery as always - the low sun across the Thames at Chelsea Harbour and billboards for some obscure trade show at Kenny Olympia. It's here that the driver chirps onto the PA, apologises for being the bearer of bad news, and informs us we'll be terminating just up the road at Shepherd's Bush due to OHLE damage in the Watford up fast tunnel.

    And so it begins! Turfed off at Shepherds Bush with the hordes of cursing commuters, I'm not too bothered - I haven't travelled on a 378 before, and these are dual voltage one too? Should be a more interesting trip up to Willesden than usual, happy days! The Capitalstar rolls in from Stratford and... it's bloody rammed! Seeing that the next service is due in 10, I flag this one and let the missus know I'll be late home. Leaping onto the next Overground train, I grab a seat in a middle car and am instantly surprised by the lack of air conditioning on this sealed sardine can. What year is this?? An uneventful trip to Willesden ensues, with the highlight being hearing the DC - AC switchover on the move. Spending the remainder of the short hop wondering why the Southern services waste time stopping for switchover, we soon arrive at Willesden.

    As a trip on the Bakerloo line was to be an element of the planned trip, I wander across to the correct platform and anticipate my first 1972 stock experience. Minding the large gap and settling down on one of the couch-like forward-facing seats in an empty carriage, I'm beaming as we set off towards Harrow & Wealdstone as sunset begins. I'm sure regular Oven Line commuters will disagree with me, but these things are brilliant! Proper noisy, jerky, heritage stock is definitely a more interesting way to travel than the antiseptic S stock. As we lurch into Harrow & Wealdstone, I hatch a plan to do the Watford DC line this evening as it's another required move of my planned trip and nothing appears to be moving on the WCML anyway. However, the announcement that a London Midland stopper will be calling at the station shortly tempts me across platforms and onto a 321 - which is apparently about an hour late!

    Managing to find some room in the pantograph coach (is there any other way to travel on these?), we begin our slow crawl north. The commuters around me don't seem happy, but I'm still fairly pleased with my progress and glad to have some new stock "in the book" (I don't have a book). After a 5-minute stop at a red outside Bushey, which I observe is spent waiting for various Voyagers and Pendos to overtake and squeeze onto the slows in front of us, we arrive into the station with a red ahead and the guard kindly opens the doors to allow Bushey commuters to leave the train. Unimpressed with the progress of what I wrongly believed would be a faster service, and not relishing the thought of further standing on a crowded train stuck on the down slow to Watford, it's here I make a huge mistake! Yes, I jump off and head for the Overground again because that seems to be a faster way to Watford and I'll get some DC line action in after all!

    Boarding my second 378 of the evening and watching as we leave the London Midland service behind, I'm enjoying both the new track and the seemingly decent progress towards home. Although it quickly becomes apparent that these trains are actually quite dull and the DC line isn't as scenic or interesting as it seems from afar! Worse, as we arrive at Watford, I see the very same 321 pull into a distant platform... Running across the underpass and hoping to catch the LM train before it sets off north, as I climb the stairs to platform 8 I hear the familiar thunderous sound of old DC motors and watch as the 321 pulls away - heading for the tunnels and leaving me behind! Its OK, I think, there'll be another one shortly because they're all queued up... right?

    Well, it's time for a quick dinner-to-go at AMT anyway as I'm about 3 hours in at this point! The sight of no useful departures on the screens is worrying, so I pop over to the ticket office to see what's going on. Long story short and a chat with a (very helpful) platform attendant later, I'm informed that my next service isn't for another hour and a half! It's here I finally admit that yup, I f'd up. Bailing at Bushey was very unwise indeed!

    Spending the next couple of hours watching the misplaced fast trains crawl by on the slows, I chat sporadically with fellow travellers and the platform assistant (who was friendly with the local enthusiasts - wasn't anyone here was it?). The usual 66s are out and the new Cally Sleeper is looking very smart. Oddly enough, it was hauled by a First-liveried 90! After the longest fester in the history of long festers, a 350 to Brum finally creeps in and I cram onto it, meeting up with the other half who had been delayed on this very train out of Euston.

    We finally make it home and, although tired and 150-ish late, my impromptu night on the rails was preferable to sitting around doing nowt and I'm glad to have got some new "required" stock and track in :) Even better, the late finish allowed me a "work from home" day on Thursday, meaning I thankfully missed the morning peak chaos at Clapham.

    Thanks for reading, I hope it was enjoyable and that the next trip is 1) planned and 2) smoother!
     
    Last edited: 1 May 2015
  2. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Welcome to the trip report community, your membership card is in the post ;)

    Good to hear you've got some of your required bits done off your list. I had wondered how come you didn't go on a trip very much, a relationship clearly gets in the way!

    I hope you get to have your Travelcard bash in one day!
     
  3. 185143

    185143 Established Member

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    where's my membership card?:D
     
  4. Kristofferson

    Kristofferson Established Member

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    Thanks TQ :) Yeah, my weekends are generally occupied with other activities - not that I mind, I spend enough time travelling on the railway as it is with this new job!

    Will have to rethink the Travelcard bash for sure, I need to lose the WLL part of it as I'm very familiar with it now!
     
  5. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Ask Royal Mail ;)

    Kris: Fair enough, my commute's by buses so the railway is much better!
     
  6. alexf380

    alexf380 Member

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    Welcome aboard the trip report band wagon!
    It was indeed an enjoyable read and even better that you got to do a bit of cranking on your way home. Hope to read another from you soon-ish :)

    Now, to start your initiation....:lol:
     
  7. Kristofferson

    Kristofferson Established Member

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