North West Rover Report

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by bb21, 3 Jun 2015.

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  1. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This trip was more an unexpected result of a few coincidences rather than a long-term ambition of mine. I never really intended to do any big journeys this year but things sort of fell in place quite naturally on this occasion for me. It all started with me looking for ways to make good use of Northern's excellent newspaper offer on the Cumbrian 37s. It transpired that it was quite impossible to score both sets on a day return on one of these tickets starting from Nottingham, so despite having bought the newspapers, there was initially no firm plan that such a trip would take place.

    As it happened, my landlord wanted to do up part of the house this week and will be live-in. The impending mess gave me some incentive to look harder for somewhere to base myself for a couple of days, and as it turned out, Blackpool was an excellent location with plenty of very reasonably priced stays on offer, for the sort of prices I would have expected Travelodge to offer, until a couple of years ago that is. Some digging for fares ensued, and a £5.60 Advance from Nuneaton to Blackpool North for this morning provided too much a pull for me to turn down, so a 3-day tour at the heart of Northern land was promptly planned.

    I then received an advert a few days later from the booking agent, advising me of a place to stay immediately next to Blackpool North station for only £11 a night for around the same sort of days. It then got me thinking: three days' Northern offer would be setting me back £37.50, but would severely limit my options at Barrow, where connections can be quite poor for large parts of the day to/from Lancaster, and I would probably need to buy a few tickets to bridge the gap between Preston and Lancaster due to the lack of Northern services during daytime (oddly a flow priced by Northern), at £5.80 a pop. Just two of these and I will be up to a total of £49.10, more than the cost of a North West 4-in-8 Rover, with the latter offering lots of advantages over the Northern offers. Then again, with the 7-day product only a tenner more, accommodation so cheap, and a rare week with no commitments for me at work whatsoever, it really seems to be the perfect opportunity to do a full Rover for the week, so here we are, my first time of actually planning to use the full validity of a 7-day Rover.
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    Day 1

    With my body clock more or less stretched at the moment, as I seem to be doing 20-hour days followed by 12-hour sleeps regularly recently, it was a surprise that I managed to wake up before the alarm went off, at 5.50am, despite only getting just under two hours' kip. I was intending to aim for the 0722 train, which would give me about 30 minutes to fester at Nuneaton - just enough time to nip off to Asda next door, so left at around 6.45am. As I was crossing the road towards the bus stop, a First bus promptly turned around the corner at the previous junction. Normally I object paying First's rip-off prices on this route, but seeing that it saves me any waiting at all, maybe it was a good omen :). After parting with a very inflated £1.70, I suddenly remembered that due to city centre works (which seems to be going on forever and originally scheduled to finish by March time I think), that bus was terminating short at the bus station instead of somewhere more central. That just made my fare about 1/3 more expensive than normal I think. :|

    We arrived at the bus station at 6.54am, so that was a 3-minute journey I make it, at 57p a minute. Simply wow when you put it like that. I note with interest that the bus, 69449, was new to Somerset and Avon six years ago. Can't say I can remember when Leicester received its last batch of new buses with First. It could have been 37146, and crikey that was a long time ago!!!

    Since I was already here, I went into the bus station looking for the next departure. Not that I needed to use the bus, as I now have sufficient time to walk to my train, but if one were to be available, it would be handy. Walking towards Bay 16, I saw a 48 Wigston bus already parked there, leaving at 0702. "Lovely", I thought to myself. I then noticed a Stagecoach Northampton X7 loading in Bay 19. A swift scan of the timetable case told that was leaving at 0658, but wait, there is an Arriva X3 Market Harborough bus in the next bay which has finished loading, and that was apparently also leaving at 0658. I don't think I have ever seen three buses leaving from the bus station within 5 minutes of each other ever, all heading past the railway station, and that would do me just fine this fine. Only knowing that Arriva charged £1 for the hop across town but not Stagecoach prices, I jumped on the X3, bus 4207 - a Wright Eclipse Gemini - that seems to be a regular workhorse on the route, and we arrived at the station head-to-tail with the Stagecoach bus at 0703.

    So this morning went so smoothly that I made the earlier train than the one I intended, the 0710, only problem now is that I have almost an hour to waste at Nuneaton.
     
  2. Kite159

    Kite159 Established Member

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    I guess Blackpool is the sort of place where during the off-season hotels are rather cheap due to the large supply and low demand. And getting £11 from someone is better than having an empty room and getting zero.

    An hour to waste at Nuneaton, not the best station to have an hour wait in (at least you could sit down and what the 221/390s rushing pass)
     
  3. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Can't wait to read the rest of this when it's up! You've obviously got a railcard, as a 4 in 8 North West rover is £72.70 otherwise! Which is still good value, don't get me wrong, but I'd love to paying less than £50 when I do mine :lol:

    Rip off that bus fare was, I'd have walked if it was an option! Hope you managed to fill the fester time OK in the end, jealous you've got a full week in the North West and managed to get such a bargain Advance!
     
  4. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    A £1.70 bus fare is modest these days. The Arriva mimimum fare in St. Helens is £2.20.
     
  5. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    It's about £1.50 in Scarborough I think a minimum fare and that's for a 6 minute walk (about 2 mins on bus); not that I pay for buses!
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    Equally looking forward to doing this - I want to do the day rover in that area!
     
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