Surprises

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1st surprise was getting on board the train at Newcastle Central on the friday morning. I had booked 3 months ago and had specifically asked for window table seat facing on account of my size. I also made sure it was an HST set too. On boarding I discover it was one of those atrocious 'Mallard' sets and therefore rubbish. To cap that they gave me an airline seat with back to loco which meant that no-one could sit next to me as I have to sit in them on the skew there not being enough leg room for me to sit normally.


The train left on the button and we made good progress but on reaching Doncaster we were told that 'owing to technical difficulties' we were to be transferred to another train at Peterborough for our onward trip to London. On nearing Peterboro we were informed that we would have to cross over the bridge to another platform and board the train standing there. On knowing the foibles of railway working yours truly was out of the train and over the bridge as fast as his weight would carry him. There was an HST set standing there in the process of off loading its compliment. It was absolutely tipping down with rain too.


The staff available were asked if this was our London train as we had been told. The reply was 'no it is defective and you can't get on board' I said 'well we have been told different so if you want us out you'll have to get us out' With that I led the populace into the train shoving the protesting staff aside to do so. None of us were going to stand out in the pouring rain at the whim of GNER. The staff tried to say 'you can't do that' to which I and several others replied 'too late, we have' We settled into whewever we could get a seat which was anywhere as the folk from this train had been shoehorned into our original one. The new train was a HST set with a defective power car at the country end and so running on one only. After about a 30 minute delay we we off again with no further incident. Yours truly takes no old waffle from railway staff having been one in the past. If they can't get their act sorted then that is tough.

The next morning I was up at 4am and showered etc ready for our day out to NLL and c2c. I texted to CJ to asked if he was up and about and that was the next surprise. He apparently was at Hainault with EOR James [why does that always remind me of Winnie the Pooh?] These two intrepid travellers having been about since 5am. They met me on the concourse at KX and we decended to the 'Dirty Dick' for the ride to Hammersmith where we ariived with an hour to spare before meet time. Surprise number 3 came then. CJ and James wanted a trip to Heathrow to kill time and asked if I minded. I did not so out we went to the gateway to the world. Once there we crossed straight over to come back and I got surprise number 4 as these two gents wanted to drop off at Acton to do photting at Stamford Brook. This they did and I carried on to H,sth. There I crossed over to the westbound for the ride to Richmond which was, thankfully, on an unrefurbed 'D' stock.

At Richmond I got my NNL ticket and popped into Mac'd's for something to take out. This I took down onto Richmond platform to eat. On getting down there I saw three gents also stuffing their faces with grub. I passed them and went and sat on the next seat to eat mine. A few moments later one of them came up and asked if I was RUK. It turns out it was Dennis, Joe H, and the lad from Rugby [sorry your name escapes me]. After finishing my big Mac I went and sat with them [I hate eating in company] Whilst sitting I found out that CJ and James were up in Macs eating as well. They joined us just after Seth and Yorkie had arrived from wherever. So now the gang was complete [sorry you did not make it Damon]


So, all aboard the 11:44 NLL and away we went. I got my next surprise then. As we progressed I was astonished to see how busy that line was. Surely it warrants 6 cars trains for the amount of traffic on offer? People were standing for the majority of the way. I have always wondered why that line was never connected at Gospel Oak to the Goblin and make a through Richmond/Barking service. I know the physical connection is at Gospel Oak so why not make use of it?


The next surprise was Yorkie. Having only met him once before I thought he was a shy and quiet chap. Not a bit of it. He kept up a continuous and very interesting string of anecdotes and stories all the while and the boys were hanging on his every word entralled, and laughing at some of the tales. If he can hold an audience like that he should be on the stage!


Well we got to North Wooly and the fella's did thier bit of photting and then back to West Ham and upstairs for c2c. While waiting we watched a continous stream of trains going west on the DL. Seth seemed quite surprised at how close the headway was. It has always been like that on the DR and now it has got back to the old days with the H/C added into the mix all day for good measure. The signalling from Upminster to Whitechapel is capable of 90 second headways if pushed. It used to be like that for the whole line to Earls Court.


Anyway Yorkie and a couple of others pushed off the get something to eat and on return we got the first Shoebury train available. More surprises on that train. The aircon seemed to be very good as was the general ambience. The ride, however was something else. I don't know if it was the stock or the track but both the c2c trains we rode on were bad riders. Worse than the old slammers they replaced to my mind. That aside another enjoyable trip to the coast was had. At Shoebury a bit more photting was done and while I sat and enjoyed a couple of bread rolls the others trotted off to have a look at the MOD site close by.


By this time I was beginning to droop and get bad pains in my joints and I was glad to get on board the London bound train. The others wanted to do the leg via Dagenham Dock [which I originally intended as well] but I did not feel up to it so I said I would stay on and go to Fenny Street direct. They shook hands with me and departed at Pitsea minus 20 stone of rubbish.


All-in-all a very very enjoyable day. Thanks lads for relieving my boring life for a while. I much enjoyed your company and I hope you did mine. However next time there is an RUK meet that I attend it'll have to be one that stays in one place or at least does not involve too much walking about. I do have a fancy to do the whole DLR and Croydon Tramlink at some point but when remains to be seen.


Once again boys thank you very much for your company. I thoroughly enjoyed it and seeing old freinds and making new was a real pleasure.


 
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tubenutter

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Me too Bob -- I too would like to cover the whole DLR and Croydon Tramlink -- perhaps we could make a meet of it or something.

Thanks for organising the NLL & C2C -- I really enjoyed meeting everyone including yourself.

Thanks again.

Jonny (that's my name, btw)
 

Dennis

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Was indeed very enjoyable; - good to meet some new faces and get some new line. Thank you to Bob for organising this. :)
 
H

HR2

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Was indeed very enjoyable; - good to meet some new faces and get some new line. Thank you to Bob for organising this. :)
Actually Dennis it gives me immense pleasure to set up something if I am capable. In this instance I had assistance from several other guys as well so thanks to all. The bane of my life is boredom but also I cannot get around fast anymore so I feel a bit of a burden to all you able bodied chaps.

This DLR/Tramlink thing is something I would like to do as part of possibly another weekend [can be a weekday if you like] in which I would do the DLR/Tramlink on the Saturday and a tube bash on the Sunday [works permitting] WSX seems to have a desire to bash on the tube and I know a couple of others who would like the DLR thing. So ideas as to time a feasblity would be welcome.

P.S If some of you would have trouble staying in London for the weekend this little place is VERY good >>

http://www.crestfieldhotel.co.uk/ It does everything it says on the label. Possible a double/triple rooms for one night may be the answer. Let me know for DEFINITE within 14 days and I can arrange a booking. Don't worry if you say to can come and then can't as payment is not made until you check out AFTER your stay. The quality of this place is extremely good as room and bed linen are changed daily and cleaning is performed as well. There are lockable facilities in the rooms for valuables too to which the occupier holds the key during the stay.
 
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