Techniquest's Irish Trekker, 29th March - 2nd April 2012

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Techniquest, 8 Apr 2012.

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  1. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Hi all,

    A fair bit later getting this done than I had originally intended, but hey ho. I'll be finishing it tomorrow, hopefully, so here comes the first bit of my most excellent Irish adventure:

    29th March 2012 - Irish Trip Day 1

    At long last, the wait is over! Seems like forever ago since I booked the time off, flights and Travelodges! Some reasonable amount of sleep was managed before rising 15 early at 0715 or so. Mum cooked me up an awesome breakfast, and I watch the latest Air Crash Investigation before finalising de-rancification. YJ58 CFG is the chariot of choice this morning, a nice change from the now-usual MCV Evolution and Optare Solo combination I'm used to on my commuting. This one's a lowie too, so I'm happy with it producing as I'm still a long way off getting it cleared for the magical thou. Weather gen this morning is that it's a sunny day with hardly any clouds in the sky. Can't wait for the flight this afternoon, it'll be my first solo flight. That is, the first one I've travelled on my own. Done a fair number years ago before I had an interest with family and on school trips, so bring it on! I'm doing my trip report in my notebook vice A4 book this time as I'm rather restricted on just how much I can take in my bag (55cm tall, 40cm wide and 20cm deep, 10kg weight) on Ryanair, so I've had to leave a few of my books at home. As it turned out, this was a good choice, evidenced later in the report. 282.5 miles on this bus by the time I alight, need to get it in more often! We arrive at journey's end at 0956, 4 down, and it's coffee time!

    Good thing I've allowed bucket loads of time to get to Bristol, the 1010 to Cardiff Central is 18 down due to a train fault, with the 1033 to Milford Haven started from Shrewsbury vice Manchester Piccadilly today. 150256 produces on the 1010 to Cardiff, shame it's a dud 'un but I need a lot of mileage off this one, so another 44m34c is welcome! As it turned out, it was the first of many noisy trains on the bash, which I definitely wasn't complaining about! I've not had this 150 since September 2005, which surprised me somewhat! In my first year at Asda Hereford, I see I've clocked up 7,340.2 miles on buses! Taking out leisure miles, that's probably around 7,100 commuting miles, which is a considerable amount. We arrive into Newport's platform 1 after the usual waits at both Maindee North and West at 1118, 17 down. 67003 came through light engine towards Canton, and 143605+142077 arrived and left on an unknown ECS move. 150259 was on the 1120 Cardiff to Holyhead, 175 availability must be low today! 43023+43070 were observed on the 1028 Swansea to Paddington and 158961 was noted coming from Portsmouth too. Saw that in Wessex Trains days, although no doubt this one will be a significantly different formation. 158956 turns up on the 1130 Cardiff to Portsmouth to get me to Bristol.

    Been a long time since I last went to Bristol Temple Meads! 66302 was noted on that new container train at 1154 as we passed Severn Tunnel Junction, I'd forgot about that one. Another DRS-liveried but working on a Freightliner coal train was noted after Pilning, couldn't ID it though. Time for lunch, and I was surprised to be hungry enough for two ham rolls. Arrival into Temple Meads is at 1216, 2 up. 153373+377 were noted on an ECS move, as was a 150 in platform 5. First Bristol's 69507 takes me onwards to Bristol Airport on route A1, and just 24 minutes later my phone's received a bit of charge but I couldn't get the WiFi to work :( First visit to Bristol Airport and I'm impressed with the place. Security was a breeze, and during the wander I photted Ryanair's EI-EPH from the departures area. G-ECOD (flybe) is also photted. More craft were noted, including my first Easyjet craft, as I wait at gate 13. Glad I was ready for a quick trip to the gate, loads of people behind me! And so I board EI-DPW and choose seat 8A to be close to the engines on this Boeing 737-800. We leave on time at 1510 and arrive 5 up at 1605 at Dublin's arrivals building. I'd been warned the walk to the exit was long, it sure is!

    Absolutely loved the flight, especially the take off! We flew over South Wales for the first part of the flight, which was confirmed when I saw the afternoon Fishguard to Rosslare ferry. Was fun trying to work out where we were! The trolley eventually came around and I chose to splash out on a coffee as it had been several hours since my last one (just realised that had been in Hereford!), only a few minutes after I got it we had to start getting ready to land! It was so hot that I almost burned my tounge, Goodness knows how I drunk it all before I got off the plane! The fresh air was most welcome when we arrived. I'd received gen on which bus to get from my sister Belinda before I had left the airport, just as well since my phone wouldn't recognise any networks. €2.65 got me to O'Connell Street on route 16A, much better than the 747 at €6 single or €10 return! It's a 50 minute journey by the looks of it though, and only 17 minutes into it as I write this! Didn't know First ran buses over here, noted an Aircoach service with First on it to my surprise as we went down the N1. We finally get to Drumcondra, noted when I saw a Tesco mentioning this fact. Seems to have taken forever! Eventually we arrive at O'Connell Street at 1715, having left the airport at 1629, and I meet Belinda up here. We spend some time in town before getting the DART to Sandymount, my first trip on DART for some years! Some 29000 Class members are noted before we join 8636 from Connolly for a 10 minute journey. €3.10 for a day return, which I consider a tad expensive.

    After having a meal at her flat, I return to the station and join 8313 on another DART service back to Connolly, again 10 minutes long. After arriving at 2038, I needed to get a drink from the Spar opposite Connolly station. I eventually make up my mind what to get for the lengthy journey to Swords and miss the next bus on route 41 by a couple of minutes. Great, the 2115 bus it will be then. At least it gave me time to spot some trams as the bus stop on Lower Abbey Street was right next to the line. 05-D-10422 takes me up to Swords and I cover the majority of route 41 during my trip to Swords. I get my notebook updated and see that I hadn't written down the reg number of my first Dublin Bus bash! D'oh! It's been a long day so I'm keen to get to the Travelodge now, and I'm amazed that I've already spent something like €45 in notes, not including the change in my pocket, in just the first afternoon of the bash! €2.65 for a single to Swords was amazing value in my eyes, considering the trip's well over 10km. So then, the day's review:

    Pretty good all in all. My first solo flight was enjoyable, the travel to/from the airports was good and nice to see Belinda again, it's been quite a long time! Gonna have to be more careful with my money though on this trip, only €50 left after taking out the money for the Trekker ticket (€110 in 2012, was €100 last year)! I could use an ATM of course but I don't fancy that! Score for the day of 8/10, and some stats to round up day 1 of 5:

    Day 1 mileage: 75 miles and 74 chains by rail, and according to Flightdiary it's about 206 miles as the crow flies from Bristol Airport to Dublin Airport, so grand total excluding buses of 281 miles and 74 chains.
    Highest mileage on one train: 44 miles and 34 chains on 150256
    Lowest mileage on one train: 2 miles and 47 chains on both legs of the DART
    Bargain of the day: Finches sparkling orange, a bottle of 500ml of it was just 99c from Spar opposite Connolly.
    Rip-off of the day: The coffee on the flight, €3 for a less than satisfactory coffee.
    Gricer's Tip (new stat, based on experience of the day, will be something useful for cranks): If staying at Dublin Airport 'Swords' North Travelodge, route 41 will get you there in just a few minutes (probably 5, more during busy times). Ask for Pinnock Hill Roundabout, although beware crossing the road as it's a case of running over when it's quiet. When I went it was around 2200 so super quiet but be warned!
     
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  3. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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    I wouldn't buy on board with the airlines, captive audience means high prices!

    I discovered too late that the First coach stopped outside my hotel! the 747 though meant a walk from Busarias (not that I minded too much!)
     
  4. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Aye, as will probably be mentioned in day 5's write-up I was going to get a drink on the return flight but decided not to in the end. Anyway, I know I'm not going to have time to do all of the trip's write-up as originally predicted today, so I may have to do day 4 and day 5 later in the week. So let's crack on with day 2, day 3 should be live later on:

    30th March 2012 - Irish Trip Day 2

    The journey last night to the Travelodge went quite quick in the end, much better than the journey into town had gone but that's probably because I had more of an idea this time where I was. Eventually managed to get a decent night's doss, and my alarm at 0530 was quickly dismissed with some less than pleasant language! The phone's alarm wakes me at 0600 and I know I've got to get up. A quick coffee was devoured whilst getting everything chucked back into the bag and make my way to the bus stop. 05-D-10424 takes me along route 41 to Lower Abbey Street for another €2.65, and I must say the new Terminal 2 building at the airport looks well swish! After a 35 minute journey, we arrive in town and I make my way leisurely to Abbey Street's Luas stop, no more than 2 minutes walk from the bus stop I got off at. 3008 takes me to Heuston on a 9 minute ride, just as well as I need time to get photos and my Trekker ticket. It had cost me €3.10 for my day return on Luas, which seemed expensive at the time but I was still getting used to the difference between Euros and sterling. I see there's a lot of track I didn't know about to Saggart and from Sandyford to Bride's Glen too, looks like I'll be busy on Luas one day! Glad I wasn't walking to Heuston though, it's quite a way so well worth every cent of that fare.

    After I ask where the ticket office is, I get my Trekker ticket without difficulty for €110. "Wow that's expensive" I hear some of you saying, but trust me it's not. When I looked at how much that was in sterling before the trip, it was around £84. For four days of travel at any time, that's actually one helluva bargain. Especially when you see just how much some of the day returns are, some of which I noted in my notebook. I join 22012+22005 at platform 3 on the 0730 to Westport, photting 22010 on platform 2. We leave on time for a 3 hours and 25 minutes journey, and I see on the PIS "Next station: 65.4km" somewhere soon after Heuston. An interesting idea, quite like it. We storm through the commuter stations on the outermost tracks, which I thought was strange as I assumed the centre roads would have been quicker. A 201 Class loco, 227, is noted on a Dublin-bound train, and I see plenty of 22000 Class 'Rotem' DMUs passing, shame I can't ID any of them! €2.95 gets me a coffee and a Cadbury's Snack from the trolley, and I see hot food available on the menus handed out. Hmm, interesting, although I think I'll wait until Westport for that. 218 is also on Cork services today, 220 having been seen on the 0800 from Heuston to Cork too. My initial reaction to the Rotems was that they sound a bit like 185s, and that the seats are far superior.

    Weather gen, quite overcast and VASTLY different to the really hot weather that we had during the rest of the week. Loop usage is noted during the trip as the new Irish Quail may eventually be released and I'd like to know which side we used. Won't bore anyone with the details on those though, that much can stay in my notebook. I had wondered why some services don't call at Clara, and I see why when we get there, as it only has one platform. Other services and freight that cross trains calling there would obviously use the other side but unable to call. I didn't see it mentioned in the Westport timetable, but on Fridays all 6 cars continue through to Westport (just as well, judging by the amount of passengers boarding on the return journey), rather than the front 3 continuing to Galway after Athlone. As I write onwards, there's still 1h18m to go on this journey, and I really hope there's something to do in Westport for the 2h20m before my return journey is due to leave! Time for another coffee, €2.25 on its own. I'll admit it now, I'm a bit bored on this move, probably because I need proper food and not just the hot cross buns I had got yesterday! Castlerea comes up and I'm looking at the timetable, fortunately I spot a freight in the other side of the loop so quickly jump out and see what looks like a white loco on the front (since determined it must have been an 071 Class) of the container train. IE's GoRail magazine had a short article in it about freight so I knew it used this line, one reason why Ballina took my fancy so as to see the freight terminals there.

    If Athenry to Clairemorris ever re-opens, I'll combine it with a trip to Ballina I reckon. I'd do it today, but services are so infrequent up here that it's pointless trying without a LOT of festering and getting back to Dublin at some awful time. 58 minutes to go! 071 Class number 088 is seen at Ballyhaunis on a ballast train. Nice to finally highlight some more routes in the Baker, this part of my atlas has been empty for so long it's unreal. 223 is on a container train at Clairemorris, not the sort of loco I'd expect to see on a freight train! No more loops to go now, and I see a line going off to the north after the station but no idea where to. The Baker shows part of the route to Manulla Junction as double track, definitely not the case so a note is added to reflect this. Of all places, we have some signalling problems in the Manulla Junction area. For those of you who haven't ventured this far out, it's a bit like Georgemas Junction, just without the loop. 2720 and 2721 are on the 1032 shuttle to Ballina, and we leave 6 down. I wonder if Ballina would have been the better option to be honest, as memory tells me the 2700 Class is being withdrawn. Bit late now! Felt like forever festering at Castlebar, no idea why we sat around for so long. Pointlessdelay.com! We arrive eventually on the right hand side at Westport at 1057, 2 down. 081 is seen waiting for loading to finish on its timber train, and I didn't think to ask when it would be leaving. Think I'm going to regret that...I give up looking for a bus stop and have a wander around the town, after stopping off at the nearby Tesco for some ham, tiger rolls, chocolate doughnuts and some cherry cola. Bags were 22c, no ta! Every inch of room in my bag has been used now though!

    I do some gift shopping for my other sister Francesca, although my brother is impossible to find anything for! The bus stop was eventually found, the bus to Ballina was at 1010 then at 1545 with a change at Castlebar. Oh well, no chance of getting that branch in without getting to the Travelodge at silly o'clock then! I end up at Rings coffee shop where, surprise surprise, I get a coffee €1.80. A seat outside is deemed better than one inside, so I get my notebook out and update this trip report. After festering here for a bit, as it's only 1203 as I write this, it was back to the station to start on my lunch. Funds are starting to run low now, never expected that when I got my €205 for the trip! I hadn't taken into account buying gifts, the bus fares, the Luas fare or the DART fares before the trip and seriously underestimated how much food/drink I'd need. The MNR's diesel gala is starting to look like a much cheaper option after all, but that said there was no new track to have. I get a phot of the bridge that formerly carried the line westwards, from what I can establish around the town probably to Newport. I discover the timber train isn't due to leave until after we do, and a couple more photos are got before I find my seat and devour my lunch. The day return to Dublin was discovered to be €38. Oh, and that 1010 bus was Mondays and Thursdays only, with the other one being at 1500 according to the poster at the station. Time to decide where to bail from this train...

    Portarlington is eventually settled on and that lunch was flipping marvellous! The doughnuts can wait, need something for later! A passenger further up the train gets on my nerves with the looping of the same couple of electronic melodies. Good grief it got in my head, and it features as the sound of the video clip of our departure from Westport. When I eventually get my own laptop fixed so as to put it all on YouTube, you'll see what I mean! He eventually started playing a dodgy copy of Contraband, and I see what I thought was a KM-post (I didn't know it was a milepost until Sunday) of 161 at Westport, so I assumed it was 100 miles. No idea where it's measured from though. 2710+2709 are on the next Ballina train now, didn't expect that to change! 223 is on a container train again at Clairemorris, and that moron's electronic crap is back on. I hear it above my MP3 player when it was between tracks, so glad I had my own music! 3 down now, no doubt due to the amount of norms boarding and flapping over seat reservations which weren't working. I see IE haven't mastered that yet either! My +5 at Portarlington is in jeopardy at the moment, which doesn't amuse me. This cherry cola from Tesco is well nice, no doubt the same stuff as in the Asda bottles mind. Which reminds me, why the seemingly impossibility of getting Dr Pepper in Ireland? I didn't find any until I saw it in a small shop at Connolly on day 5, and the range of Fanta is just limited to orange only. What a strange way of doing things!

    The track to Athenry is noted as being there still at Clairemorris, with the line gated off a short way down the line. Going to take a lot of doing to get it useable again though! 079 is on a northbound container at Ballyhaunis. 5 down now, lovely...088 still in its same spot from earlier, photted again in the vain hope it'll come out better than last time. If the delay is maintained at Tullamore I think I'll revise plans at bail at Heuston instead. 57 minutes to do what I thought was 40km, actually 40 miles from what I can tell. 3 down again and we have a 3 minute layover at Athlone. Bet we're still late from there...22015+22053 are crossed at Roscommon on the 1230 Heuston to Westport. I miss the way we do things over here with the various classes of DMU (eg, 150xxx, 158xxx), none of the DMUs over here (or the locos for that matter) carry their full numbers on the front. A lot of time researching class numbers and so forth will have to be done on my return! An 'IE' prefix will be required me thinks though, otherwise I'll be getting these Rotems mixed in with LU's 'S' stock!

    Noted earlier those 2700 Class units have had their corridor connections removed, originally thought to be only on a pool of those for Ballina trains. Been a long, long time since heart-of-wessex and I did a pair (or was it a trio?) of 2700s up from Rosslare Europort to Connolly, over 7 years I think! Despite arriving 2 up at Athlone's platform 1, thus giving us 5 minutes here, this wasn't enough and we leave 1 down. Noted some 2800s as well as 2720+2721 in the Athlone area, 2813's blind was set to Cobh! The doughnuts are finally started on, and although nice enough, they're inferior to the monsterously awesome ones from Sainsburys! The journey back to civilisation has been better than the outward journey I think, probably because I'm not hungry this time and got my MP3 player on. Didn't cross anything at Clara, so don't know why we had a 5 minute stop there. Still left 1 minute late, which boggled the mind! 22035 is seen on a Galway service at Tullamore, and I can't wait to alight at Portarlington. Mostly because the moody as anything girl opposite has spent nearly all of the journey from Castlebar coughing and spluttering all over the place, now I'm coughing! The trolley dolly started coming through about 9 miles from Portarlington, bit late for me! 075 is crossed on a northbound empty timber train at Geashill loop, and we finally reach Portarlington at 1604, 1 down.

    The plus was made easily, with time for photos and a bit of video. I've now changed my mind, the Rotems sound like 170s but without the howling fan (so similar to 175s then), in a 180-style body. The next train is also a pair of Rotems, 22054 and 22051, and there's no PIS on the train or platform to confirm it but I assume it's the Limerick train! Copy the UK day is it? 084 is noted on Portlaoise P-Way depot still in the old IE colours. The Intercity depot down the road had loads of Rotems in there but you couldn't really see any of them due to a wall being in the way. 2723+2726 were noted in silver Commuter livery at Milltown Crossing, also carrying the UIC (?) style numbering. You know the one, the one that would take up an entire line in your notebook on its own. Don't know what the name of it is, UIC came to mind. Much of the journey has been spent finishing the doughnuts and deciding on tomorrow's moves. It's all going to fall to the Limerick to Waterford trains, the timetable for which I don't have yet. We arrive 5 minutes up to my surprise, and amongst the 2700 Class and a 2800 I see 071 on a freight in the Limerick station area.

    I finally get the timetable for the Waterford trains, I can now plan moves with some sort of confidence. Just gotta make sure I get the 1850 off Limerick Junction tomorrow as 1) it's the last train to Waterford and 2) that line doesn't run on Sundays, so no backup option for getting it on this trip otherwise! The PIS works on 22004 on the 1800 to Limerick Junction, and I see it's about 31km for this journey, no wonder it takes 27 minutes! I had hoped for a 2700, having had one pass us at Kyle Crossing earlier on a shuttle alas it's another Rotem. Should be a loco-hauled train next, good as I'm bored of Rotems! Like that they have power sockets though, incredibly useful. Not had a need for them today, having had everything charged up last night. If I'd had my phone working, I'd have no doubt used them though. And that's when I realise I could have played Angry Birds on it when I was bored earlier, d'oh! Arrival at t'Junction is at 1828, 1 down into p3. 2718+2717 are on the 1850 to Waterford, and I film 218 leaving on a Cork service. 232 is on the 1730 Cork to Heuston, and we leave 2 down from Limerick Junction. About time I got on a loco-hauled (or in this case pushed) train, shame I wasn't over here for the loco-hauled stuff to Limerick, Galway and Tralee. Alas, those finished over 5 years before this trip :(

    The atlas looks a lot better now it's been updated with the rest of the coverage from today, hopefully tomorrow's bashing will produce similar good results! Starting to get quite tired now, been a long day on just 5 hours sleep. Only two more moves to go, but whilst I've got time I get the day's review written up. We finally get to the 4-track section at 2012 at Hazelhatch and Celbridge, so won't be long now! By some measure this journey, beyond Portarlington at least, has been the fastest for many hours! Arrival into Heuston's p4 is at 2022, 6 up and 12 hours and 52 minutes after I left here this morning! 224 appeared to be on the 2030 to Cork, and I note some trams before getting on 4012 from the terminal platform out of Heuston. Subway was my saviour opposite Connolly station, and €3.70 got me a 6" version of my usual turkey, ham, cheese and BBQ sauce sub. 29017 was noted here, as was 29020 on a Pearse train. DARTs 8115, 8113, 8114 were filmed leaving for Howth with the back end of 8134, 8135, 8132 leaving for Bray. 29010 also seen for Pearse. I join 29021 for my last train of the day to get to Navan Road Parkway. Love the 29000 Class, they sound like an agressive 185 on steroids! Doubt I'll like my alarm at 0615 mind. A great day which has almost made my €110 worth already, as a day return from Limerick to Dublin was €58! After just a 9 minute walk, I'm at the Travelodge and call home to let them know of my current location, then it's time to chill out. So then, the day's review:

    Pretty good for track and mileage, with 5 new shacks in the book. Some of it's been dull, although not as dull as, say, a Chiltern 165 on the Aylesbury to Princes Risborough line! It's just the journey times that are so long I guess. The fester at Westport was a bit dull, although it's a nice town. Been there, done that now though! With plenty of new sights (still not totted them up yet, got a lot of writing the fleets up to do still as I type this) and haulages (still need to tot them up too), I'm scoring the day at 8/10. Finally then, some stats to round off the day's write-up:

    Day 2 mileage: 497 miles and 35 chains :D
    Highest mileage on one train: 165 miles and 25 chains on 22005+22012
    Lowest mileage on one train: 1 mile 40 chains on 3008
    Best bit: Tough to call, but I'd say finally getting to Westport wins.
    Worst bit: The long wait for departure at Westport
    Bargain of the day: I'm going with the food from Tesco, particularly those tiger rolls. So tasty for the money!
    Rip-off of the day: The coffee on board the trains, rather expensive for GNER-style (RailGourmet use them all over the place, but I always remember them especially from GNER!) cups of not good stuff. Now if it had been a cup of coffee FGW-style, I'd have been celebrating!
    Gricer's Tip: Unless you're lucky, you'll have a long wait in Westport so you'll need to get supplies. Tesco is virtually right next to the station. Cross the road and walk down the steps on your right hand side, you can't miss it. Best off here really as everywhere in the town centre was crowded on my visit and not cheap. Rings coffee shop was good for coffee though.

    Yes I did forget the Best Bit and Worst Bit stats for day 1 :oops:
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Alrighty then, let's crack on with day 3, following an unexpected need to be away from the laptop for a while:

    31st March 2012 - Irish Trip Day 3

    A relaxing evening turned into about 5.5 hours of sleep, having watched some of The Million Pound Drop Live, Rude Tube and The Mad Bad Ad Show on Channel 4. 0600 came and I wondered what on Earth the noise was when I first heard it, realising that it was my phone's alarm. With next to nowt on TV bar the news (I see enough of that when I'm at home!), I decide to add some cold water to my coffee to make it drinkable quicker, so I could try for the 0624 to Maynooth, the first train of the day from Navan Road Parkway. Yes I could have stayed in bed until 0630 and got the first Dublin-bound train at 0722, but that would be less mileage, less haulages and less shacks. I leave at 0613 and the walk having taken 9 minutes last night it's going to be tight! I arrive at 0622 and have time to see a day return to Maynooth is €5.80. The first train is thankfully a little late, but we have a +9 at Maynooth so should be fine. 29017 works the train and even to my tired ears it sounds good. I note the milepost at the end of Navan Road Parkway to be 3.75, hopefully that'll help. A slight rollback at Leixlip Confey suggests a bit of a gradient here, and we indeed use the crossover into platform 1 as hoped.

    29017 works the 0658 to Dublin as expected. The doors opening sound is the same as the one for doors closing over in the UK, so imagine my confusion when I first heard it! I see the Phoenix Park Travelodge is within a stone's throw of the line, if only it hadn't been for the trees I could have spotted from my window! My stomach's going a bit nuts on me, going to have to sort that out ASAP. Somehow doubt I'm going to make the 0800 off Heuston as it's already 0730 and a need for food is going to slow me down. Got nowt in my bag this time either, so need to learn to get emergency supplies in! 3008 takes me from Busaras to Heuston after I get a sausage baguette from the shop/deli next to the tram stop, as the next tram had been several minutes away. €2.90 for it seemed a good price. A day return from Dublin to Cork was €71, so already I've made my money's worth and more combined with my fares with yesterday! 3026 was photted in Magnum Infinity livery. Coffee time then, and it's off to Supermacs for €1.70, quite good stuff for that money. I have plenty of time before the 0900 to Cork, and there's plenty of time at Portlaoise off the 0830 to there from Dublin, so since there's a red pen move available I'm off on 22039!

    During the fester at Portlaoise, I see in the waiting room a painting of Hagley Hall, certainly not something I expected to see on these shores! 220 and 134 were noted on Inchicore depot, had forgot about it! 224 had been noted on a Dublin-bound train near Park West and Cherry Orchard. I still consider doing the line from Ballybrophy to Limerick today, the reason why I'm flapping about it is that it's a candidate for possible closure. If I had more time I'd do it on this trip, alas this is not an option. Currently, if all goes to plan I'll only have to return for the following: Mallow > Tralee, Athlone > Galway, Athenry > Limerick, Killonan Junction to Ballybrophy and Manulla Junction to Ballina. Still at least two days of bashing mind! Arrival was 5 up at Portlaoise to my surprise, and the Rotem is filmed leaving ECS for the Intercity depot down the road. 233 is photted and filmed arriving on the 0900 from Dublin to Cork and I find a seat near the front. On board, I note it's pretty busy and then see someone with a GPS device. Yeah, he's a crank all right. I ask someone if something special's going on and he tells me the Irish Railway Record Society are holding a special farewell trip for the 2700 Class from Ballybrophy to Limerick then to Waterford. 2801+2805 are seen on the 1005 from Ballybrophy to Limerick, and I'm well disappointed that I didn't know about this special beforehand. We leave 4 down due to the amount of people and stock getting off, alas I must continue towards Cork.

    Coffee time after Thurles, and I get one of those coffee and Snack deals for €2.95 again. Running out of change, I don't like that! The leaflet on the new Leap card is read, basically like an Oyster card with a €5 deposit and needs to be topped up with €5 before the first use. As I type this, I wish I'd got one now on this visit as I'll need it again but I must remember to try and get one next time. Leap singles being cheaper than cash makes it worth having for Dublin Bus at least, not sure how a day return on DART would work yet though. 2724+2715 are noted at Limerick Junction with the 1047 to Limerick, and we're back onto new territory. Belting along too, so different to yesterday! How we went from 1 down at t'Junction to 5 down off Charleville I don't know. 072 is on a train of autoballasters there, photted. I decide to do Tralee if it's anything non-Rotem, as I can always do the line when I visit the area again for the nearby preserved railway. I get ready to alight just in case, leaving my camera on the seat which thankfully a fellow passenger pointed out. So grateful I was it was immeasureable. Considerable clag for a 201 is noted somewhere before Mallow.

    It's a Rotem, but I'm off anyway as I plan to fly to Cork or Galway on my next visit so I'll leave Mallow to Cork and the branches for that trip. Hopefully I'll get the gen on that preserved railway when I'm in Tralee too. I join 22006 on the 1130 to Tralee via Killarney, and I speak to a member of staff on board (Dr Michael Grimes PhD, I've got his business card) who advises me that the Tralee and Dingle Railway is currently unoperational, due to the engine "being in bits". Massive disappointment, but I do also learn of a loco on the Listowel and Ballybunion (Lartigue Monorail) that's pretending to be/acting like a steam loco. Quite interested in that! I see Dr Grimes's photo collection from places like Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Ecuador, Poland, Czech Republic and of his HUGE collection of buses at Cork Transport Museum. Some excellent photos seen which has got me wanting to do more foreign trips! 22008 is crossed at Rathmore on the 1115 Tralee to Mallow. Glad I did this line today as I met Dr Grimes and we're going through some nice scenery. Quite a steep climb from Killarney I see, and we reverse in platform 1. We're 7 down from there, cutting majorly into the turnaround time at Tralee! Dunno why I was expecting a racket up the hill out of Killarney, next to no noise heard up it. We arrive eventually at Tralee at 1304, 6 down. Just enough time to get a coffee from the kiosk opposite the station and get some photos and video before rejoining 22006 on the 1315 to Mallow.

    2607+2608 are observed on a siding making a racket, if they don't work out of Tralee until the 1715 to Cork then they're going to be wasting a lot of fuel! The timetable seems ambitious in this direction too, with various amounts of delay all the way to Mallow. The +49 at Mallow for Cork will be utilised for a food move I think, it's been a long time since I ate anything substantial! We cross 22008 at Rathmore as expected. Eventually we reach Mallow at 1447, 7 down having been as late as 11 down earlier. 229 is photted from the footbridge over the road and I end up at McDonalds for a large Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal and a coffee. €6.90 and that's my last note broken! I wait until I return to the station to devour my meal before I encounter something unusual. One of the stalls at the gents was locked out of use due to a snake being in the bowl! Never come across such a thing before! I join 227 on the 1300 Heuston to Cork and we leave 3 up according to the timetable, which apart from railtours is a record for me! Someone earlier had got a coffee and left it on the train, what a waste of coffee and €2.25! We arrive after a belter of a trip at 1548, 7 up, and I get photos of 2613+2610 and 2606+2615 as well as 227.

    2609 is joined on the 1600 to Cobh, unfortunately I will not have time to do both branches today. Something to return for at least. 2601, 2602, 2611, 2612 are noted on depot, and it has to be said that these are hellfire machines! Noisiest thing I've set foot on for some hours now! The run was fairly enjoyable through some nice scenery, and imagine my surprise when I saw what was on the other end of the train, 2716. Finally, a 2700 Class! I've since discovered this hybrid was formed after 2716 suffered collision damage on 3rd June 2000, and this machine was also most rateable! I see a milepost of 176.75 at Cobh, crikey I've come some way today! Two different platforms in the southbound direction were noted at Fota, interesting. 2610+2613 worked the 1630 to Cobh, and 2616+2605 were photted and filmed leaving on the 1715 Cork to Midleton. Didn't realise my train was a through train to Mallow until it was too late, needed a break for a drink and so forth anyway. The units on depot were photted as we arrived too, and I see a day return to Cobh was €7, so today's bashing would have cost €113 so far (the Tralee to Mallow day return was €38), and with the Limerick to Waterford fare later that fare is bound to be a lot higher. Virtually out of Euros now, most disappointed. I join 226 on the 1730 to Dublin as far as Limerick Junction, having noted plenty of B+Bs in the Cork station area. Must remember that for a future visit! Only one more move for the day now, crikey it's gone by fast!

    Time to bring out the Baker and get it back up to date, which didn't take too long and page 90 looks much better now I've done those bits. Mallow to Tralee as a gap would have looked awful, so I'm glad I did it as well as the line to Cobh. Something interesting was noted on the MK4s, a screen showing systems status and such like, which was of interest to me as it showed which coaches were in the set. Also above that was an odometer which read 1,735,661km when I saw it a bit before Charleville, wonder what it'll read at Limerick Junction. Sure would be useful for checking up on your km-age during a bash! 2 up from Charleville, having done the 15 miles from Mallow in 15 minutes. Maybe a different timetable is in force today, if so why not mention it? I get some Tayto crisps to eat, as it's been a few hours since my late lunch already and I'm well hungry. I get given a receipt from the trolley, first time I've had that on this trip. As I alighted at Limerick Junction, the odometer read 1,735,702 by the way. I join 2720+2721 on the 1850 to Waterford, which I discover later on was the same pair used on the special from Ballybrophy!

    I met up with a fellow enthusiast on the train and we spent the journey to Clonmel talking about trains both in Ireland and the UK. We encounter several minutes of delay at Keane's Points as 2722 gets out of our way, although where it had come from we didn't know. It was definitely 2700s heart-of-wessex and I did from Rosslare all those years ago, both from the page on Wikipedia and that horn sound, exactly the same as what woke us up several times during that trip! It's quite dark after Carrick-on-Suir, so I've not seen much scenery from there to Waterford but merr. As I've time, I write the day's review. We arrive at Waterford's platform 6 at 2036, 8 down. 221 was noted on a timber train in the yard, as were a load of Irish Rail MK3s. Fortunately, the father and son who were kinda into trains across the train from me were not far ahead of me in town so I got better directions that wouldn't get me lost. I leave them catch their bus from the waterfront as I walk on down the road. Less direct than the route I had wrote down, but I couldn't get lost at least! McDonalds next to the Travelodge was visited for a hamburger for €1 as I was in need of food (I hadn't eaten those crisps after all, too busy chatting earlier) that was hot. The walk had taken around 40 minutes all in all, not bad. Home is called to let them know I've arrived safe and sound then retreat to my room for a drink. An excellent day and the alarm is set for 0700, plenty early enough! It'll be the latest start to a day since Thursday, and an easy day of just 4 trains and a tram. Oh, and the single from Limerick was €24, so the day's bashing would have cost €135. The Trekker was €110 for four days, so I think the above demonstrates the excellent value of the Trekker! The Million Pound Drop Live is watched then footage reviewed before sleep commences. So then, the day's review:

    Excellent! A lot of track scored, a fair few new haulages, 7 new shacks and lots of mileage. Daniel (the guy who alighted at Clonmel) was welcome company, and finally getting a 2700 Class was excellent. Nice too to have a 2600 Class vehicle in the book it must be said. Bring on the morning, should be yet another great day for track and will take me from one end of the country to the other so long as I get the 0905 off Waterford! Score for the day of 9/10, and finally some stats:

    Day 3 mileage: 452 miles and 65 chains :D
    Highest mileage on one train: 94 miles and 39 chains on 233
    Lowest mileage on one train: 1 mile and 75 chains on 3008
    Best bit: Getting a proper pair of 2700 Class in for the first time in several years
    Worst bit: The rather annoying timetable causing delays on the Mallow to Tralee and back moves
    Bargain of the day: The coffee from the kiosk opposite Tralee station, not bad amount or taste for €1.50 and about the same amount as on the train!
    Rip-off of the day: The coffee on the train I'd say again
    Gricer's Tip: Getting to Waterford Travelodge is actually quite easy, despite it reporting it to be 2 miles from the station and a direct route as the crow flies having more changes of direction than anything. Come out of the station, cross the road and over the bridge. Cross the road again and turn left, keeping the river on your left. Follow this road past Reginald's Tower to the right and just keep going on. The Travelodge is by McDonalds which is on the left hand side. The walk took around 40 minutes, but this was a slow walk to begin with and could be done quicker.

    The rest will have to wait, as to be honest I'm starting to lose interest in typing all this up tonight. Days 4 and 5 will follow, even in small amounts at a time, soon.
     
  5. GM078

    GM078 Member

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    Same goes for onboard catering on Iarnród Éireann, prices have gone ridiculous since they outsourced the catering.
     
  6. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    I know, I spent a fortune on catering on the trains. If I'd have had more money I'd have spent even more no doubt!

    The prices needed to rise according to what I've been reading on IE, their losses were massive.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Alrighty then party people, I'll try and get day 4 typed up and not get distracted by the adverts for flights to Australia in the banners! Here we go then:

    1st April 2012 - Irish Trip Day 4

    After getting woken at something like 0325 by something, my alarms were not welcome at 0700 and 0705! The TV is switched on and I find something rather different to watch, Animaniacs! Seen it before but merr. After a coffee I still feel shattered and end up at McDonalds for breakfast. A bacon roll meal is had for €4.60 and I use the WiFi to go on Facebook for the first time since Thursday. Feeling much better for having eaten food, 33 minutes later I'm at the station after directing a couple to the Travelodge. Could have been done in 30 minutes, but I stopped on the bridge to get photos of the MK3s on depot. A few more photos are got before joining 22038 on the 0905 to Dublin Heuston. A single to Dublin was €28, although I had failed to keep an accurate running total of the total cost of the bash thus far. I note the numbers of the MK3s after we leave bang on time, and for the first time this week, I see the electronic seat reservations are working :shock:

    The Baker is updated with the rest of last night's coverage and is being updated as we go along this morning. Bored after Thomastown of the general noise of the train and the people on it, so out comes the MP3 player. Ahh, I was at the end of the Meteora album when we got back from Tralee yesterday. Reversal at Kilkenny is at platform 2, and the weather gen for today thus far is that it's fairly cloudy in places but with a decent amount of sunshine too. Another case of there seemingly not being enough time for the reversal here (6 minutes, including a 1 up arrival), as we leave after 8 minutes, so 2 down at 0950. I measure the distance, roughly, as 2 miles from Heuston to Connolly using the scale in the Baker, definitely not walkable in a reasonable time! I count my change, just €2.06 left so enough for a coffee from Supermacs with 36c change afterwards, so definitely need an ATM move later at Connolly!

    I see I'll need to re-do this line one day as the 0710 from Waterford is RA to Carlow, with just a call at Athy afterwards before Heuston, so therefore uses the Kilkenny avoiding line. The clouds are all but gone by Athy, much better than the forecast then! We originally left on time, but stopped to re-open the doors and let someone on. Not seen that happen since a time when 43177 had its VP185 back in 2005 and I recorded its sound on my MP3 player of the time, only for it to stop and let someone on before going again. At another point in the journey, I realise I'll be at the airport again in 26 hours' time, unbelievable! Even Concorde would struggle to keep up with the speed that the last few days have gone by at! Cherryville Junction and the new track for the morning is done with. I check my plans for the afternoon again, and consider bailing at Maynooth on the way back from Sligo rather than festering in Dublin, although it means getting to base as early as 2015, or 2130 if I go via Dublin. More mileage that way, hmm...083 and 219 were noted on Inchicore as was 2704. Couldn't get the rest, and I don my sunglasses for the first time since Thursday! Arrival at platform 2 at Heuston was at 1121, 4 up. Coffee time before joining 4004 to Busaras.

    It felt as if the sunshine had got everyone out and onto the tram, well busy compared to my other recent trips on the trams! I've got ages to kill yet, so I decide to do a filler move and get a required shack in at Grand Canal Dock. No idea if the Trekker is definitely valid on the DART, can't see why not though. 8635 takes me there and I have just 8 minutes there before I join 8107 back to Connolly. Another case on this train of stopping after departure to let someone on! The next train was 20 minutes behind us, so I'm glad I didn't carry on to the next winner shack at Sydney Parade as that would have been a tight plus for the Sligo train. Time for some food and drink to get through the 3 hours and 5 minutes journey to the north. I phot and film 207 leave on the 1300 to Belfast, having been to Subway opposite Connolly for a footlong version of my usual sub and a coffee for €6. Not terribly cheap but delicious! Coffee is only €1 here, I'll be taking advantage of that again! Back at the station I had expected a Rotem on the 1305 to Sligo, instead I'm treated to 29024+29017! I expect a broken Rotem is responsible for that, but I sure ain't complaining!

    The sunshine's disappeared now, much to my disappointment. I get busy reading the Railtours leaflet and I must confess, some of those tours do look interesting. I still can't find a train in the timetables (my pile of which resembles a pack of playing cards with the rubber band around them!) that does Connolly to Newcomen Junction or that line through the additional platform at Heuston around to Glasnevin Junction from the PSUL [no such routes showing these days in the PSUL these days - Ed]. I see Mullingar has a bay platform, although I see no obvious timetabled use for that. I hadn't expected it, but the trolley was indeed on this service and made an appearance at Longford. After which, I didn't see the trolley dolly again for some time. I had been surprised such a service existed on one of these trains, especially on a Sunday! I see in the Baker the Irish Narrow Gauge Trust (Cavan and Leithian) 3'0" line is at Dromod, but I didn't see much of it at all. The Baker doesn't suggest it's very long either, half a mile possibly? Page 99 now finished, at last! We leave Carrick-on-Shannon late due to traincrew chatter, but as we arrived with plenty of time to spare before the 1500 from Sligo arrived to cross us at Boyle, it was all good. The loop at Carrick is similar to that at Tisbury, with it being just beyond the station.

    I chat to the driver and trolley dolly at Boyle during the wait, and discovered those mileposts, which I had thought were km-posts, were indeed in miles and measured from Liffey Bridge. A fair ol' way back to Dublin then, 106.5 miles from Boyle! We cross a Rotem going to Dublin and unsurprisingly leave on time. There were two platforms at one point at Ballymote, a crossing loop now surplus to requirements or possibly a junction station many years ago? Still dunno what the block post status is about, that's Ballymote's use these days. Prep for alighting begins after Collooney and we arrive into platform 1 at Sligo at 1607, 3 up. The line to Sligo Quay is virtually non-existant now, with buffers a very short distance up the line. Overall the journey went by quite quickly! Tesco is found, thanks to asking a traffic warden (wouldn't normally expect to see a traffic warden working on a Sunday!) and I get some Sweeneys Irish bread, Irish pork luncheon meat, Value 12-pack variety crisps and a 2L bottle of Sunsip Cola for €3.36. Really liked the idea of 330ml cans of Guiness for €1.81, and was going to get some but decided I needed my remaining €11 for tomorrow. My backpack is jammed full to the extreme, as I refuse to pay 22c (around 18p I think in sterling) for a single carrier bag! Note to self, take one or two with you on the next bash!

    I return to the station, noting Men In Black 3 is coming soon in the cinema window. Can't wait to see that [25th May 2012 for a UK release apparently, just looked it up - Ed], it's been many a year since MIB2! I re-join 29024+29017 on the 1700 to Dublin and start devouring some food. Even on Sundays, a bus service to Ballina was noted, 1530 on Sundays and a few more departures on other days. Took me 7 hours and 2 minutes to get from the bottom of Eire to the top. Roughly speaking of course, to truely do trains all the way from the bottom to the top I suppose you'd have to do Cobh to Portrush, but merr. I also discovered at the Sligo bus station that there is an airport nearby, can't help but wonder where one could go from there [flybe and bmibaby are just two airlines I noted serving the airport when I was having a look recently - Ed]. According to the mileposts I noted, it's roughly 134 miles from Sligo to Connolly, no wonder it takes 3 hours and a bit! The Baker looks much better now on page 98 too, there's been some amazing progress this week! 29001+29020 are passed at Boyle on the 1505 from Connolly to Sligo.

    Quite a few people boarding at Carrick-on-Suir, mostly students from what I saw. Don't they get a good deal too, €20 gets them from Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Sligo or Wexford to Dublin and back! €18 saving on the Sligo day return fare at least and a massive €38 saving on the Limerick one! Saw more of that preserved line at Dromod, more there than I originally thought and it looked like it may have been in operation. Boo! We leave 3 down due to awaiting crew from the Rotem going north. And I must mention the connecting doors on the 29000s, aren't they flipping heavy! After Mullingar, the dreaded 25 minute slog to Enfield is up and that was boring on the way north! Thankfully it's soon over, and we're RA through Kilcock. Some morons were hiding up the embankment just before there, and whilst I don't know what they threw at the train it suddenly got a lot of blue stuff splattered all the way down the train. It was a fluid of some sort, but not moving along the window. Paint by the looks of it, and I feel sorry for the depot crew trying to get that off. I'm rather gratefully it wasn't a solid object mind, it would have been a very different story! A photo of the covering was got from inside the train and outside after alighting for the forum to decide upon [it'll be uploaded soon - Ed]. Many different mileages noted in the Dublin area, with at least 3 different figures noted. Confuuuuuuuuuuuuuused.com!

    We arrive 2 down at 2006, and it's a bit of a fester for the next train north to Navan Road Parkway, so I jump on 29028 on an insect leap to Dublin Pearse. There's supposedly a Connolly train coming up first, but as I expect that would involve a tight plus at Connolly to get to the right platform I'll be flagging it. I write up the day's review in the meantime, with the Maynooth train now due ahead of the Connolly one (which I assume was the late running one from Rosslare noted at Connolly earlier), and I see there was a lineside fire affecting DART services in the Kilinney area earlier. A couple of DARTs are noted and filmed at Pearse, and the Maynooth train keeps getting later and later. 3 minutes turned more into like 8 minutes eventually, the road finally being set was a welcome relief! I join 29028 again and we finally leave 7 minutes late, a delay that was continuous through the short journey to base. Another sandwich, some crisps and some more cola are devoured in the meantime, and as I write this into my notebook I'll be on the plane in 18 hours! Wish I had another couple of days to finish Eire off, but it's an excuse to fly over again one day! So then, the day's review:

    Pretty damn decent! A lot of required track in the book, no doubt a fair few new sights and certain of new haulages. Not getting a Rotem to and from Sligo was excellent, and some seriously beast 29000 mileage (268 at least from my count) is most welcome. I noted on Wikipedia when researching the fleets they're fitted with MAN engines, rather funky. Only two required shacks today, but focus was rightly on track and mileage. An amazing start to April, hard to believe I'm going home tomorrow! Finally then, some stats:

    Day 4 mileage: 389 miles and 44 chains :D
    Highest mileage on one train: 134 miles and 21 chains on 29024+29017
    Lowest mileage on one train: 0 miles and 70 chains* on 29028
    Best bit: Finally reaching Sligo after many years of looking at the gap in my atlas
    Worst bit: The boring stretch between Enfield and Mullingar
    Bargain of the day: I'd say that cola, only 55c and lasted me for ages. As will be noted in day 5's write-up (expected to be live tomorrow), I had to chuck away around a litre of it at the airport in the end!
    Rip-off of the day: Didn't really encounter anything like this, but in need of something I'll say luncheon meat in this case. Both sides of the Irish Sea I have the same problem with it, so I won't be buying it ever again...
    Gricer's Tip: Unless visiting Sligo for a reason other than gricing the line, you'll have little to do here in my opinion apart from drinking in the pub opposite the bus station (which is right next to the rail station). So to get supplies for cheap I suggest Tesco, no more than 5 minutes walk away. Leave the station and go through the bus station. Turn left here and cross the road, then cross the next one. Stay on the right hand side of the road and turn right by the DVD shop (Value Entertainment I think it was called), you'll see the car park and Tesco right ahead of you. If like my visit, you'll have 50 minutes between arriving and leaving Sligo, so more than enough time to get some supplies in.

    Day 5 then is expected to be typed up tomorrow. * = Mileage on a few of these leaps, mostly the ones to/from Docklands and M3 Parkway, are approximate based on measuring the distance in the Baker and reading it against the scale on the relevant pages.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2012
  7. GM078

    GM078 Member

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    The only occasion you're likely to see trains on the Connolly-Newcomen section is if the route through Drumcondra is closed for engineering work. The line is only directly accessible from platform 7 in Connolly. The odd railtour has covered it on occasion. As for Glasnevin Junction-Islandbridge Junction your best bit is a railtour, while some GAA specials, soccer specials, etc use it but it's not unknown for these to run to Heuston.


    I think it was originally put in on the assumption that there would be commuter services terminating at Mullingar, but these generally run to Longford. It's known as the 'Cavan Bay'. An steam charter used it last August but other than that it's rarely used.

    I take it you mean Carrick-on-Shannon (Carrick-on-Suir is on the Limerick Junction-Waterford line, where the ITG workshop is). The loop here was orginally in the station before it was removed. When they reinstated the loop in 2005 it was placed outside the platform. Wexford is a similar example, although in this case there was only ever one platform to begin with.
     
  8. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Ah right, many thanks for the gen on both the track and Mullingar.

    As for Carrick-on-Shannon, I did indeed mean that one. Bit of a major error there, I'll correct it in the main text now. Thanks for pointing it out.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Right then, before I get distracted with this, that and the other again this afternoon here comes the final day's write-up:

    2nd April 2012 - Irish Trip Day 5

    After a good 6 hours of sleep, it up to the alarms at 0630. Coffee time and I try watching Chuddington on one of the TV channels. Seems so bizarre, maybe it makes sense if you're a toddler. I leave at 0702 for the station, and although I planned my moves last night I'm going to go with the flow for the time being. I've missed my first planned move, the 0711 towards Dublin, anyway. Or at least so I thought as I just made it for that train, due to it being slightly late. 29002 takes me on the insect leap to Ashtown for the shack scratch, vice Docklands as that meant festering there for 23 minutes. No ta! I also wouldn't have got to see 22001 passing on the 0705 Connolly to Sligo either. The crossing gates are manual, not something I'd expect on a fairly busy line. 22019 passed ECS, another tick then! Time for some weather gen, it being overcast and a tad chilly. 29014 takes me on another insect leap for another shack scratch at Broombridge. I'm rather glad the Maynooth Commuter Line station upgrades are being done, this one is in dire need of doing. The photo of the station I took should prove that, the trip's photos are being uploaded to Flickr as I type this up, so expect a link soon. No PIS, no seats, no buildings, just insufficient shelters that have seen better days! Oh, 2 metal shapes trying to resemble a bench were noted after I wrote that, good thing it's a dry day!

    29009 takes to Docklands (this one having a +5, much better!), and I see that one must have left Docklands ECS as it sure wasn't there when I got there. Hopefully it didn't use platform 2. One branch down for the day, another to go. 29009 takes me back out of Docklands to M3 Parkway, the second of two branches I planned to do today. A new bay platform is being finished at Clonsilla, I wonder if that means services from M3 Parkway will terminate there in the future. Hansfield is not yet open, although it's pretty much ready to go now, including adverts in the shelters. Another underline in the atlas then as we go non-stop through there. Arrival is right time, and I note the PIS even details that we're using platform 1 at Docklands. I bail at Castleknock for a shack scratch, although I was so consumed with the Metro that I nearly forgot to get off! I'd discovered my Trekker is valid on DART services to Howth, I'll be doing that then later. heart-of-wessex may recall we were going to do that branch on the trip to Dublin many years ago, even highlighting it in the Baker ready, but then decided to bail early instead. Took me a long time to get the branch done! 29005 takes me forward to Connolly, and I noticed it was raining by the time we got to Drumcondra. First rain I've seen in ages!

    206 is noted on the 0935 to Belfast Central, and I join 8130 on a DART service to Howth. Progress was, shall we say, slow for a while but once the Enterprise and other services were well out of the way we really got going. 207 was noted on a Belfast to Dublin Enterprise as we arrived at Harmonstown. At Howth, I see platform 2 won't be used until 1725, might have to try for that one day. The return journey sees me in 8131 back to Connolly, and I note 8629+8532 in Emirates livery at Killester. The last 4 slices of bread are abandoned after finishing the meat off, that food did last me ages! I've got a hankering for a coffee now, my last one at the Travelodge was some hours ago now! A large one for €1.50 is had from Subway, an excellent price for the quality and amount. The 1105 to Sligo is leaving from platform 3, my last required platform at Connolly. 22003 is on it, and I'm sure that's a red pen move for me, so since I've some time yet I join for a leap to Maynooth where there's a good +5 for the 1140 to Pearse, which I'd get to Drumcondra for the route 41 bus to the airport. As it happens, the next train from Sligo to Dublin is due in first, so I get the red pen out again for 22041. The train's well busy, so I stay in the vestibule for the 30 minute journey. I decide it's high time I noted set formations for the 29000 and 22000 Classes in preparation for a bit of Wikipedia reading after I get home to write up some fleetlists. Should have done all that before I left, but hey ho.

    I realise during the trip back to Dublin it's only 2 months and 2 days until my ALR starts, best get some spending money saved up pronto, and decide the sleeper moves for that matter! Arriving right time gives me just enough time to get another coffee from Subway, another large one as I need to break a note to get change for the bus and I just love that coffee so much! Just before we leave Connolly on 29002 working the 1215 to M3 Parkway, Keane's 'This Is The Last Time' seems appropriate, as it's the last train I get on the Irish Rail part of my trip. I join Dublin Bus' 05-D-10424 on route 16A to the airport, which sounded familiar and sure enough, I had this one on Friday morning! After parting with €2.20 (the single was €2.15, but €2.20 was the closest I had, well worth the extra 5c) for a single to the airport, I find a seat upstairs on a well loaded bus. Good thing routes 16A and 41 are double-decker buses! By now, I start looking forward to the flight and hope for a winner. 99-D-560, a Volvo Olympian by the looks of it, was noted on route 41, envious! I head to security soon after arrival, and had to throw away about a litre of that cola from yesterday as I'd not drunk it and completely forgot about it. Good thing it was pointed out really then! I finally find a gift for Sebastian and I also treat myself to a little something.

    I go to the gate early, and panicked briefly after passing the Point of No Return that I'd mis-read the gate number, despite having checked numerous times that it was gate 217. I'd also gone past the bars, food areas and everything else. No dramas I think, there'll be something by the gate. Ha! Not even any coffee options here, I'm most frustrated and disappointed, as it was only around 1320. With my flight not being due to leave until 1500, you can imagine my outrage. A bottle of Diet Coke will have to do, and I devour some more of the crisps I had with me. I discover WiFi is free for this month apparently at the airport, so I try it out. Sure enough, it is and I go on Facebook. I'd forgotten my password for a while, but eventually get on there. I also discover I've 50 new e-mails since Thursday, took some getting through! I get a photo of BMI's G-MIDX (Star Alliance livery), as well as of EI-EBG after it arrived. I see Aer Lingus fly from here to Blackpool of all places! Although I'm going home with more Euros than I thought I would be (€9.02 as it turned out - I could have had that Guiness from Tesco or even a pint at the airport bar!), at least they're ready for next time!

    At 1423, our flight is announced as delayed on the screens, absolutely lovely. A lot of people are waiting for the flight now, so imagine everyone's annoyance when the gate changed to 220, then back to 217, only to change back to 220! By 1451, my patience is wearing thin, having been here for nearly 2 hours now (arrived at the terminal building at 1259)! Finally at 1457 the gate had settled to 220, but I was disliking the lack of explanation and staff to explain this. A farce with where the queue starts, where Priority Queuing starts and so forth began, with the DAA woman telling a fellow passenger "That's what happens when you fly with Ryanair". Very professional lady there, and I'd assume queuing controls and the changing several times of the gate would be more down to DAA. I get on the bus when boarding finally commenced at 1505, with two more bus loads following mine. I get on and select seat 9A, slightly closer to the engine this time. Another bus load, although not too many on it, come on! It's already 1520 and we're still loading. To quote my notebook "COME ON ALREADY!". Finally the doors are closed at 1526 and the pushback begins at 1530. The pilot comes on to explain the delay was caused by French air traffic control strikes, would have been nice to know that before.

    At 1541, we are FINALLY in the air. It's very cloudy today, so very different to the flying experience on Thursday. Couldn't resist getting a snap of the view of the clouds out of the window. I consider getting a drink having finished my Diet Coke a while ago, however I change my mind when it takes all day to serve the other passengers ahead of me so I don't expect to finish my drink before alighting. Glad I didn't bother when I saw how much the limited soft drinks range was, outrageous! At 1601 we're 85 miles from Birmingham, and the pilot gives me some weather gen too. Already looking forward to the next flight, hopefully less of a farce than this one was! After we come through the clouds, I see a triangle of railway lines and struggle for a while to decide where it was. I eventually find some UK rail knowledge buried in my head and recall it would be Hatton. Soon after I think we're over the WCML, but what I had assumed was a 350 (bearing in mind we were still up high) would have been a 4-car Chiltern working. I also catch a glimpse of Coventry airport, it's tiny! We touch down at 1624, and we're at the gate at 1629, 24 minutes late having recovered 6 minutes from our 30 minute late departure. After stepping onto the tarmac off EI-DPD, I couldn't resist raising my arms into the air and going "Hello England!" :D

    Back on the UK rail network after a ride on the AirRail line, having counted my lucky stars I didn't have to wait for my luggage to arrive from the plane, I make it onto 221138 on the late running 1638 to Manchester Piccadilly. Seems so strange to have my NREA out again now, but nice to be on home territory. BHX is my 5th airport for flying into/out of (having done Cardiff and Gatwick years ago) now, with a very high number of airports to scoop in yet! I sure ain't missed the Voyagers though, what a way to kick off my return to England! Coffee time, having not had a drink for some time now, and I get a medium coffee from Costa for £2.20. Ahhh, nice to use sterling again, it must be said! The 1719 to Hereford is formed of 5 coaches in the form of 170635 and 170512, even so it's very busy on here. I managed to get a seat to my surprise, and that coffee went down well! I had been worried I'd not make this train home earlier, so it was also acting as a stress reliever. I'd probably only just be leaving the airport if I'd taken a case with me, assuming it hadn't got lost or broken of course! Nice bit of Rotem (sorry, Turbostar - they both sorta sound the same!) mileage home. Can't wait to discover how many miles I've done! An early prediction reckons I'll be on over 4,000 by the time I get home.

    Back to work tomorrow sadly, I only wish I had tomorrow off to get started on the massive amount of paperwork and typing I've got to do. I've got around 70 minutes of footage on the tape, much to my surprise. Coldplay's Paradise is on as we cruise through Worcestershire, can't help swaying a bit to the tune :oops: Jessie J's back on now, a nice and bouncy tune to get me going again. Lu Bu's theme from Dynasty Warriors 3 gets me really pumped up again as we leave Worcester Shrub Hill. The last 3 packets of crisps are devoured now and the Baker is updated for the last time for a while. As we roll into Ledbury, let's do the day's review: Pretty decent, the only spoiler being the delay and associated farce to the flight. Good bit of track scored, no doubt plenty of new sights and haulages, and a modest amount of mileage. The flight was great once we got going, so with little else to add (bar getting Y877 PWT home on the 1915 from Hereford) to this incredibly long report, I score the day at 8/10. For the whole trip, a score of 9/10, with just minor annoyances lowering the score.

    (Postscript: Planes wise, there were 31 new sights and 2 new haulages. Trains wise, 222 new sights, 35 new haulages, 22 new shacks and 1,553 miles and 77 chains!)

    Finally then, let's do some stats:

    Day 5 mileage: 138 miles and 19 chains
    Highest mileage on one train: 55 miles and 33 chains on 170635 and 170512
    Lowest mileage on one train: 0 miles and 57 chains on 29002
    Best bit: Finally getting to Howth!
    Worst bit: The farce at the airport
    Bargain of the day: The coffee from Subway, €1.50 for a coffee of that size is excellent
    Rip-off of the day: Not much to choose from here, but I'm going with the Diet Coke for €1.80
    Gricer's Tip: If you're flying from Dublin Airport, be warned that it really isn't advised to go past the Point of No Return (dunno what happens if you genuinely make a mistake mind), as there's bugger all there to do. Can't think of anything else to be honest!

    Uber finally then, I'm again quoting my notebook: WHAT A GREAT TRIP! :D

    EDIT: This is what the train looked like when the morons attacked it near Kilcock, seen from inside the train:

    [​IMG]
    DSCN7144 by 43002, on Flickr

    And from outside:

    [​IMG]
    DSCN7145 by 43002, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: 16 Apr 2012
  9. D841 Roebuck

    D841 Roebuck Established Member

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    Surprised to hear about the snake in the loo. I thought St Patrick evicted them from Ireland a long time ago! :D
     
  10. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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    You were lucky so see the BMI Logojet - It'll be in the paintshop ASAP being painted out of that livery (BMI left Star Alliance today)
     
  11. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Think I photted it, shall check in a sec...Yep:

    [​IMG]
    DSCN7164 by 43002, on Flickr

    Why'd they leave the Star Alliance? Indeed, I must Google what that actually is...
     
  12. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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    BMI was sold by the Lufthansa Group (Star Alliance) to IAG (Oneworld Alliance).

    For more on Alliances see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_alliance
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    And both the Star Alliance aircraft are booked in for repaint in the next few days. (The A330 is going Albino as it's not remaining in the fleet beyond October, the A320 is probably going into BA/Hybrid colours)
     
  13. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    G-MIDX still in Star Alliance livery on Sunday, noted at Manchester Terminal 3 around 0730 on Sunday morn.

    Got back earlier from my day and a bit to Dublin, the Luas network now done. More flights to Eire due to come in the autumn for a planned visit to finish Ireland once and for all.
     
  14. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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    It's due in to EMA's paintshop tomorrow (subject to change)
     
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