Posted in Railways on Monday 11th June 2007 at 10:59pm
One of the pleasures of doing a First Class rover is that the long moves to the opposite end of the country become much more comfortable. Having resisted the urge to head directly for Scotland earlier in the week, it was necessary today to reposition myself - and get some value for money out of my ticket too. I was uneasy about morning trains from Norwich to Liverpool Street, so I'd selected an after 0900 arrival which I hoped wouldn't be too wedged with commuters. In the event, I woke early and checked out in time for the 0655. All seemed fairly quiet so I found a seat and settled in for a comfortable ride to London with excellent service. It began to fill up around Ipswich, and I noticed a few passengers without seats lurking in the vestibules by departure from Colchester, but it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined. An early arrival at Liverpool Street meant the chance to flag any really stupidly packed Underground trains. However, walked practically straight onto a Metropolitan train which whisked me to Euston Square in relative comfort.
At Euston, purchased coffee and found a spot to relax and watch the world go by. It was an unpleasantly sweaty day and my exertions in crossing London along with the humid atmosphere on the tube made it uncomfortable to do anything but stand still. I think I was still suffering a little with this unshakable cold too. Made myself presentable and did the dash to the platform for the 1038 to Glasgow, being I think almost the first passenger aboard! Secured my seat, and was pleased to find coffee and a newspaper delivered to me before we'd even started moving. I'll confess to settling back to enjoy this trip with little regard to what was passing the windows. I'd done this just over 400 mile outing once before, but certainly not in such style. After a very good breakfast, settled back into enjoying the scenery and watching the railway landscape change from hurrying commuter units to passing Freightliner workings. First stop Preston, going direct via the Trent Valley and a chance to see how TV4 - the project to provide four tracks throughout this busy section of the West Coast Mainline - was progressing. Also zipped through the remodelled Rugby with its new platform looking a little isolated from the station. Once off Preston, into familiar territory and the always exciting twisting route through the Lake District and into Scotland. Arrival over the Clyde was, as always, a special moment for me.
But there was no time to waste in reverie here - back in February I'd left a couple of key bits of track here undone. These were parts of the network where perhaps I'd not quite understood the pattern of service, or where there hadn't been a Sunday service available on the last day of my trip. A brisk walk to Queen Street and onto a service for Falkirk Grahamston via Springburn and Cumbernauld. This covered a fair stretch of line I needed, including the last bit of the knot of routes around Falkirk. Unexpected sunshine appeared somewhere along the way, and I lazily lounged at the station on my brief stopover, entirely missing the chance to photograph 66232 hauling aviation fuel tanks and 66407 on Tesco containers, which appeared unexpectedly within seconds of each other! Retraced my steps to Cumbernauld, and waited for the service to Motherwell to shunt over to our platform. A brief journey, but a chance to see what was in Motherwell Depot at last! At Motherwell, wandered a bit in an attempt to find the platform for the 1756 back to Whifflet with information screens all 'waiting for data'. Luckily, Scotrail had provided a huge gang of revenue protection staff who had nothing to do, and were happy to provide the information in a return for a stare at my 'weird ticket'. Only a small group of us waiting at the eerily quiet platform 4 at Motherwell for the increasingly delayed train, and as the minutes ticked by I thought I might have an extra half-hour to wait at Whifflet. From what I'd seen of the place on my pass through, this wasn't necessarily a pleasant idea. Finally onboard, and on arriving at Whifflet, saw the 156 which would form the next service still lurking in the sidings waiting for our unit to clear the line, so no chance to explore Whifflet and environs this time! Back to Central via Mount Vernon in still strong sunshine. And so all of the passenger track in Greater Glasgow is now inked over in 'Baker' along with much of the red stuff too.
With today's objectives achieved, set about celebration. Checked in at the station hotel, finding myself tucked away in an even more obscure corner of this cavernous building than before. Out into town for the excellent King's Lodge chinese buffet and then a walk to the 13th Note to people-watch and to enjoy a quiet read and a pint. Couldn't resist a quick stop in at the Horseshoe Bar on my walk back to the hotel. Obscenely early start tomorrow meant I couldn't stay out late. Felt better knowing I'd be in Glasgow again at the weekend.
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.