The Anonymous Widower

A Crazy Football Match For A Crazy Day

I was running a few minutes late after my meeting in Manchester Piccadilly and eventually, I got on a train to Sheffield.  It was the usual overcrowded TransPennine Express going to somewhere like Scunthorpe. Hopefully, when they finally sort out and electrify the cross-Pennine routes and Piccadilly station, you’ll always go to the same platform to get trains to places like Sheffield and Liverpool. at least though there were plenty of staff about and the train I needed was not in the platforms at the back of the station.

But I didn’t get to Sheffield in time to get a train to Derby that would get me to Pride Park in time for the start of the match. Nothing was late except my start time at Piccadilly and I caught a Cross Country train that would get in to Derby at 19:51. However, someone decided to try a spot of attempted murder on the train and when we got to Derby, the Police locked us all in for a few minutes until they made an arrest.

So I decided to take a taxi.  If you know the area, walking to Pride Park from the station is not that far. But the taxi driver gave me a tour of the city and then dropped me at the point of the ground furthest from the Away Supporters End. By the time I got into the ground, Ipswich were leading by three goals to one.

We were all ecstatic at half time and wondered how many it will be.  But in the Ipswich were almost lucky to hang on for a four-all draw.

I then walked back to the station to get the 22:02 train to Birmingham for the Virgin train home.

But it was running thirty minutes late.  Luckily there was another train and I piled in to try to get to Birmingham in time.

I made the Virgin train, by the skin of my teeth and it was a few minutes early in London at 01:15.

But why did I need all that hassle to get back, when most train companies, but not East Midland Trains, provide a train back to the capital after a match.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Manchester’s Metroshuttle

Manchester has a free city centre bus called the Metroshuttle.

We need more of these in city centres. The Manchester Transport Authority, TfGM, also provides other systems locally in Bolton, Stockport and Oldham. But  I have only seen one other recently and that was in Huddersfield.  I can remember buses of this type in Liverpool in the 1960s and later in Ipswich and Cambridge. Liverpool’s City Circle was probably a victim of the infamous bus strike of the 1960s and then it’s route was replaced by the underground railway. But Ipswich and Cambridge you either have to walk or find a bus that might go where you are going. Cambridge is particularly bad for the inexperienced visitor.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Up Front Solicitors

You can’t get more up front than this display.

Up Front Solicitors

Up Front Solicitors

Did they really have a television programme?  I wouldn’t have seen it, as I don’t watch television with adverts unless it’s must-see sport.

So did they trouser a few bob out of it all?

October 1, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Riding Manchester’s Trams

I had hoped to see some Eccles cakes at Eccles, but I didn’t even see a bakers, as I walked from the train to the tram.

I took the tram from Eccles to the interchange at Cornbrook, from where I went south to Didsbury Village and then back up to the centre of Manchester.

The new line to Didsbury wasn’t open, the last time I used the system and new stations seem better than the old with to me, much welcomed local maps and other improvements.

Manchester is fairly unique amongst UK tram systems in that it runs two different types of tram; the voriginal T68 and the new M5000. The new ones can also be coupled into pairs to make a four car train.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Electrification At Eccles

I got off the train at Eccles station and took these pictures of the electrification.

It’s all coming on at a pace faster than I had expected. And it looks a lot more robust than I’m used to seeing on railways in the UK. More details on the electrification of this line are given here in Wikipedia.

The first benefit for rail users will be Manchester to Scotland services by Trans Pennine using new Class 350 electric trains,, which are scheduled to start at the end of this year. Liverpool to Manchester services should start in a year or two, using refurbished Class 319 trains.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

The First Shoots Of Electrification

Huyton lies on the original route of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and you pass through Rainhill, where the trials were synonymous with the Stephenson’s Rocket, on your way to Manchester. As you travel you notice the pylons for the electrification of the line by the trackside.

It reminds me of watching as a child, as the pylons started to be added to the Great Eastern Main Line electrification was extended to Chelmsford and Colchester in the 1950s and 1960s.

There is one big difference.  The modern pylons are much stronger than those of the past. Hopefully, these will cure some of the overhead wiring problems encountered on some of the lines electrified in the last century.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huyton Station

To get to Manchester from Preston, you can go directly to Manchester Victoria, but I wanted to go to Eccles to see the start of the electrification of the lines in the area.

I changed trains at Huyton on the edge of Liverpool.

A Train Leaves Huyton For Liverpool

A Train Leaves Huyton For Liverpool

The station is a bit different to when I used it years ago in about 1965.  At the time, I was in digs in the area, whilst studying at Liverpool University and went there once to catch a train into the city.  I think I may have cycled there from my digs, but I have no memory of the details.

But it wasn’t the smart station it is today. Although Wikipedia says here it will be getting better. it will in a couple of years be on a fully electrified line between Liverpool and Manchester, with four platforms instead of just two.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 4 Comments

Lots Of Taxis But No Buses

I felt hungry, so I felt the best thing to do was move on towards Manchester, as there didn’t appear any good coffee or gluten-free snacks. This greeted me as I walked back to Preston station.

Lots Of Taxis But No Buses

Lots Of Taxis But No Buses

Is this the cause of the city’s bus problems at the rail station? Moving the taxi rank to the side would allow buses to call at the station properly. But then rule one in planning traffic around railway stations and city centres is not to annoy the taxi drivers. and as I suspect many taxis are driven by ethnic minorities, rule two is not to annoy ethnic minorities.

But something must be done in Preston to make the city centre more viable. With a proper interchange at the station, it might encourage the use of buses to get to the outlying towns around the city. At present I suspect, that you have no excuse but to drive.

As a coeliac, Preston is a place, I wouldn’t put on a list of places to change trains. the only restaurant I know there, that I’d trust to do gluten-free well is Pizza Express.

The best thing about Preston was the train I took to Huyton.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel, World | , , , | 6 Comments

Preston’s Chaotic High Street

I know that there are lots of road works, but Preston’s High Street wasn’t one of the best I’ve visited.

Preston High Street

Preston High Street

Cars were still trying to get through the road works and shouldn’t they be in a car park somewhere? Even the Marks and Spencer was very tired and in the food department, there were no gluten-free sandwiches.

The biggest crime in my view, was the non-working clock that towered over the street. But at least Rolex had the time right.

It is definitely a High Street that needs a touch of Portasisation!

There were no maps and signposts and this was the only cafe I passed.

The Only Cafe I Passed

The Only Cafe I Passed

But then I don’t do Starbucks. Surely, there must be a locally owned coffee shop in the city.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Preston Martyrs Memorial

I like to look out for large sculpture as I travel around.

This is the memorial to those, who died in the Preston Strike of 1842.

I’d never heard of any of this until I saw the memorial, but I do feel that the sculpture does not do those who died, justice.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment