The Anonymous Widower

The Train From Hell

I won’t talk about the match at Blackburn, as Ipswich lost.

But I had one of the worst train journeys I’ve ever had returning from Blackburn to Manchester.

It was one of Northern Rail’s scrapyard specials, or a Class 150 or similar to name it correctly.

But the real problem was that it was full of drunken twenty somethings, who were drinking bottles of Foster and other rubbish. The noise was horrendous.

Until corrected, I would assume everybody was going from Blackburn to a night out in Manchester.

Such behaviour on the Underground, would have resulted in many taking a walk home.

I was glad to get off the train at Salford Crescent to get another train to Piccadilly.  But that wasn’t without its contingent of drinkers.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

The Worst Station In The UK

If they wanted to remake Brief Encounter, all they’d need to do was go to Manchester Victoria station and add a few steam trains. Not for nothing was it voted the UK’s worst station in 2009.

Although come to think of it, if a powerful steam engine, went through the station, it would probably cause the tonnes of muck in the station roof to fall off and kill a few passengers, even if the steam didn’t blow the station down.

Salvation is at hand, as Network Rail are rebuilding the station and putting a new roof on the station, to protect the squalor from the elements.

At least the information screens work and I found my way successfully to the train.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Walking Across Manchester

I know I posted that it was wet, as I walked between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations. But it wasn’t an easy walk!

There were a few signposts to Victoria, but I didn’t see one map anywhere, so in the end I followed the tram lines, which I knew went to the station. Or they did last time I was in Manchester, but now due to the rebuilding of Victoria they don’t.  I met a couple from Bolton with their grandchildren  at Victoria, who’d used the tram to get to Victoria. They missed the alternative stop and had ended up in Rochdale. So they had to come back on another tram.

Incidentally, when I left Piccadilly, I found that the free buses that go all over Manchester city centre don’t actually connect the two stations without a change. I suppose this is to ensure that those changing between the two stations with or without heavy baggage use a taxi or pay for a tram to get lost in Rochdale.

Because my eyes don’t respond quickly to fast moving objects from the left, I always cross the road using a light controlled crossing. For extra safety I generally use the thingy underneath to tell me of the green light. But I found a lot of these buttons were missing as I got near Victoria.  As were the signposts! Vandalism or theft?

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 5 Comments

It’s Wet So It Must Be Manchester

To get to Blackburn I needed to get between Carluccio’s at Manchester Piccadilly station and Manchester Victoria station to catch the 13:00 train to Clitheroe.

I knew I was in Manchester, as it was raining.

As I had bought my ticket from Manchester Stations to Blackburn for the princely sum of £6.95, I had to walk, as you can’t use these tickets on the tram to get between the two stations. Also, unlike Sheffield, my Freedom Pass where it is valid on the trams, it is not valid in Manchester.


April 5, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jodrell Bank

Jodrell Bank telescope is now clean and pristine and it would appear that Network Rail have cut back the vegetation, so you get good views of the iconic radio telescope from the train to Manchester.

In the 1960s, when the line was first electrified to Manchester, some of the new engines were built in Manchester and there was a lot of publicity photos of blue electric engines running past Jodrell Bank. I can remember one, where the dish was upside down for cleaning. I found one like that here from 1960. The locomotive in the picture is actually a Class 84, which was built in Glasgow.

I called Jodrell Bank iconic. It must be one of the few scientific instruments or laboratories, that if you showed most people a picture, they could name it.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment

A Job Well Done

Everybody is breathing a sigh of relief after the reopening of the rail line to Plymouth and Cornwall yesterday. It’s all reported here on the BBC.

The only problem this summer is going to be that with all the publicity, many of those, who want to go to Devon and Cornwall, might decide to use the train. So can the wonderful Inter City 125s cope? They have yet to fail to meet a challenge yet!

There has been talk of opening an inland route, which could go round the North of Dartmoor by way of Okehampton and Tavistock. This is the route of the old London and South Western Railway from Exeter to Plymouth.  The article in Wikipedia includes this.

There are proposals to reopen the line from Tavistock to Bere Alston for a through service to Plymouth. In the wake of widespread disruption caused by damage to the mainline track at Dawlish by coastal storms in February 2014, Network Rail are considering reopening the Tavistock to Okehampton and Exeter section of the line as an alternative to the coastal route.

I suspect there’s a team of exhausted engineers in Network Rail, who have the special engineering envelopes ready with a plan to reinstate this route for an encore after Dawlish. According to Wikipedia, the main viaducts seem to be intact, so it might not be the major job some might think.

As an engineer of sorts, I’d put the opening of this line in a box marked Difficult But Possible With Good Engineering.

Of course, Sod’s Law being what it is, if the old LSWR  line was reinstated, there wouldn’t be any more trouble on the Dawlish line. But it would provide an easy route to get to Dartmoor and the surrounding part of Devon by train.


April 5, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment