The Anonymous Widower

A Round Trip To St. Albans

Today, it looked like it was going to be miserable and wet.

I’d also been wanting to go to St. Albans to see the Abbey Line, which is one of those short connecting lines like Upminster to Romford and the Greenford branch.

So after checking the weather, which showed it might brighten up at lunchtime, I decided to take a chance.

These pictures show my round trip using Overground to Watford Junction and then the Abbey Line to St. Albans Abbey station before coming home from St. Albans City.

The pictures show I was right about the weather.

St. Albans is a medium-sized city with several attractions for visitors, but unfortunately whichever station you use to get to the city, it’s a walk up the hill.

If the city wants to attract more visitors by train, then it should inform visitors which bus they use to get up the hill. In fact, although they have quite a few fingerposts, St. Albans could do with a few maps.



June 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

An Ideal Bottle Of Water

I like the standard British Rail bottle of Harrogate Spa water, as it fits my pocket and doesn’t have a silly cap.

An Ideal Bottle Of Water

An Ideal Bottle Of Water

But why is it, I find it difficult to buy something like this for use on my travels around London?

June 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | Leave a comment

Bannockburn Riding for the Disabled

I was alerted to the plight of this organisation by Melanie Reid in her Saturday column in The Times.

Riding for the Disabled was one of the charities C and myself supported, so she would be totally behind my donation to help the Bannockburn RDA in their fight against a difficult landlord.

If you would like to donate, you can use Just Giving.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | News, World | , | Leave a comment

A Timetable Of Major Projects On The UK Rail Network

This is for my own use at present and it will be updated as more information becomes available.


Ilkeston Station

Lea Bridge Station

Nottingham Express Transit

Nottingham Station


Apperley Bridge Station

Kirkstall Forge Station

Oxford Parkway Station

Waverley Line


Cambridge Science Park Station

Great Western electrification to Oxford and Newbury.

Introduction of Class 700 trains onto Thameslink.

Kenilworth Station

Ordsall Chord

Oxford to Marylebone

Preston to Blackpool electrification


Croxley Rail Link

Great Western electrification to Cardiff

Introduction of Class 800 and 801 trains

Midland Main Line electrification to Corby

Modernisation and electrification of Great Western Main Line


London Bridge Station

Thameslink programme

First trains start running on Crossrail.


East-West Link – Oxford to Bedford

Midland Main Line electrification to Derby and Nottingham


Midland Main Line electrification to Sheffield


Note that some projects have been left out, as they are not ones that particularly interest me. An example would be small stations that I am unlikely to use that are outside London. Some projects like HS2 and the Northern Line Extension To Battersea have been deliberately left out until the project timetables are firmed up.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Not All Important Projects Are Visible

I have recently come down the East Coast Main Line from Edinburgh to London. Starting at 05:40 in the morning there are up to 23 trains on that route during a typical day.

That is a lot of trains, carriages and seats and it only needs something small to go wrong for all the services to be delayed and even cancelled.

One of the biggest problems is that the line is crossed by other important routes, where say a freight train has to cross from east to west. So a slight problem can have a tremendous knock-on effect.

Last year, one of these crossings was eased by the opening of the Hitchin flyover, where Cambridge trains join and leave the main line.

Now another of these crossings has been eliminated with the opening of the North Doncaster Chord, which now takes heavy coal trains over the main line. A level crossing was also eliminated.

This is a quote from the linked article in Modern Railways.

The movement of coal to generate electricity is vital in keeping the UK’s lights switched on. Over 35 per cent of UK-consumed electricity is generated by coal moved by rail

I didn’t think that coal was still used to generate that amount of electricity.

Both the Hitchin and North Doncaster projects cost a few tens of million pounds and will help the East Coast Main Line to be more punctual.

But I have not seen either of them in mainstream media.

We need to find a way to tell the frustrated passenger on the train, that things will be getting better and that the engineers are doing their utmost.

One of the good things about the troubles in Dawlish, was all the high profile media attention that the project received.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment