The Anonymous Widower

I Finally Ride In A Refurbished Class 319 Train

I took these pictures of one of the Class 319 trains, that are being refurbished to run the new Northern Electric services between Liverpool, Manchester and the other towns covered by the North West Electrification.

In my view the limited updating has been done well. The awful colour scheme shown in these pictures, when the trains ran between Brighton and Bedford has gone and the seats were certainly more comfortable than I remember them.

There was a bit of a problem on the information system, but the conductor said it was getting better.

A passenger I spoke to, said that she’d used the refurbished trains a few times and the biggest difference was all the extra seats and that they were so much more comfortable.

Compared to the typical diesel units they are replacing the Class 319 are four instead of two carriages and have a 100 mph top speed instead of 75 mph, so as more trains enter service and more lines are electrified, things will only get better.

Two things stick in my mind after this short trip to Wavertree Technology Park station and back in a Class 150 Sprinter.

Class 319 trains are a version of the iconic Mark 3 coach, as is the Class 150 train, I used for the return. But the ride quality and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) comparison between the two trains was like that between say a brand new BMW and a five-year-old one that has done a hundred thousand miles. Somebody had got their spanners out and checked and tightened everything on the Class 319. The question of what a proper service and similar refurbishment would do for a Class 150, has to be asked.

This was probably the first time that I’ve sat in a newly-refurbished train just a few days after it entered service. The train was  crowded and you could see fellow passengers with smiles on their faces, looking round the carriage. They were obviously riding a newly refurbished Class 319 for the first time.

I think if these Class 319 trains, were a person, they’d be Bruce Forsyth. Perhaps a bit long in the tooth, but still a very good reliable mover, that scrubs up well, with a face that is practical but not beautiful by any means.

Yet again Mark 3 coaches in one of their umpteen variants seem to be digging the UK rail industry out of a hole.

March 19, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

A Transport Hub Fit For A Major Airport

I’ve only been to Manchester Airport once and that was many years ago, when I flew my Piper Arrow into the then single-runway airport.

On my trip north today, I wanted to take a ride on one of the refurbished Class 319 trains running between the airport and Liverpool Lime Street, so as I got a good deal on tickets including a trip in First to Crewe, I went via the airport.

The pictures show the rail station at the airport, which has three platforms for trains and one for the Metrolink. A fourth rail platform is under construction.

Most of the pictures were taken looking towards the entry to the station, with the platforms being number 1, 2 3 and 4 for right to left (south to north).

If the Metrolink platform was given a number, it would be five.

This Google Earth image shows the station and the surrounding area.

Manchester Airport Station

Manchester Airport Station

Note the current three rail platforms with the Metrolink between them and the bus station. My Class 323 train from Crewe  arrived on the southernmost platform, which is numbered one. Platforms two and three are either side of a long island and it would appear that the construction work between platform three and the Metrolink and the bus station will be the new platform four.

A station-man indicated that the lines into the station are a bit limited and expansion of the rail links out of the station might be something to upgrade in the future.

One difference between this airport station and most of the other ones I’ve visited was that it wasn’t buried deep in a dark claustrophobic pit under the airport. So I was able to walk up and down in the sun, whilst waiting for my train!

My only disappointment was that instead of getting a refurbished Class 319 train, I got a clean Class 156 train.

March 19, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Where Has Waitrose’s Grated Parmesan Gone?

I do a lot of recipes which use a breadcrumb and parmesan crust like this salmon based on a Mary Berry idea.

Mary Bery's Salmon

Mary Bery’s Salmon

It is quick and delicious and only needs some cream cheese, a lemon and the salmon to be purchased.

Usually, I keep the parmesan sealed in its container in the fridge.

The Last Of My Waitrose Parmesan

The Last Of My Waitrose Parmesan

I only ever use a little, so one pack lasts a month or so.

Recently, Waitrose have stopped selling the parmesan and the only alternative was some in a round packet.

I’ll never buy that again, as within a few days of opening, it had gone mouldy.

I want the original parmesan back.

It is wasteful and grossly immoral to buy food, only to throw most of it straight in the bin.


March 19, 2015 Posted by | Food | | 1 Comment