The Anonymous Widower

Do The English, Scots And Welsh Work Better Together Than The Belgians, Dutch And Germans?

If we take these two groups of three countries, they all have different railway companies, but do they illustrate a problem in the relations between various EU countries.

I know my experience of travelling between these six countries is mainly on the trains, but to travel between England, Scotland and Wales by train, is a lot easier than travelling between Belgium and The Netherlands and the Netherlands and Germany is full of little difficulties.

Strangely if you add France into the mix, that is generally as easy as the three home nations.

Judging by my experience in Europe, there are many ways that the Scots and Welsh could make the English unwelcome. But they don’t, except for the Seniors Bus Pass, although the same Senior Railcard is valid everywhere in the UK.

I know we’re all part of the same country, but I think where something has to be agreed across a border, we generally find a solution that is acceptable enough!

In the important area of rail ticketing, there seems little agreement on common standards between Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.

Imagine how difficult it would be if ScotRail had different ticketing rules to say Virgin.

Surely, if Europe can’t get its act together in something like rail ticketing, how can it get something important like dealing with migrants working?


October 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Comments Off on Do The English, Scots And Welsh Work Better Together Than The Belgians, Dutch And Germans?

Lewes Station

Lewes station  has an unusual layout, as this Google Map shows.

Lewes Station

Lewes Station

The line going off to the right is the East Coastway Line to Bexhill, Hastings and eventually via the Marshlink Line toAshford.

The top line at the left goes to Plumpton and eventually to London, whilst the bottom one goes to Brighton.

At the moment a great deal of work is going on, as these pictures of the station show.

Lewes could end up being a more important station if plans to reopen the Wealden Line to Uckfield come to fruition, to create a second route between London and Brighton. There is a BML2 web site, which is nothing but ambitious, as this map shows.

BML2 Map

BML2 Map

I think that the Lewes to Uckfield section might be rebuilt and it would be an ideal place to use IPEMU trains, as they could be used on the whole of the Uckfield Branch of the Oxted Line to replace the current Class 171 diesel trains.

I have a feeling too, that IPEMUs would be ideal to bridge the electrification gap between Ashford and Ore and allow Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne to have high-speed services to St. Pamcras. Would these services if they ever start turn back at Eastbourne, Brighton or Lewes?

There is certainly scope for extra services in the area, if only there were more routes to London. In many places along the South Coast, services are hourly, which given the development and other issues in the area, probably isn’t enough.

In my view, half-hourly services are the minimum frequency on any rail-line that is connected to major centres of population, as this effectively, is a turn-up-and-go service. If the Scots feel this is needed on the Borders Railway, then the logic probably applies along the Sussex Coast.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Plumpton Station, Level Crossing And Racecourse

When a friend phoned me from Brighton asking me next time I was in the area to meet him for a coffee, I decided to combine the trip with a visit to the site of the level crossing in I Wonder If This Happens In Europe.

These are pictures I took at Plumpton station.

It would not be called grand, but it must be one of the few stations in the UK with an attached racecourse.

The rebuilding of the level crossing is causing problems according to Wikipedia. This is said.

Network Rail closed the level crossing in September 2015 so that the gates on the crossing could be replaced. However, Lewes District Council rejected the plans to replace the gates as it would cause “substantial harm to the significance of the signal box”. Network Rail have said that they cannot open the crossing as the work is not completed. This has effectively split the village in two, with some motorists having to take a six or seven mile detour.

I did chat with a local and her grey whippet and feel that there could be more to this than meets the eye.

If you type “Plumpton suicide” into Google, you find reports, where people have killed themselves at the crossing.

But I also feel that Network Rail haven’t been too clever in this one. My view is that stations like Plumpton need at least a half-hourly service, as this means you have a proper turn-up-and-go service.

One of the pieces of work being done in the area, is to close all the signal boxes and handle all signalling from Three Bridges Operating Centre. This work combined with an automated level crossing, could surely enable all the half-hourly services between Lewes and London to stop at the station.

But it would enrage the militant wing of the heritage lobby!

As to the signal box, they should be looking at a version of the Highams Park solution. Perhaps it would make a cafe and/or business centre.

Starting a half-hourly service might have the effect of increasing traffic at the station.

It’s a difficult one, but with the population of areas like Sussex getting older, more numerous and more and more people cutting use of their cars, who knows?

For the duration of the level crossing closure, Network Rail and Southern had a golden opportunity to experiment with stopping all services. Some of those drivers, who are doing a long detour, might have been persuaded to try the trains to Lewes, Brighton or London.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Keep This Door Closed

I like this witty sign.

Shut Happens

Shut Happens

It was in a cafe at Willesden Junction station.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | World | | 1 Comment