The Anonymous Widower

Match Twenty-Five – Ipswich 0 – Derby 1

If the biggest crowd at Portman Road for four years had welcomed Charlton, them the cowd for the visit of Derby must be one of the largest at the ground for a televised Championship match, with the exception of  an East Anglian Derby.

Sadly though, Ipswich lost after giving away a silly goal and are now down to third place, one point behind Bournemouth and Derby.

Network Rail have decided to play rebuilding the railway again, so despite going to the match in style, I came home in an uncomfortable Class 321 train, with no wi-fi or onboard catering.

I don’t think I’ll be going First again, until normal service is resumed.

It’s funny, but we’ve played two lunchtime matches at home this season and lost both one-nil. The other was against Norwich.

We shouldn’t play any more!



January 10, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Match Five – Derby 1 – Ipswich 1

Derby is one of the easier grounds to get to from the excellent rail station, in that it’s just about a walk of about ten minutes.

Today though, I went via Oakham to have lunch with a friend, so I had to change trains twice at Peterborough and Leicester. Both changes were the ones that should be avoided, where you have to climb up one set of steps and then down to another platform. There were lifts, but in some places on the rail network, we’re seeing reorganising, that mean the up and downs are minimised. We need more innovative thinking.

Oakham is a small simple station, with a pub and brewery attached, so it’s a good place to meet for business or pleasure.

Oakham Station

Oakham Station

The picture shows the station from the footbridge. In the distance you can just see the infamous level crossing, that is a pain to people living in the town. The signal box there was used as a model for the Airfix kit.

After an excellent lunch at the Finches near Oakham, I arrived a few minutes late at Derby and thought I’d buy my return ticket before the match.

£141 - You Must Be Joking!

£141 – You Must Be Joking!

This was the only ticket offered by East Midlands Trains. A First Anytime Single at £141.

For Ipswich fans, the match was overshadowed by the news that David McGoldrick is leaving for Leicester. If he had played, the result might have been different as a couple of chances missed in the second half, were possibly the sort, he wouldn’t have missed.

But if Mick McCarthy has got the reported eight million for McGoldrick, then turning round the player’s career and getting half a season out of him for Town, has been good business for all concerned. Let’s hope Mick can resurrect Conor Sammon‘s career in the same way.

The match was enlivened by the debut of Ted Bishop, who after a quiet first half, started to create trouble for Derby in the second half. In dealing with him in one instance, Derby gave away the free kick that led to Ipswich’s equaliser. One shot from distance and another he had when he came on as a substitute at Crawley, show that he might have some serious talent in the future as a scorer from midfield,  in the manner of Matt Holland. In some ways, the shot today, was reminiscent of some from Ipswich’s legend Ted Phillips, who I saw score several goals in the early 1960s.

When Bishop tired, he was replaced by Alex Henshall, who showed he could torment the Derby defence.

So two youngsters with a combined age of 38, showed the Ipswich fans, that this season might not be in the dire mould of some of recent memory.

I eventually got home with a ticket that cost £42.90, which was just forty pence more than their on-line price and £2.70 more than the sum of my two tickets to get to Derby. But why don’t East Midlands Trains make their ticket machines easier to use. The trouble was that I tried to buy a ticket via EMTrains, rather than Any Permitted Route on the machine. But as East Midland Trains was the operator I needed for London, surely my choice was logical.

Incidentally, on the train to London, I sat with a Derby fan, who said that for Tuesday night matches he reluctantly had to drive, as there is no late London-bound train after the match.

I don’t find East Midlands Trains good value and avoid them, if I possibly can.


August 30, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Musings On Airliners And Engines

I flew to and from Iceland in an Icelandic Air Boeing 757. It’s funny, but I think that these are my only journeys in the type, as normally on short-haul flights around Europe it’s a Boeing 737 or a babyAirbus.

The 757s, that I flew on were powered by Rolls-Royce RB211-535 engines. These engines first flew on a 757 in January 1983 and were a launch engine for the airliner.

Incidentally, I wonder when the two Icelandic 757s I flew were built! Not that I worry, as well-maintained aircraft can last a lot longer than thirty years. These weren’t that old and were probably about twenty.

When I was at University, the father of one of the fellow students,  worked at Tesco in Derby. Tesco used to supply Rolls-Royce with time-expired frozen chickens, which were used by the engine company to test the first version of the RB-211 with its carbon-fibre fan blades for bird-strikes. That must have been about 1966, a few years before the RB211-22 entered service in 1972 on a Lockheed Tristar.

Today in the Sunday Times, there is an article which talks about how Airbus and Boeing, instead of designing new aircraft, are redesigning old ones. The article talks about the Airbus A330neo powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. And what is a Trent engine? It’s a developed and renamed RB-211. Someone got the basic design right fifty years ago.

One paragraph in the Wikipedia entry for the Trent 700 must be shown.

Compared to the A330 engines the Trent 7000 will improve specific fuel consumption by ten per cent, double the bypass ratio and halve perceived noise enabling the A330neo to meet the stricter London airport (QC) noise regulations of QC1/0.25 for departure and arrivals respectively.

But then they’re only following a long tradition of the company or squeezing every drop of performance out of a design, just as they did with the Merlin.

Is it just a coincidence, that another of the UK’s long-lived and much-developed engineering icons; the InterCity 125, also has strong connections to the city of Derby in the years around 1970?

July 20, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Things You Find When You Look Through Old Photos

I’ve just bought myself a cloud and I’m putting all the family pictures on DVD up there, so that my son and certain old friends can see them.

I found this photo of a sign on the outskirts of Leicester or Derby.

The Things You Find When You Look Through Old Photos

The Things You Find When You Look Through Old Photos

I wonder what happened to Bubbles and Babes?

Did the bottom fall out of the market?

The picture was taken around 2006 or so!


July 4, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Crazy Day!

Yesterday was a day I won’t forget.

As I said in this post, I was having a lot of frustrations with East Midland Trains, and decided to come back by Virgin from Birmingham.

I also decided to make a day of travelling, as I had someone with an idea, to meet in Manchester, so I decided to go via Preston and then come in to Manchester from the north west.

I left on the 08:30 from Euston and my main reason to go to the city was to see Preston bus station and the city’s buses.  Although, I did walk around the market and the shopping area, visit the Preston Martyrs Memorial, looking unsuccessfully for a cup of coffee. It is not a city centre of which to be proud, as I mused here.

I left around 13:00 and took trains 2 and 3 of the day to get to Eccles via Huyton.

Arriving in Eccles, I bought a day travelcard for the trams and then explored some of the new lines, before going back Carluccio’s in Piccadilly station to have my meeting.

I then took trains 4 and 5, from Manchester to Derby after my meeting, saw the match which was a crazy four-all draw and then came back into Euston at 01:30 this morning, using trains 6 and 7.

I’m a bit tired this morning, but it was a good day and it could have been much worse if Ipswich had lost. It would also have been a lot more expensive, if I’d decided to partake of some of dubious and very expensive hospitality of East Midlands Trains.

I must say this for Travelodge, who when I decided to not use the room I had booked, allowed me to painlessly cancel it with no charge over the Internet.

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 | , , , | 2 Comments

Are East Midlands Trains Serious About Running Trains?

Although, I’m an Ipswich Town supporter, I live in London, a short bus or Underground ride from Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations. So as this week, Ipswich are playing at Derby and Sheffield Wednesday, you’d think it would logical that tomorrow, I go to Derby and on Saturday I go to Sheffield from St. Pancras.

You would be wrong!

As there is no direct return train from Derby back to St. Pancras, I decided to go via Preston and Manchester to Derby, as I have things I want to see for this blog and someone to meet in Manchester.  The latter solves my supper problem, as we’re meeting in Carluccio’s in Piccadilly.  I can also get an excellent gluten-free breakfast on Virgin trains on the way up.

I did think about staying overnight in the Travelodge by Derby station, but after trying to buy a ticket to get back on Wednesday morning, I decided that the prices on offer, were just too steep. Other similar distance journeys, early in the morning to London, were certainly cheaper than those on offer from East Midland Trains.

So I decided to get home via Birmingham and Virgin Trains for £22.00 after the match. And that includes First Class from Birmingham to Euston. But I do get into London at 01:30 on Wednesday morning.

On Saturday, I’m going to Sheffield via Lincoln, as I have an old friend I want to see and can get a train from Lincoln to Sheffield.  It’s not as roundabout as you’d think.

But I’ve done this before, as last time, I went to Sheffield Wednesday, I went via Doncaster, as the First Class on East Coast, is so much better than that on East Midland Trains.


September 30, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Derby Reading’s Little Sibling?

I was at Derby on Saturday and took these pictures of the station and a couple of the old engines hanging about.

The concept of the station is very similar to that of Reading, that I visited earlier in the week. The bridge is narrower and there are no escalators to the platforms.

As Derby pre-dates Reading by a few years, you could argue that Reading is Derby’s bigger sibling.

But it’s a good design nonetheless! Like Reading it has good facilities on the wide platforms.

The big diesel is 37425, which is a Class 37 and although owned by the Class 37 Locomotive Group, it appears to be pulling some form of engineering train for Network Rail.

The other diesel engine is a Class 57.  Does DCR stand for Derby College something?, as the college is behind the engine.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

It Was Blue Skies, Sun And An Unlikely Win At Pride Park

The train got to Derby station in just over an hour and a half and then it was a short walk to the ground.

Walking To Pride Park

Walking To Pride Park

You walk through, an office park to the ground and it is all pretty easy going. Although a map or two and some more finger posts would be a good idea. For the first time this year, we saw a ground bathed in sunshine.

Pride Park In The Sun

Pride Park In The Sun

Derby County had the bulk of the play by 57% to 43%, but despite this, Ipswich won 1-0.

The goal incidentally was the sort you read about in stories, but see rarely in real life.  In the last minute of added time, at the end of the match, Carlos Edwards received the ball in the centre circle and runs towards the Derby goal, before unleashing an unstoppable shot from twenty-five metres out.

Mick McCarthy summed up the match like this.

We burgled it. I thought I heard the sirens and I said ‘shut the doors, the police are coming!

I would add that as my ticket to get in cost me £17.50 on top of £29 to get there by train in First Class, I can’t say that my day out wasn’t good value.

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | 1 Comment