The Anonymous Widower

Football In The Fog

Surprisingly, the strongest team on the pitch; the fog, didn’t win this game.

The guy next to me was a teacher, whose duties included taking games, Never having been any good at ball games, I wouldn’t know, but he felt it was very difficult out there.

Strangely, Ipswich seemed to improve, when they substituted the blonde-harired Williams and two other lighter-skinned players, with three of a much darker hue in Bru, McGoldrick and Ward.

Perhaps, they were more difficult to pick out. After all, McGoldrick used his head to create one goal and score the other.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Sport | , , | 2 Comments

An Illustration That Ipswich In Sixty Is Possible

I went to football at Ipswich today.

The match was a bit mediocre, but the result was the right one and Grant Ward scored a delightful goal.

Usually, after a three o’oclock kick-off, I try to get the fast 17:09 train back to Liverpool Street, where it is scheduled to arrive at 18:19 after two stops at Manningtree and Colchester. I can’t ever remember this train ever being later than more than a couple of minutes.

Today, instead of the usual rake of Mark 3 coaches pulled by a Class 90 locomotive, the train was a Class 321 electric multiple unit. I suspect the change of train was due to engineering works on the line North of Ipswich and the fact that London-Norwich services were being run as two separate services; London-Ipswich and Ipswich-Norwich.

From Colchester, which was left on time, after a stop of perhaps three minutes, the train ran non-stop to London, probably at about an average speed of 100 mph or nearly so.

I didn’t notice any slackening of speed at Shenfield, and after just 59 minutes, the train was passing through Stratford.

We eventually stopped outside Liverpool Street to wait for a platform at 64 minutes and finally stopped in platform 10 at Liverpool Street station at 67 minutes, three  minutes ahead of schedule.

This article in the East Anglian Daily Times, is entitled Faster trains to Ipswich as part of new franchise.

This is said.

Rail journeys between Ipswich and London will take, on average, 64 minutes from the introduction of the new timetable in 2019 once new “Stadler Flirt” InterCity trains are introduced on trains to the capital. At present the average journey time is 73 minutes.

That is more than the stated aim of the Great Eastern rail campaign to have services running to Ipswich in 60 minutes – but Abellio Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said the last four minutes could only be shaved off journey times once Network Rail has carried out improvement work to the line.

So it looks like Abellio aren’t that far from 64 minutes with a nearly thirty-year-old British Rail designed and built Class 321 train.

  • Judging by the smooth ride all the way, I suspect that most of the track and overhead wires is now to a good standard.
  • Perhaps a minute or so can be saved in each of the two stops, by the better acceleration, braking and door systems of the new Stadler Flirts.
  • Better signalling and control of trains at Liverpool Street would surely save a couple of minutes.

Having seen a full station at Ipswich, when I arrived for the match, I suspect that work needs to be done at that station, to create more capacity for Cambridge, Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Peterborough trains, so that London-Norwich services are not slowed by full platforms at Ipswich.

But overall, I’m led to the conclusion, that Jamie Burles statement is substantially correct.

I suspect that once all of the trains on the line are 100 mph trains, with a fast 100-0-100 mph profile for stops, that we’ll be approaching that 64 minute average for trains between Ipswich and London.

I suspect for the magic 60 minutes to be obtained consistently by all trains, that the following will have to be done.

  • Enough extra platform space is created at Ipswich so that London-Norwich and London-Lowestoft services have exclusive use of the current platforms 2 and 3.
  • All electrification on the Great Eastern Main Line needs to be of a high standard and capable of handling regenerative braking.
  • Crossrail needs to be fully integrated with longer distance East Anglian Services.
  • The Southend to Shenfield Line needs to be updated, so it can reliably present and accept trains to fit the schedule at Shenfield
  • All trains are either Stadler Flirts or ombardier Aventras, with perhaps a few 100 mph trains awaiting replacement.
  • Liverpool Street station has enough platforms for the longer trains.

I suspect too, that Network Rail will have to do some smaller work, like lengthening some platforms, adjusting the signalling and adding a crossover.

With some work North of Ipswich, I suspect that Norwich in Ninety will be implemented at the same time as Ipswich in Sixty.



August 27, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , | 5 Comments

After Losing 2-1 Roy Hodgson Resigns, So What Does Corbyn Do After Losing 172-40?

I think one man is honourable,

I’ll let others judge JC!

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Vinnie Jones On Lotteries

In today’s Sunday Times, Vinnie Jones is asked about life and money.

One question was “What would you do if you won the lottery jackpot?”

He replied. “I’ve won the lottery of life, which is bigger than any financial lottery.”

I’ll go along with that!

I always feel, I’ve had some very good luck and some extremely crap luck too!

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | 1 Comment

Ipswich Town’s title win in 1962 is a bigger underdog tale than Leicester City winning the Premier League

Who said that?

Ray Crawford, who scored thirty-three goals in Ipswich’s title win in 1962, did in this article in the East Anglian Daily Times. Crawford says this.

Town had been in Division Three South when England’s future World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey took charge in 1955. There was promotion in ‘57, they were Division Two title winners in ‘61 and top-flight 
champions the following year. Five players were there throughout the journey.

“Leicester’s is an unbelievable story because it’s come in an era which, sadly, is dominated by money,” said Crawford. “I still think ours was a bigger achievement then theirs though.

“We were a bunch of nobodies who had never been in the top division. Everyone wrote us off. They said we didn’t have enough experience, they said we were lucky to win the Second Division and they said we were favourites to go straight back down. We didn’t have a single international until I was capped (just twice) towards the end of that season.

Ipswich declined after Sir Alf left for England. Under him, Ipswich had played a unique system suited to the players, which is what Sir Alf did to win the World Cup with England. You could argue, that Ranieri has got Leicester to play in a style that suits his players strengths and no other club has really found the answer yet!

I do wonder if Ramsey and Ranieri, who were both defenders, learned their management skills watching from the back, as the forwards wasted chances galore.

As an aside, hoe much would Chelsea or Manchester City pay for a striker, who scored thirty-three goals in a season?

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Sport | , , | 2 Comments

The Leicester Effect

One of the readers of this blog, is a US-based Corporate Lawyer, who specialises in doing the legals for US companies, which are often hi-tech companies at the smaller end, who want to have a presence in Europe. Like me, he is widowed and in his sixties, so he started reading this site initially to satisfy his passion for European travel, as he felt we might have similar tastes and interests. Which after meeting a couple of times in London, I can confirm.

A couple of times, he’s asked me to look at particular places, as some of his clients are thinking of going there. I’ve also been sent profiles of some of his clients and asked to recommend a suitable place for them in the UK.

In one case, he asked me to suggest a place for a guy, who was a serious small-boat sailor, who wanted to set up a support office for about twenty, with good access to airports for the US and Europe. His wife was also a financial analyst for a US bank and was intending to work in the City. They felt they needed to be somewhere like Hampshire.

I suggested that they have a look at Ilford because.

  • The sailing in Essex is some of the best in the world.
  • Offices are plentiful and affordable.
  • You’re close to the City and the centre of London.
  • In a couple of years time, they’ll be a direct link to Heathrow.

The company now has a support base for Europe in a new office close to Ilford station.

The couple have bought a flat near the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The clincher on their choice, was they both like football and they have got season tickets for West Ham for next year.

I’ve met them a couple of times and don’t regret their decisions at all.

Last night, the US Corporate Lawyer sent me this e-mail.

I keep getting asked by companies about Leicester.

It’s all to do with the soccer and possibly the evil King found in a parking lot.

What do you know about Leicester?

Is it a good place to live and do business?

What are the transport connections to London like?


I shall go this week with my camera.

But who’d have thought a few years ago, that Leicester City would create inward investment into the city?

May 1, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | 2 Comments

There’s No Football In London Today

As today would appear to be the best day for weather this Easter, I thought it might be an idea to go and see some live football.

But there’s not one match in London at all from the National League upwards!

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

From Leeds To Burnley Manchester Road

I’d gone to Burnley for the football via Leeds, as the West Coast Main Line seemed to be partly closed and I also wanted to take a look at the recently-opened Apperley Bridge station, which I wrote about in The New Apperley Bridge Station.

The trains across the Pennines on Saturdays are an hourly service at xx:08 from York to Blackpool North, that calls at New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Halifax and Hebden Bridge, on the section of route I would travel.

The train was busy and I was unable to get any decent pictures, but my 12:08 departure dropped me on time in Burnley Manchester Road station at 13:11. I wrote about the scenic qualities of the route before in The Scenic Route From Leeds To Manchester.

Burnley Manchester Road station doesn’t have a taxi rank, but I was able to hi-jack an empty one and the driver took me to my Premier Inn just north of the town centre and Turf Moor for a fiver.

It was a hard-fought match and a goalless draw was a fair result.

The Premier Inn is a useful one, as it is only a few minutes walk down and up the hill to Turf Moor.

One of the staff told me, that they get a lot of walkers and cyclists using the hotel as a half-way point on the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal.


January 2, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Brentford’s New Stadium Is A Step Nearer

This article in the Construction Enquirer is entitled Go-ahead for Brentford FC stadium and 650 homes.

The article describes how detailed planning permission has been secured and that given the result of a Public Enquiry is settled, construction will be completed for Brentford to move in at the start of the 2018-19 season.

The new stadium will have a capacity 20,000 as opposed to 12,300 for Griffin Park.

This Google Map shows the new stadium’s location in Lionel Road South.

Brentford's New Stadium

Brentford’s New Stadium

Most of the site and all of the stadium are within the triangle of rail lines above Kew Bridge station, which is at the bottom of the map. The M4 Motorway curves round the North side of the site.

Maps from the club, show that the stadium lies alongside the railway line at the top of the triangle.

This Google Map shows an enlargement of just the area of the development.

Enlarged Map Of Site

Enlarged Map Of Site

This line goes between Brentford and South Acton stations, although there are currently no passenger services, but there have been services in the last twenty years. It should be noted though that Transport for London have thought about using this line to extend the London Overground to Hounslow station.

Having met one of TfL’s property experts, I feel that they would be amenable to plans to use the air space above the line.

The line at the bottom of the triangle is the Hounslow Loop Line, where Kew Bridge station is very convenient for the ground.

The triangle is completed by a curve that connects the North London Line to the Hounslow Loop Line.

It should also be noted that at the eastern edge of the main map is Gunnersbury station, which along with Kew Bridge station is one of the proposed ways to get to the stadium.

I do wonder, if TfL’s ambitions for the London Overground, would be heklped by a station on the line at the top of the triangle.

On a first look, it looks like a good attempt to squeeze a football stadium into West London.

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Better Experience In Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes has never been my favourite place, since I used to take my late son; George, to his boarding school, which inevitably meant a trip round the endless roundabouts. I was then mugged in the city by the street furniture, that I wrote about in A Pedestrian-Unfriendly City.

So when Ipswich were playing MK Dons, I thought I’d give the city one more chance.

These are a few observations.

  • The London Midland train was filthy and swimming in beer. I would assume it was supporters going to London.
  • There is no information at Milton Keynes Central station, as to how you get to the ground.
  • Bus 1 from Milton Keynes Central station, drops you just a rather cluttered short walk from Stadium MK.
  • There are no signs or maps for Away supporters, as to what is the best route.
  • Someone told me, that if you drive to the ground, parking costs £7 and you have to pay on-line.
  • I’ve never been to a British stadium before, where burger vans and tea stalls outside the ground, were conspicuous by their absence.
  • Several of the larger restaurants outside serve gluten-free food.
  • The stadium has some of the best handrails I’ve seen in a ground.
  • Coming back I just missed a bus and had to wait half-an-hour for the next small but full bus in a freezing cold shelter. I’d have taken a taxi, but there was no sign of a taxi rank.

I’ve never seen a ground, where it is assumed that everyone comes by car or supporters coach before.

I would have been distinctly miserable if Ipswich hadn’t won!

Milton Keynes is going to have to improve the buses. The number one bus, that I caught links Stadiujm MK and Milton Keynes Hospital to the stations at Milton Keynes Central and Bletchley.

This Google Map shows the area of Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes Stations, Stadium MK And The Hospital

Milton Keynes Stations, Stadium MK And The Hospital

Milton Keynes Central station is in the North West corner, with Bletchley station st the bottom. The other station at the right is Fenny Stratford station on the Marston Vale Line, which will be incorporated into the East West Rail Link.

This map shows the route of the proposed line.

East West Rail Link

East West Rail Link

Wikipedia talks about extending the Marston Vale line to Milton Keynes Central, but although the track has been created, no trains have run.

Chiltern are also looking to extend their Aylesbury service to Milton Keynes Central via Bletchley, so hopefully this might prompt improvement in the bus services to Stdium MK and the Hospital.

I doubt it will, as Milton Keynes is one of those places where you’re a total loser, if you don’t have car and why should their taxes provide for better bus transport for the disabled, elderly and those that can’t drive.

I think we need a law in this country, that every hospital should have at least a four buses per hour direct service to the main railway and bus stations.

December 13, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment