The Anonymous Widower

DfT Keen To Encourage Rail Travel For Football Fans

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 873 of Rail Magazine.

I was moved to send this letter to the magazine.

Was this title on page 17 of Issue 873 serious or an ironic joke?

I am a seventy-one-year-old Ipswich fan and Season Ticket holder, who lives in London, within walking distance of Liverpool Street station on a fine day.

Over the last six or seven years, I have been unable to see Home matches as often, as I would like, as on perhaps half of weekend match days, there have been no trains running on the Great Eastern Main Line, due to the constant maintenance. Or is it a complete rebuilding for 140 mph trains?

To be fair, I have occasionally used the replacement buses, but the problem is that they make the journey well over an hour longer. So on a match day, there is no time left for anything else!

I had to watch the two Ipswich-Norwich matches on television, as on both these Sundays to get to the match by mid-day was impossible and probably needed an overnight stay!

I accumulated my very adequate pension pot, by writing software to schedule resources on complicated projects. Surely, Network Rail, Greater Anglia, the Premier League and the EFL can agree a plan that is better than the current shambles.

Greater Anglia surely have the means to improve the situation arriving in their depots.

Pairs of  four-car Class 755 trains could run reduced services via Cambridge.

  • If the line is blockaded between Ipswich and London, then a direct service could be run between Norwich and London via Ipswich and Cambridge.
  • If the line is blockaded between Ipswich and Norwich, then a direct service could be run between Norwich and London via Cambridge.

Although, this has nothing to do with football, pairs of Class 755 trains would also be useful for running a service between Peterborough and London, when the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line is closed.

I shall add a few extra notes to this on-line version of the letter.

Class 755 Trains

Points about Class 755 trains.

  • They are 100 mph trains on both electric and diesel, and probably have similar performance to the current Class 90 locomotive/Mark 3 coaches that run between Liverpool Street and Norwich.,
  • Capacity of a pair of Class 755 trains is 458 seats, as against the 514 seats of the current stock.
  • The interior will be suitable for services between London and Norwich.
  • The trains and their crews will probably be certified for all of Greater Anglia’s Network.
  • A single train is eighty metres long and a pair would be 160 metres.
  • The trains should fit all important main-line stations on the Greater Anglia Network.

I also suspect that these trains could run into Kings Cross station, either using the East Coast Main Line or the Hertford Loop Line.

They are blockade-busters par excellence.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Are Treating Norwich And Ipswich Fans With Contempt

Over the last few years, I have gone to perhaps half-a-dozen Ipswich-Norwich Derbies.

Last season, I didn’t get to either match, as Network Rail, thought that these days were ideal to do engineering work on the Great Eastern Main Line.

As if, there hasn’t been enough in the time since I’ve moved to London in 2010.

Normally, I would have bought a ticket for the match on February 10th in Norwich at 12:00 in the morning.

But I have just looked up the train times to get there for a match start at that time on a Sunday.

The only service leaves Liverpool Street at 07:08 and arrives in Norwich at 10:12! It also involves an hour on a bus. I would probably arrive back home at around seven in the evening.

I have other things to do, like getting something to eat and as a coeliac, I can’t just pop into the average take-away, unless I wanted to spend another three hours sitting on the toilet.

Why is there no liaison between Network Rail and the two football clubs, so that essential work is done on less important days?

To make things worse, on Saturday the 2nd, they’re getting the buses out again. So that’s another match I’ll miss!

This season it has been easier to watch Away matches than Home ones.

When are Network Rail going to stop treating regular travellers with such downright contempt?

January 27, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

This Must Be The Football Story Of 2018

This article on SpireFM is entitled Never Mind The FA Cup Final – One Local Village School Has Scooped Gold At A Huge Football Festival For Children Aged 10-12!

This is the first threeof paragraphs.

From football on a village green in the New Forest and dodging ponies to playing at the home of Coventry City.

It’s fair to say it’s been an exciting weekend for Hale Primary!

The team progressed through the county and regional finals to earn a place at the national finals of the Danone Nations Cup, the English leg of the world’s biggest football festival for children aged 10-12.

And they won in a penalty shootout.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

Exclusive Footie Shocker

The title of this post, is the same as that at the top of the front page of today’s Sun.

It is not about the latest Premier League star being found in bed with a bevy of young beautiful ladies or losing his money in casinos, but this.

Kante Pays More Tax Than Amazon & Starbucks

As ever The Sun has got straight to the point.

The BBC shows the front page with this comment.

The Sun leads with a story on Chelsea FC footballer N’Golo Kante, who it says has signed a million pound deal which will see him pay more tax than Amazon and Starbucks combined. The 27-year-old chose not to use a scheme to be paid via offshore firms, meaning he will pay £6.7m in tax.

Luckily, I have no need to use companies like Amazon, Facebook and Starbucks.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Sport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Are Greater Anglia Buying So Many Class 755 Trains, So They Can Run A Better Service During Constant Works On The Great Eastern?

Yet again, they were rebuilding the Great Eastern Main Line, so I didn’t get to football at Ipswich yesterday.

It’s not that I mind the buses, but it means two things.

  • I have to leave so early, that I can’t do my weekly shop before I go.
  • I also get back so late that I will miss Strictly on the television.

There is also the problem, that Ipswich is one of the worst places to find a gluten-free meal, unless you go to Pizza Express.

I often have my lunch before I travel or take it on the train from Leon or M & S.

For some time now, I’ve suspected that Greater Anglia have ordered a lot more Class 755 trains, than they need, based on a train-for-train replacement basis

It now becomes obvious why!

At weekends, they will link four-car trains together and run four trains per hour on the following routes.

  • Norwich to Cambridge
  • Ipswich to Cambridge

One train in four will continue to and from London after Cambridge.

On the other hand, it could be a plot by Norwich fans in Greater Anglia’s headquarters in Norwich to annoy Ipswich fans!

 

 

September 23, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Football From Hampden To Murrayfield Is Vandalism

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Scotsman.

I’m not bothered, as I doubt, I’ll ever go to Scotland to watch an important Scottish football match, that would be played at their National Stadium.

But, I have been to Hampden Park before.

I was there fifty years ago, when Spurs and Celtic drew 3-3 in the Glasgow Cup. I also suspect that the 91,000 plus crowd was the largest, I’ve ever been part of.

And I was at Hampden to see the athletics in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

I have no view on the historic aspects of the possible move, except that there might be an economic case.

And I also note, France, the Republic of Ireland and Wales all have a stadium, that is shared between football and rugby.

But then Germany and Italy don’t have a national stadium for football.

I can see another big argument between Edinburgh and Glasgow on this decision.

Other the last decade though, transport links between and to and from Scotland’s two major cities have changed.

  • There have been extensions to the road network across Scotland.
  • The rail lines are being electrified and new higher-capacity Class 385 trains are being delivered.
  • Passenger numbers at both Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports have grown.

So at least getting to either stadium is becoming easier.

It will be a difficult decision to call.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Double Trouble For Southgate

Southgate is famous for its Underground station, which is Grade II* Listed.

Last night, there was an explosion, reported like this by Wikipedia.

On 19 June 2018, at around 19:00 BST there was an explosion at the entrance of the station, injuring five people.

Hopefully, everything will be fine!

And today, there is this report on the BBC, which is entitled World Cup 2018: England Manager Gareth Southgate Dislocates Shoulder.

That sound’s painful! Having met a few footballers, I suspect he’s being heavily teased.

 

 

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

World Cup Pub Quiz Qiuestion

Q: Why do the Icelandic team have the best teeth in the business?

A: According to Wikipedia, the manger; Heimir Hallgrímsson is a dentist!

June 16, 2018 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

England’s First Victory In The 2018 World Cup

This article on the BBC is entitled The Lawnmower Firm Planning World Cup Pitch Invasion.

This is said.

A business is working on its largest ever order – supplying lawnmowers for the World Cup in Russia.

Allett Mowers is providing 185 machines to stadia.

We may not be the best at football, but we could be the best at mowing.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

OLE Upgrades Complete At Anglia As Part Of £46m Transformation

The title of this article, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

I hope this is actually the case.

  • I’ve had enough of rail replacement buses, when trying to get to football at Ipswich on a Saturday.
  • For at least the last three years, I’ve probably seen more away matches, than those at Portman Road.
  • Three hours each way to Ipswich, effectively means, the only pleasurable thing you do is see the match.
  • This work has probably hit attendances at both Norwich and Ipswich.
  • I’ve renewed my season ticket fort next season, but if it is as thin on home matches as this one has been, it will be my last season of travel.

What puzzles me, is why can’t Network Rail adjust their work schedule, so that at least important matches like the two Derbies have trains?

But then you wouldn’t rate Network Rail highly for Project Management!

 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment