The Anonymous Widower

Getting To The Falkirk Wheel And The Kelpies

I took a train to Falkirk Grahamstown station and then got a pink bus called The Loop.

I know it is relatively early days, but information for the bus needs to be improved. You can find the stops easily, but knowing how long to wait is difficult, unless you are psychic. A big poster is needed in every stop, with the times that the buses arrive clearly marked.

The stops should also be clearly marked on the maps on the liths!

This type of tourist bus is crying out for a contactless ticketing system using bank/credit cards. Every time, the bus is used you touch in and at the end of the day your card would be charged appropriately.

In the next few years, this will become the gold standard for small payments and buses like this, that don’t embrace the technology will get lots of complaints.

If the Falkirk Wheel attracts a massive number of visitors, I feel that the area could support a rail station. Look at this Google Map of the lower basin at the wheel.

The Railway Passing The Falkirk Wheel

The Railway Passing The Falkirk Wheel

The railway is the line between Stirling and Glasgow and the bridge across the railway leads to the car park for the Falkirk Wheel.

To actually build a simple station should be fairly easy and visitor numbers and the level of success of the attraction will determine, if the station is ever built.

I think it will be built, as it has so many factors going for it.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Days In Preston

It may seem strange to go for a holiday in Preston. But I had time to spare and so I went to Liverpool last Wednesday and then spent the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights in the Premier Inn at Preston, with the extension of exploring the area using the trains and then seeing Ipswich at Blackburn on the Saturday.

I have visited Preston several times and I stayed in the hotel once, because it is an easy walk from the rail station.

The council are sorting out the town with new pavements, road layout and maps on liths.

It is a great improvement and will be even better when it is completed.

It would be good if Preston station was improved, especially as it will become an electric hub for local services all over the North West, with new electric services to Blackpool, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester and possibly a few others like Colne in the next few years.

Would I use Preston as a base for a tour of the North West again?

I have one problem with Preston and that is the bad provision of gluten-free food in the town. There is only the one Pizza Express that I would trust and the Marks and Spencer doesn’t stock any gluten-free sandwiches.

Perhaps to stay near the station in Carlisle, Liverpool or Manchester would be better!

I used one of UK rail’s Rover tickets, which is called a Freedom of the North West 4 in 8 Day Rover. This is the rough availability.

The rover allows travel to Carlisle from Barrow, Dumfries, Lockerbie and Hexham.

It also covers the area bounded by the Settle-Carlisle, Barrow, Morecambe, Blackpool, Southport, Shipley to Bradford, Leeds, Halifax, Oldham, Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington Bank Quay to Helsby, Chester, Shotton, West Kirkby and New Brighton.

Available any 4 days within an 8 day period.

And you can use it on all the franchised train companies like Merseyrail, Northern, Virgin and TransPennine! It’s a two part ticket.

My Rover Ticket

My Rover Ticket

No ticket inspector seemed to give it more than a cursory glance.

I actually didn’t know the ticket existed, when I went North to Liverpool. So I should have bought the ticket at Lime Street and saved myself about a tenner. I returned via Manchester, so I used the ticket to get from Blackburn to Manchester Victoria after the match.

These tickets are certainly a good way of having a few days away and seeing the country. This map of the north west part of Northern Rail’s franchise.

Northern Rail NW Map

Northern Rail NW Map

The southern boundary of the ticket I used is roughly defined by Liverpool, Chester, Warrington and Manchester.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wayfinding In Southamption

Southampton, or at least the parts I visited seems to have a comprehensive wayfinding system.

This web site shows the design, which is based on similar rules to London. A similar system will be rolled out all over Hampshire. The Hampshire web site says this.

The project team responsible for the signage is learning lessons from similar work elsewhere, including the recent Southampton legible cities project and the Legible London scheme.

So are we getting a de facto standard for wayfinding all over the country?

I hope so!





January 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Leeds Has Now Got Liths

Last time that I went to Leeds, this wasn’t there outside the station.

Leeds Has Now Got Liths

Leeds Has Now Got Liths

It’s good to see more towns and cities jumping on London’s bandwagon. The system is called Walk It Leeds and there’s more here.

I think that in a few years time, every city and town will have a top class wayfinding system. The next thing that needs sorting out, is a system so that visitors can use the buses easily.

Most of these systems are computer generated, so to do another place, just needs to put in the co-ordinates of where you want a map and run the program, changing the colours and logos to suit.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Well-Mapped City Centre

Peterborough city centre is well provided with maps.

Some are typical of other cities, but in all my travels, I’ve never seen a map of virtually a whole city centre laid out on the floor, as the big map was in the Queensgate shopping centre.

One of the sections of the big map, shows the area, where my paternal grandmother was born in Whitsed Street.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Greeted By A Map In Bordeaux

Virtually without exception at any London station, you get greeted by a map on a lith.

Greeted By A Map In Bordeaux

Greeted By A Map In Bordeaux

It was a surprise to be greeted in the same manner as I exited Bordeaux station.

Unfortunately, the detail was a bit fine and I couldn’t find the road, where my hotel was located.

But I was put right by the girls in the Tourist Office nearby and quickly bought a ticket for the trams and was on one to Quinconces near to the hotel.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Legible Brighton

Like London, Brighton has gone Legible with lots of liths. Legible Brighton is described here. The page contains this statement.

Research has shown that people are more likely to return to a city if they have found it easy to navigate their way around.

So why are some places, slow to follow the lead of London and Glasgow? Here’s one of Brighton’s liths.

One Of Brighton's Liths

One Of Brighton’s Liths

They are generally fairly simple, like most of London’s.

November 20, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

My Use Of The Word Lith

I grew up in my father’s print works, where words were the substance of the business. My generation also used to make up words much more than most seem to do today. For instance at school, we used to use the word plob for the little stopper in the end of a Bic pen.

On the Wikipedia entry for Legible London there is a section, that describes the elements of the system.

The existing primary Legible London on-street signs or information boards are the ‘Monolith’ ‘Midilith’ and ‘Minilith’ which are free standing signs made of a mixture of vitreous enamel and vinyl printed glass materials within a stainless steel frame. 

So I just shortened the whole of that to liths, as a convenient collective term for all of them. It also means, that I don’t have to state what type of lith it is.

I shall do what my father would have done over questions of words and contact the OED.

November 3, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A Phallic Lith

Is there any other way to describe this lith at the Emirates Air-Line?

A Phallic Lith

A Phallic Lith

London doesn’t appear to be too dictatorial about the liths, as some like this one seem to go their own way.

October 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Sad, Lonely Lith On The Regent’s Canal

I encountered this sad and lonely lith surrounded by rubbish on the Regents Canal today.

I was walking the canal to try to see if I could find anything to raise at the De Beauvoir Ward Forum in the evening.

We need more of these at every entrance to the tow-path and I hope the rubbish is cleared up soon.

It’s the first lith, I’ve seen that has been vandalised.

October 29, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment