The Anonymous Widower

An Advance Single From London To York For £32.90 Bought An Hour Before The Train Left

I went to York and Manchester yesterday.

I had been planning to do this trip for a week or so, but as I have lots of other things to do, I didn’t want to decide on a date.

So on Monday, I went to King’s Cross and investigated how much a London to York single ticket would cost.

I was surprised to find, that if I bought it last minute from a ticket machine with a Senior Railcard, that travelling about eleven in the morning I could get a ticket for £55 on the 11:06, which is a service that terminates at York, but is a few minutes slower.

Everything was clear for a trip yesterday and just after ten, I turned up at King’s Cross.

The machine offered me tickets at £81.90 on the 10:30 and 11:00 services, but I was able to get a ticket for £32.90 on the 11:06.

I was also able to ask for and get a forward-facing window seat with a table.

It looks like LNER are trying to sell as many seats as possible and they have developed, an algorithm that does this.

If I look at buying a ticket for today on the 11:06 on the Internet, I’m offered the following prices.

  • Advance Single – £32.90
  • Super Off-Peak Single – £81.90
  • Anytime Single – £94.35

There is even a First Class Advance Single at £45.90.

Conclusion

It pays to do your research.

It looks like a one-way journey by an electric car would take four hours and cost around £20.

August 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

My First Ride On The Midland Metro To Edgaston Village

I went to Birmingham today and took the Midland Metro to its new terminus at Edgbaston Village.

I have a few thoughts.

The Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

The Edgbaston Village tram stop is the new terminus of Line 1 of the West Midlands Metro, which is shown in the first eight pictures.

  • The station has two tracks and two platforms, which would obviously allow extension to a new terminus.
  • Plans exist for a terminus at Quinton, according to Wikipedia.
  • As each platform could probably handle between four and six trams per hour (tph), the current layout could probably handle up to 12 tph.
  • The Edgbaston Village tram stop is fully wired.
  • I watched three or four trams come and go and both platforms are used.

As the pictures show there is still work to do and it looks like this will create a bus stop on the main road by the side of the main road.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop To Edgbaston Stadium

This Google Map shows the area between the tram stop and the stadium.

Note.

  1. The Edgbaston Village tram stop is on the A456 to the North of the of the red arrow marking Edgbaston Village in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Edgbaston stadium is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. I estimate that the distance between the tram stop and the stadium is a little over two kilometres.

I have a feeling there are more direct routes by bus, but I feel that for many people, who take the tram to Edgbaston Village. the walk wouldn’t be too much, especially with a refreshment stop.

Brindleyplace

The tram now gives access to Brindleyplace, where I had lunch.

Note in the the pictures of this stop, there are overhead wires.

Library Tram Stop

Library tram stop is now a through stop, as the pictures show.

Charging Trams At The Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Not all trams seem to put their pantograph up, so I would assume a double trip between Grand Central and Edgbaston Village is possible on a full battery, that has been charged on the trip from Wolverhampton, with a bit of assistance on the wires through Brindleyplace tram stop.

The Dreaded Advertising Wrap

One of the trams I rode, had one of those dreaded advertising wraps, that ruin the view from the tram.

When will the dunderheads, who decide these things, that to many travellers on trams, they are a complete no-no.

Whenever, I arrive in a new city, I will often take a city-centre tram to get a feel of the city.

When I see advertising wraps on trams, I don’t.

Ticketing

If you go to Liverpool, which has no trams, the term Liverpool Stations on your train ticket includes the stations on the Wirral Loop, so you can get to any of the stations in the City Centre.

Manchester Stations, on a ticket also allows you to get around the city, when you first arrive.

London allows you add a Travelcard to your ticket, but because of contactless ticketing, you don’t need to.

A common scenario for visitors to Birmingham, is probably to use the tram to get somewhere in Zone 1.

So I had to buy an all-day Zone 1 ticket on the tram, which cost me £2.80

This is not good enough.

My preference would be to create a destination called Zone 1 Birmingham, which would allow unlimited trips in Zone 1 on the trams.

Sort it out Birmingham!

 

July 26, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

A Trip To Northfleet

Yesterday, I went to Northfleet station.

Partly, it was to have a drink with my old friend; Ian, but mainly it was to take some pictures to add to Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion.

Normally, when I go to see Ian I take the HighSpeed service out of St. Pancras.

But this service is expensive and as I was leaving from Moorgate, I decided to take the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood and get a train to Northfleet station instead.

I have a few thoughts on my journey.

Cost

I used my Freedom Pass to Abbey Wood and then bought an Off Peak Day Return between Abbey Wood and Northfleet for just £4.95 with a Senior Railcard.

Convenience

As you have to use one of the bridges at Abbey Wood to change to and from the Elizabeth Line, I used the one at the station end and popped through the barrier to buy my onward ticket from a machine.

Surely, Freedom Passes should be linked to a bank account, so if you want to stray outside Zone 6, you are automatically charged.

Elizabeth Line Messages On Southeastern

At Swanscombe station today, whilst waiting for my Thameslink train to take me back to Abbey Wood, I noticed that the displays were telling passengers to change at Abbey Wood for the Elizabeth Line.

You certainly wouldn’t use the dreadful Swanscombe station with heavy cases, but stations like Abbey Wood, Dartford, Gravesend and others would enable granny or grandpa to take a sensible-size wheeled case to Heathrow Airport with reasonable ease, once the Elizabeth Line becomes a fully-connected railway between Abbey Wood and Heathrow.

Onward Trains At Abbey Wood

There are two easy onward Thameslink tph at Abbey Wood, that run at sixteen and forty-six minutes past the hour.

You can also take the first Dartford train and then take the first train from there.

If you get the Thameslink train from Abbey Wood timings are as follows.

  • Slade Green – 6 minutes
  • Dartford – 11 minutes
  • Stone Crossing – 16 minutes
  • Greenhithe – 18 minutes
  • Swanscombe – 21 minutes
  • Northfleet – 23 minutes
  • Gravesend – 27 minutes
  • Higham – 33 minutes
  • Strood – 39 minutes
  • Rochester – 42 minutes
  • Chatham – 45 minutes
  • Gillingham – 50 minutes
  • Rainham – 55 minutes

Note.

  1. There are also two Southeastern tph between Charing Cross and Gravesend, but they don’t serve Abbey Wood.
  2. The timings appeared sensible in my two trips; yesterday and today.
  3. Travellers also have a choice in that they can use the more expensive HighSpeed services to selected stations.

After just missing a Thameslink train today by a few seconds, and then had to wait thirty minutes for the next train, I am convinced that there needs to be a four tph service between Abbey Wood and Rainham.

Four tph Between Rainham And Abbey Wood

In Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line, I said this about Western branch services.

When Crossrail is fully open, the Western Branch frequencies are planned to be as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood – 4 tph all day.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day.

This includes 6 tph between Heathrow and Abbey Wood all day.

Crossrail To Ebbsfleet is proposing that the South-Eastern branch will terminate as follows.

  • 4 tph – Abbey Wood
  • 4 tph – Northfleet
  • 4 tph – Gravesend

So will this mean that the six tph to Heathrow will be split equally between Abbey Wood, Northfleet and Gravesend, with two Heathrow tph terminating at each terminal?

The North Kent Metro

My naive mind thinks, why don’t the two Heathrow and Gravesend services terminate at Rainham?

This would give the following.

  • The minimum four tph between Abbey Wood and Rainham.
  • Rainham should be able to turnback for tph.
  • Services would call at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.

North Kent would have its own metro running under London Overground rules.

It could even start as soon as Class 345 trains are allowed to run to Rainham.

Airport Connect

Consider

  • The Elizabeth Line service between Abbey Wood and Rainham could serve Heathrow at its Western end.
  • The Thameslink service would serve Luton Airport Parkway.
  • Both services would serve Liverpool Street for the Stansted Express and services to and from Southend Airport.
  • Both services would serve Farringdon for services to and from Gatwick Airport.
  • An extra station at Silvertown could serve London City Airport.
  • In future, there could even be a connection to High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

One service on the Elizabeth Line would connect all these together.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

LNER Launches International Website Making Travel Simpler For Overseas Tourists

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on LNER.

These four paragraphs describe the new website.

The new website coincides with the removal of pre-departure testing and quarantine rules for vaccinated people arriving in England or Scotland from 11 February 2022.

In a move that expands LNER’s global market, customers in 10 countries, including China, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Italy, are among the first to benefit when booking directly online.

LNER’s new search and booking engine offers international customers in those countries an option to purchase train tickets using their language and currency. The LNER.co.uk website will automatically detect those customers who are searching outside of the UK and will redirect them to the customised site to improve their online booking experience. The website launch comes as LNER reintroduces its full timetable, excluding pre-planned engineering works, meaning customers can discover destinations across the full 956-miles of East Coast route.

LNER has been working with travel tech company and rail retailer, Omio, to develop the site, which has the capability to operate in up to 20 languages and 26 currencies, including Euros, Korean Won and Japanese Yen or by using a payment method recognised in the home country.

Surely, if you run a travel company, your web site must be accessible to buy tickets from everywhere.

February 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

LNER Tickets For Christmas Getaway

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in Edition 939 of Rail Magazine.

These are the first two paragraphs.

LNER has made available thousands of Advance tickets for the festive period.

It follows research by the operator suggesting that some 48% of people are planning to travel this Christmas to see family and friends, with 30% of them looking to book at least six weeks in advance.

This is surely a good thing and will LNER eventually copy Lumo in allowing ticket purchases longer in advance?

The article says that LNER Internet enquiries and ridership are on the up, with the latter at over 90 % of pre-pandemic levels.

 

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

My Ticket To Ride

I’ve just picked up my ticket to ride to Edinburgh on the 27th of next month from Dalston Junction station.

All very conventional!

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 5 Comments

LNER’s Terrible Tickets

On my last trip on LNER to Spalding, I had to buy the tickets in the Booking Office, as I can’t get the hang of their machines at King’s Cross.

Like several other companies, they have changed to thermal tickets.

They are awful!

  • You can’t put them in a typical pocket in a wallet.
  • They curl up.
  • I constantly drop them, because my left hand doesn’t work properly.
  • Is thermal paper as environmentally-friendly as the credit-car-sized card tickets?

They should be banned as soon as possible!

 

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 5 Comments

ScotRail Offers 1st Class For £3 As Luxury Travel Reintroduced

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

To encourage passengers back after the pandemic, Scotrail have introduced a three pound onboard upgrade to First Class on services on Inter7City and Class 385 train services.

This sounds like a good idea!

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rail Tourism Pass To Be Explored

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the August 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

The government is to pursue plans for a new domestic rail tourism product, building on the success of products such as the BritRail pass, only available to visitors to the UK from abroad.

I am basically in agreement with the proposal, but before anything too drastic is brought forward, it might be a good idea to build on what we already have.

These are a few thoughts.

Railcards

I am surprised at the number of people I talk to, who don’t have a railcard, despite the fact, that it would save them money.

So make sure, you have the right railcard.

Rangers And Rovers

Rovers and Rangers are tickets that allow you to wander about an area on the trains for a given period.

You may often find there is a ticket that will be ideal for exploring the area, where you are staying.

Breaking Journeys

This is a rule, that many travellers don’t know about and it can be very useful.

Suppose you are going between Ipswich and Cambridge and you want to break the journey at Newmarket to have lunch with a friend.

You can buy a ticket between Ipswich and Cambridge and break your journey at Newmarket and after lunch continue your journey.

This is allowed on most trains, but I would ask someone, in case there is a problem.

London Terminals Tickets

Often tickets will be labelled something like London Terminals or Manchester Stations.

A simple example would be a return to Cambridge from London, which might be labelled London Terminals.

This means that you can use the ticket to go out from Kings Cross and come back to Liverpool Street.

The London Zone 6 Extension Ticket

Often on a trip to London travellers will buy a Travelcard for London’s local transport.

Supposing on your trip to London, you needed to make a trip outside Zone 6 to visit someone.

Not everybody knows, you can buy a ticket from the Zone 6 boundary to a station outside the zone.

Conclusion

A Rail Tourism Pass may be a good idea, but I think it’s also important, that travellers learn to use what ticketing options are already in place.

 

August 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 6 Comments

Hull Trains Seat Allocation System

When I went to Hull recently, I used Hull Trains.

 

These pictures show the train as I boarded at London Kings Cross.

When I got my ticket out of the machine, I was very surprised to see the phrase No Specified Seat on the ticket.

I queried it with one of the LNER staff and they said, it will be alright and anyway, it is nothing to do with them.

When I got to the gate, I asked the guy from Hull Trains and he said, you’ll see when you get inside and something like. “Sit in any seat with a green flag!”

You can see the coloured flags on the seats in the pictures. The different colours mean.

  • Green – For single travellers
  • Red – Do not sit here
  • Yellow – For two or more travelling together.

So I choose a window seat with a green flag on it.

Did it work?

  • There were no families, but several  pairs of travellers and I suspect about sixty percent of the seats were taken.
  • Everybody was socially distanced and either had a spare seat or someone they knew next to them.
  • At one table, I could see four guys all sitting together,
  • The system deals with no-shows and leaves their seat for someone else.

Until proven otherwise, I think it worked well.

  • I didn’t get allocated a seat, but I’m certain the system would work well if say some seats had been allocated by the booking computer.
  • Seats could also be indicated by coloured lights.
  • But as Hull Trains had only just restarted after the attack of the covids.

I had to have a quiet smile though.

My father was a master at designing production control systems and coloured cards were one of the tools in his box.

Often cards for his big customers like Belling, Dunlop and Enfield Rolling Mills were intricate and numbered creations, all produced with letterpress and his two faithful Original Heidelberg Plattern Presses.

 

Original Heidelberg

With the right gadgets in the chase, that held the type, they could number, score and perforate. You couldn’t do those operations with litho, in the 1950s and 1960s.

I hadn’t realised much about this side of my father’s work, until I met Ray Askew, whilst walking our basset hound. He had a basset too and on talking,  it turned out he had worked for Enfield Rolling Mills and it was part of his job to source production control documents and he used to design them with my father, whose firm, then printed them!

Could This System Be Used On East Coast Trains?

East Coast Trains are another First Group company like Hull Trains, who will be running services between London and Edinburgh from some time next year.

I can’t see why they could use a developed version of this system, with tri-colour lights on the seats.

East Coast Trains will be aiming for a four hour service and I suspect they’d like people to just turn up and go, so quick ticketing would be needed. A simple app, where you said how many tickets and what train and then you just turned up in time for your train would do.

 

 

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment