Catering for train travel

Sunday 5th June 2022 Over the last few weeks I’ve been keeping notes of the state of catering for passengers travelling first class on trains. Here’s my report complete with a complimentary coffee, biscuits and packet of sea salt flavoured crisps. It’s only long distance ‘inter-city’ train operators who get involved in on board catering... Continue Reading →

Fifteen random Rail Rover reflections

Saturday 4th June 2022 It's a week since I completed my spring time seven-day All Line Rover. Here are a few random reflections on my week long travels around the country with apologies to Twitter followers who may already have read much of the following from last week. 1. Checks on first class abusers on... Continue Reading →

ScotRail’s woes are ember’s gains

Thursday 2nd June 2022 Monday last week saw Scotland’s rail timetables slashed by a third with many last journeys brought forward to early/mid evening to better match reduced driver availability due to staff shortages (post Covid training backlog) and ASLEF’s continuing overtime ban in pursuit of a pay claim. Prior to the reduced timetables services... Continue Reading →

GWR quits Brighton. What a shame.

30th April 2022 If you fancy taking a direct train from Brighton station to somewhere beyond the normal Southern/ Thameslink outposts of Southampton, London Victoria, Bedford, Cambridge or Hastings/Ore then you’ve got just ten working days left. After Friday 13th May those destinations will be the limit of your rail travel experience without a change... Continue Reading →

More travels across Crossrail

Sunday 30th January 2022 Flashback to those innocent days in summer 2018 when all was ready for the December opening. Following yesterday's blog when I explored how Crossrail is set to change the travel landscape between Abbey Wood and Liverpool Street, it's now time to continue westwards through the new central core towards Paddington from... Continue Reading →

Travels across Crossrail

Saturday 29th January 2022 The sign says Crossrail, so it must be. With Crossrail construction finally in sight of the finishing line and the network's long awaited opening now expected within a matter of weeks I took a ride along the new stretch of line last week so I can appreciate first hand the significantly... Continue Reading →

The expansion before the cuts?

Thursday 16th December 2021 As trailed in Tuesday’s blog about Soham, on Monday and Tuesday I took a look at a couple of other developments in the new winter rail timetable which commenced on Sunday. If one of LNER’s no expense spared razzmatazz launches is anything to go by the most exciting December development by... Continue Reading →

On board the Highland Explorer

Thursday 4th November 2021 When Abellio was awarded the ScotRail franchise commencing April 2015 I was really pleased to hear their commitment to promoting Scotland’s wonderful scenic rail lines including the introduction of better seats lining up with windows and other innovations including better facilities to encourage cyclists on board with more cycle spaces. Six... Continue Reading →

Welcome back to the Island Line

Tuesday 2nd November 2021 It’s taken over six months longer than planned but after a £26 million upgrade and four of the five ‘new’ two-coach trains delivered it’s good to see the Island Line up and running again between Ryde Pier and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. I won’t repeat my thoughts expressed when... Continue Reading →

An HST on the S&C

Thursday 22nd July 2021 It’s wonderful to see the 'Staycation Express' run by Rail Charter Services back again on the Settle & Carlisle Line for the summer. And even better than last year’s trial, it’s being run by a former Great Western Railway High Speed Train in a very smart green and silver livery. This... Continue Reading →

More mixed messaging on the railway

Tuesday 20th July 2021 I made six train journeys on Saturday and experienced more mixed messaging leaving me wondering whether our Government controlled railways along with the train companies really are interested in attracting passengers back on board particularly following yesterday’s withdrawal of Covid restrictions. During the early months of the pandemic messaging was all... Continue Reading →

The Heart of Wales

Wednesday 7th July 2021 It takes around four hours to travel by train between Swansea and Shrewsbury via the Heart of Wales railway line. You can shave a good hour off that by travelling via Cardiff, Newport and Hereford on the main line but lovely and scenic though that route is, especially between Cwmbran and... Continue Reading →

Travelling across Wales with Gerald

Tuesday 29th June 2021 Gerald of Wales was an Archdeacon of Brecon born in 1146 in Pembrokeshire who travelled extensively in his life, not least all over Wales. He’s given his name to a "Premier Service" train that runs once a day in each direction between Holyhead (leaving in the early morning) and Cardiff (returning... Continue Reading →

Electrified Corby

Saturday 5th June 2021 There was only one development of note introduced in last month's timetable change on Great British Railways (I know I'm premature but just seeing how it'll sound) and that was on the Midland Main Line where East Midlands Railways (EMR) introduced an improved service between Corby and St Pancras International using... Continue Reading →

Outpaced

Friday 28th May 2021 This weekend sees the withdrawal from service of Britain’s last Pacer trains. Northern Rail did the decent thing to their Pacer fleet last November while Great Western Railway followed in December. The DfT’s derogation to use these trains with their outdated non-accessible features runs out on 31st May (having been extended... Continue Reading →

First Group v Serco. Sleepers compared

Saturday 15th May 2021 Night Riviera and Caledonian Sleeper both conjure up romantic images of wonderful train travel through the night whisking you from one end of the country to another. Britain's sleeper trains certainly do that, taking you from London's Paddington just before midnight and waking up in Penzance for breakfast at 8am or... Continue Reading →

A first class scam?

Thursday 10th December 2020 Have you heard of ‘Seatfrog’? It’s been LNER’s way of offering upgrades from standard class to first class on its trains since 2017. More recently it's begun doing the same for Avanti West Coast and GWR . Although it’s been around for three years I only gave it a try for... Continue Reading →

Eploring the Abbey Line

Tuesday 27th October 2020 I recently had the pleasure of exploring the Abbey Line with my friend Geoff Marshall. Geoff's a professional and brilliant YouTube Creator producing engaging videos about all things track based including the epic All The Stations series he and his wife Vicky undertook in 2017 as well as the LEJOG trip... Continue Reading →

Walking Wherryman’s Way

Friday 18th September 2020 Wherryman's Way is an eight-and-a-half-mile footpath along the north side of the River Yare between Great Yarmouth and Reedham. Half way along the River Waveney joins - at Berney Arms, famed for its no-road-access-isolated station, closed pub and disused windmill. I'd planned to walk from Great Yarmouth to Berney Arms back... Continue Reading →

Berney’s back in business

Monday 24th February 2020 The rail line between Reedham and Great Yarmouth, on what's known as the Wherry Lines, closed back in October 2018 to allow for upgrade work on track, level crossings and signalling. Sixteen months later it's good to see the line has reopened today and trains are once again calling at the... Continue Reading →

Revolutionising the Harrogate experience

Friday 17th Janurary 2020 Last month's timetable change saw a greatly improved train service for Harrogate with LNER introducing direct trains to and from London Kings Cross every two hours; a substantial increase over the once a day journey which previously ran. Six daily southbound departures from Harrogate leave at 07:34; 09:36; 11:36; 13:36; 15:36 and... Continue Reading →

Two different train journeys

Friday 10th January 2020 I took a couple of train journeys today to catch up on two recent rail industry developments. First up was SWR's newly refurbished Class 442 trains now back in service after a bit of hiatus last summer after issues with the door locking mechanism and then compatibility with signal equipment. Apparently... Continue Reading →

Power failure empowers staff

Wednesday 18th December 2019 There's never a good time to have a complete signal failure at East Croydon but for the power to go down just as the evening peak is kicking in around 16:45 is probably one of the worst of times. I'm sure everyone at Network Rail did their very best to get... Continue Reading →

Bristol Fast to Warrington West

Monday 16th December 2019 One of two brand new stations opened for business on the rail network yesterday, Warrington West; so I took a ride there today to take a look. But just for fun I decided to go the long way round from London and sample GWR's new speeded up timetable which also began... Continue Reading →

TfL reaches Reading

Thursday 28th November 2019 The rail industry's fond of slipping in new developments before they're officially due to start; they call it a 'preview service'. It's just happened again on the stopping service between Reading and Paddington currently operated by GWR and where most of the service is to be handed over to TfL Rail... Continue Reading →

AZUMA reaches Lincoln

Monday 21st October 2019 LNER's flagship AZUMA trains started running between Lincoln and London Kings Cross today. They're journeys which previously just ran between Newark North Gate and Kings Cross now projected back to start at Lincoln, so they're not new journeys on the actual East Coast Main Line (ECML). They provide a significant boost... Continue Reading →

A south Suffolk saunter

Friday 26th July 2019 I incorporated Wednesday's ride on Buckland Buses' splendid 1929 Dennis on route 250 between Aldeburgh and Thropeness into an enjoyable couple of days saunter around the lovely countryside in south Suffolk. On Tuesday morning I caught the stopping train to Ipswich out of Liverpool Street at 11:04 as far as Marks... Continue Reading →

Three Staffordshire bus rides

Tuesday 9th July 2019  Welcome to a fourth day of travelling to tick off various 'to do' routes, destinations, new buses and trains which began with an early start from Llandrindod Wells on the first 06:18 journey which starts its journey at this lovely station and continues beyond Shrewsbury as a stopping train through to... Continue Reading →

New sleeper turns into a bad dream

Tuesday 25th June 2019 There's something seriously amiss with Caledonian Sleeper's train service. I've blogged about the new Mark 5 coaches a couple of times recently (here and here) highlighting the teething problems I encountered, in particular no water in the en-suite shower in my supposedly swanky new 'Club' room on two of the three... Continue Reading →

LEJOG: As it happened

This is the story of how a journey on the Longest Day of the year from Lands End to John O'Groats by ground public transport (that's bus and train) unfolded in real time. The original plan, as described in Wednesday's (19th June) blog was to complete the end-to-end journey in just under 24 hours. Except,... Continue Reading →

LEJOG: The plan

Wednesday 19th June 2019 To celebrate a year of blogging and the upcoming Longest Day of the year I'm heading down to Cornwall on GWR's Night Riviera sleeper train tonight to begin an epic 24-hour Lands End to John O'Groats trip by bus and train beginning tomorrow, Thursday, afternoon. On most weekdays, this famous journey... Continue Reading →

All steamed up in Ongar

Sunday 9th June 2019 The Epping Ongar Railway is having one of its popular steam weekends this weekend and I took a ride to the end of the Central Line to have a look. Thanks to Roger Wright's ownership interests, you can always count on decent bus connections from right outside Epping Station to North... Continue Reading →

A day in Stranraer and The Rhins

Thursday 6th June 2019 It may not rank as high as the West Highland Line, the Kyle of Lochalsh Line or the Far North Line in the great Scottish Scenic Rail Lines stakes but ScotRail have rightly designated the line down to Stranraer as a Scenic Rail Journey and very justifiably so too. While I... Continue Reading →

Sleeping Beauty (not quite yet)

Monday 3rd June 2019 It was meant to be the grand launch night, last night. Serco owned Caledonian Sleeper had planned to begin running their much delayed smart new Mark 5 trains on the Lowland route between London's Euston station and Edinburgh and Glasgow from Sunday 2nd June so I bought a ticket to Glasgow... Continue Reading →

Medway Valley by train

Saturday 1st June 2019 There's a lovely railway branch line which heads in a north/south direction across the centre of Kent where Southeastern trains shuttle up and down all day between Tonbridge in the Weald and Strood in the more industrial north of the county. It's a quiet backwater line weaving its way between the... Continue Reading →

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