Tags

, ,

– That’s probably because I grew up in a seaside town. Today I’m heading to the opposite coast and a rail line that’s one of only a handful I’ve never travelled on, the section of the ‘Poacher Line’ from Sleaford to Skegness. The weather’s ideal for scenic pictures so I’m hoping to have a productive day.

Right now I’m on a busy 2-car Northern service from Halifax to Leeds. Most of my fellow travellers are commuters, but a handful are dressed for leisure, not work and look far too happy to be heading to the office! I’m assuming they’re like me and taking full advantage of the brilliant weather…

My little train seems to be suffering. At every stop the Driver’s revving the engines making the whole carriage vibrate under the load. I can’t help wondering if it’s because he’s having problems maintaining air pressure. I’m hoping we’ll make it to Leeds without problems as I’ve suffered enough delays recently and I’ve a fair way to travel…

09:15

Well, we did make it to Leeds and a quick word with the driver confirmed falling air pressure was the cause of the engine revving. We still arrived in just enough time for me to catch LNER’s 09:16 to London which will carry me as far as Grantham. Outwardly there was nothing to herald the change from VTEC to LNER. The loco still carries Virgin branding and the sets in VTEC livery, but on the inside the route maps, cctv warnings and other signs have changed.

The train’s actually very busy leaving Leeds but I did manage to bag an airline seat in coach F. I suspect there’ll be none left at all by the time we’ve stopped at Wakefield and Doncaster.

Grantham. 10.57.

As predicted, the train did indeed fill up on its way South. Even so it was an enjoyable journey only slightly marred by the fact the power sockets were u/s. The countryside that flashed by looked its absolute best in this weather. England is truly a green and pleasant land when seen from a train window.

Now I’m at Grantham. A peculiar two hour gap in the timetable means I’ve more than an hour to wait although I’ve put it to good use by doing some shopping in the centre named after Isaac Newton (was he from here, really?). Back at the station I’m now doing my best ‘reptile basking in the sun’ impression whilst grabbing a few photos.

The station’s a fairly middle of the road, 4 platform affair. It’s not unattractive but it’s nothing special. At least most of the original buildings survived BR – which is more than can be said for many. There’s a ticket office and Starbucks in the main building (plus a Costa kiosk), a couple of commercial tenants too – but still plenty of unoccupied space, which is a shame – but I suspect the station’s just that little bit too far removed from the town centre to make it attractive. Still if you want the opportunity to add the station to the growing list of those with bars…

Non-stop services certainly thunder through here. The Up line is clear for 115 off the platform and it wouldn’t surprise me if the down lines not far behind.

11:45.

My 11:27’s running late. It’s now arrived in the shape of an East Mids 2 car Class 158 with all the hopper windows open (indicating the A/c has failed). Surprisingly, It’s not as rammed as I feared and I’ve managed to get a seat. We’re now on our way 20 mins late. The Conductor’s just announced it was late due to a set swap at Nottingham as the original unit failed!

Skegness. 21:01.

Well, I didn’t expect to still be here, but it’s been a really interesting day for a whole host of reasons. I’m going to round this blog off but I could write volumes…

The weather’s been so good and the opportunities to explore new track and territory so tempting that I’ve booked a B&B for the night. To be honest, at £32 it was a steal. The room is fine, the staff are good and I’ve finally found out what everybody does after 6.30pm when the town shuts down – they all bugger off back to their hotel and sit in the bar. Admittedly, mine is a bit more like God’s waiting room on tap, but there you go…

Earlier on I mentioned that I grew up in a seaside town on the opposite coast. What I wasn’t prepared for were the similarities. Both are flat, rich agricultural land. So much so that I felt totally at home traversing the tracks across Lincolnshire. The only major difference is the massive drainage ditches here compare to the West Lancashire plains. Oh, and the fact Skegness is a little bit different to Southport. In its day, the seaside town I grew up in was habituated by the middle classes who left their legacy in the facilities that that had been built to cater for them. The working classes went to nearby Blackpool. Skegness is the East coast Blackpool. I’ve not seen so many fish and chip shops per acre for ages. I’d be curious to see which of the two resorts would win on that count. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some lovely old hangovers from the past on the promenade, although I feel it’s fair game for me to look at what passes for a pier here and say ‘is that it’? The fact most of the town puts the shutters up early I find odd too. I wandered down to the promenade to take pictures of the offshore windfarm and bumped into a group of young Asian lads who were here on holiday. After they asked (and I explained) ‘yes, it does all seem to shut early’ we got into conversation & found we were all from Yorkshire (them Bradford, me Halifax). Small world eh?

Whilst I’ve been here I’ve indulged in a life-long hobby. People-watching. In some ways I feel rather like David Attenborough! What can I say, other than the UK’s obesity epidemic is alive and well in Skegness. It may be down to all the chip-shops but to be honest, if you opened a branch of Weightwatchers here, you’d need to be open 24/7 just to make an impression. Oh, and let’s not even get into the ‘Death Race 2000’ with mobility scooters…

OK, enough impressions. I’ve a busy day tomorrow as I’ve reconnoitred several photo locations – all of which I’ll be walking to. I’ve covered 14 miles today, so it’s time to relax a bit.

Watch out for pictures appearing soon…

 

Advertisements