I’m currently sat on Northern’s 06:00 from Halifax to Leeds en-route to London to join day 2 of the Railtex/Infrarail trade fair in London.
It’s a busy time that’s being made far more complex than I’d have liked by the fact so many things are hsppening at once (fairs, press trips and HS2 protester evictions) and to put the cherry on the cake I’ve got ‘technical issues’. The local cable network went down last night – just as my laptop was installing new updates. Now the machine’s having an attack of the vapours which means I’ll have to take it back to factory settings then waste a whole day reinstalling programmes and software on the damned thing! Ho bloody hum! On the bright side, I had time to copy all my files off the machine (just in case) as I’ve learned that the wifi being kaput is the first sign of issues.
So, this blog’s being brought to you courtesy of my smartphone. The weather’s doing its best to add to the gloom as it’s wet and miserable here in the Pennines snd it’s meant to be the same in London where I’m heading. Oh, and I’m also ‘cream crackered’ due to yet another early start after a late night trying to sort out the laptop. Still, as the old saying goes – you can sleep when you’re dead!
Moan over I’m actually looking forward to the next few days. There’s lots to see/do and friends and colleagues to catch-up with. But first, I have to get there…
My transfer at Leeds between Northern and LNER was painless as everything was running to time so I had 20 mins to catch the 07:00 to London Kings Cross. This is the fast service that only stops at Wakefield Westgate before running non-stop to the capital, arriving into London at 09:00. LNER run another (slower) departure just 15 mins later which stops at Doncaster Grantham and Stevenage to arrive in London 30 mins behind the 07:00.
Today the train’s quiet. I’m relaxing at a table in coach C where I’m going to try and grab a little more sleep. See you later…
So much for sleep! The Train Manager’s just announced we’re stopping at Doncaster where the trains terminating at Doncaster due to cable theft on the line “further down South”. No-one’s any idea what’s happening but the 07:15’s cancelled too…
Well, I didn’t expect to be in Doncaster today! Apparently, the theft of signalling cable is between Peterborough and Stevenage, which screws up any chance of diverts via Lincoln. The station staff did a very good job of keeping disgruntled passengers informed and a plan B was soon put in place as LNER tickets are been accepted for travel to London on the Midland route from Sheffield to St Pancras – which is why I’m now sat on a Trans-Pennine Express 185 heading for Sheffield. Judging by how empty the rear set is some people are taking their chances that the ECML will reopen quickly, but as it’s cable theft I’m not risking it.
The miserable weather’s followed me to Sheffield where I’ve swapped to a rather battered and careworn East Midlands Railway 5-car diesel ‘Meridian’ – a far cry from the smart LNER ‘Azuma’ trains we had to abandon at Doncaster.
Needless to say, the train is very busy as it’s the only way for folks to get to London right now.
Well, that’s been an interesting few hours but not in any way that I expected. By the time I arrived in the capital I was running over two hours late. Plus, the weather was crap. Taking stock, I made a series of phone calls that meant I didn’t need to be at Infrarail after all. Whilst I’m going to miss catching up with some people I’ve had different priorities to think about. Plus, I’m going to be back in London again tomorrow anyway as I’ve now got a ministerial site visit in the calendar…
So, instead of looking at an arena full of sales stands I quickly nipped over to London Victoria for a last chance to get shots of some of the old ‘Southern’ Class 455s before they disappear after next weeks timetable change. Whilst I was at Ebury St I bumped into an old friend, the former Editor of The Railway Magazine – Chris Milner – who’d had the same idea as me!
Shots in the can I made my way back to Kings Cross to ponder my next move and see what the options were. East Coast services were still disrupted with services to most Yorkshire destinations canned through cancellations so heading back before rush hour and whilst I could seemed like the most sensible plan. I’m now sat on the 13:30 from Kings Cross to Edinburgh which I’ve been using as a mobile hospital whilst I nurse a sick laptop back to health. So far, so good. Restoring it to factory settings has cured the glitches and allowed me to connect to the internet (hence you reading this) but I’ve a long evening ahead of me reinstalling a multitude of programmes to restore full functionality ready for another busy tomorrow. Still, at least I’ll be able to have a good night’s kip tonight!
I’ve a favour to ask…
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I do not like modern trains as today all over the world. As buses, no privacy. I prefer those old one with a separate cabin, window where you can drink a juice, coffee, eat or smoke cigarette 💖