After a brief night at home I’m once again speeding down the East Coast Main line to London and (eventually) Brighton. Weatherwise, it’s a glorious day for travelling, although I have to admit that I’d have been quite happy spending the day at home. Our garden’s really coming into bloom right now, so it would’ve been lovely to sit in the sun with Dawn, the newspapers and a glass of something. Instead i’m enjoying watching some lovely countryside flash by my train window as I head South.
Today’s the first day of a major railway timetable change that affects my route. Every train time across the GTR network (Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern) has changed and no-one is quite sure what to expect. Industry insiders have told me the new timetable was too complex to model. They know their will be failures but they can’t predict where. As I’m spending the next couple of days on Southern and Thameslink services, I’ll blog about my experiences.
On another matter, I’ve had chance to process my thoughts about what I saw around yesterday’s royal wedding. What struck me was just how cosmopolitan the crowds were who went to Windsor to enjoy the spectacle. As I watched them catch their trains from Waterloo I was impressed by the sheer variety of folk making the journey. I’d say the majority were women, but there were plenty of couples too, as well as entire families. They weren’t all dyed-in-the-wool Royalists either, this wasn’t a wall of union jack T-shirts. What fascinated me was how many of the women were dressed as if they really had been invited to a wedding. I wasn’t too surprised about how many Americans were going due to the brides origin, but I was by the number of Japanese and other asian nationals – as well as all the European languages I heard. I can only put it down to the fact most people enjoy fairytales, and the idea of a mixed-race woman marrying her Prince is such a tale. It was a joyous coming together in celebration from people of all creeds, colours and nationalities. After all the shit that Brexit has thrown up, the wedding (albeit briefly) took us back to the heady days of the 2012 London Olympics, when we seemed a bigger, more confident and outward looking nation – such a contrast to what we’ve become now.
Well, I’ve managed to catch a Thameslink service to Brighton without a hitch. Within a few minutes of strolling across the road to St Pancras, buying a ticket and disappearing down into the ‘box’ I was boarding the 15:27 which was running to time and formed of a 12 car Class 700. The weather in the capital’s just as stunning as it was up North. As we passed through Blackfriars station I could sèe that the South bank of the river was awash with people enjoying that lovely combination, a day off, sunshine and a fantastic view across the River Thames!