Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Bumped into a fellow blogger on the way home tonight - he was working, so hope it's not too busy.

The big trains this week have been marvelously quiet. This morning my four carriages had a total of 14 people got off upon arrival at Marylebone. Not many more on the way home just now. The underground was pretty quiet as well.

I'm off to Abbots Langley now for a quiet, hopefully sedate dinner party, with bed thrown in as well. Result!

As another year bites the dust, this post marks the end of my third year of infrequent blogging - it also means that 2008 does not have the lowest number of posts. Yay!

Thank you for coming to read my meanderings, especially to those of you who take the trouble to comment.

May I wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2009 brings you everything that you hope for.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And the wind down begins....

Well, the Underground was particularly quiet this morning.

My 'big train' to rural Buckinghamshire (en-route to Birmingham), mid-afternoon, was packed to the gunnels.

A very Happy Christmas to my reader.

Chiltern Railways are running to a special timetable over Christmas and New Year, with no trains whatsoever on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. A copy is available to download here (walk to your manned Chiltern station if on dial-up).

London Transport Christmas and New Year travel arrangements are still available here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I have a pet hate - people who file their nails on the train. I don't know why, but I find it revolting.

Today it went one worse - someone clipping their nails. Click.. ping.. click.. ping..


Monday, December 08, 2008

Is the competition hotting up?

Over a large number of weekends this year, mainly due to engineering works in the Rugby area, Virgin Trains have been running hourly trains from London Euston to Coventry and Birmingham International, diverted up the Chiltern Railways route through rural Buckinghamshire.

According to a Network Rail press release put out today, the engineering work is now complete. Starting from next weekend the number of trains using the West Coast Main Line will increase dramatically, with journey times seeing significant reductions.

This is of course good news for travelers who will see a significant increase in seat capacity between London, Birmingham and stations north.

Hitherto, Chiltern Railways have offered the best value (ie cheapest) easily available fare between London and Birmingham at £5 each way (obviously, subject to restrictions).

In tonight's evening papers were Virgin Trains adverts offering tickets from the same price between London Euston and Birmingham, supposedly from next Sunday which is when the new timetable starts.

What a fantastic way for Virgin to thank Chiltern for their co-operation during the weekends of the Rugby blockade (see press release of 12 June 2008).

I do admire Chiltern Railways, but I've just checked with Virgin and it is possible to get a weekday mid-morning booking next month, from Euston for the promised £5 and the journey is scheduled to be as quick as 1hr 22 min.

Chiltern would appear to have some stiff competition!

Christmas & New Year Travel Guide for London

Transport for London (aka tfl) have today published a Travel Guide to getting around London over Christmas and New year.

It weighs in at a hefty 2Mb and is in pdf format. For now the guide is available here, but if they move or change the file name, please let me know.

A summary is:
  • Christmas Eve 2008: Most stuff finishes early
  • Christmas Day 2008: London stops
  • Boxing Day 2008: London starts to get going again, except for the Jubilee Line (no service Friday, Saturday or Sunday), the Metropolitan Line (no service) and the Waterloo & City Line. There are also other station closures on the Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Northern Lines.
  • There are also pages and pages of guidance should you be in London on New Year's Eve.

It isn't possible to summarise here all the travel changes detailed in a 25 page guide, so I recommend you obtain a copy if you intend to travel in London over the holiday period.

I note that there is no mention of a corporate sponsor for the free late night travel arrangements on 31st December. The economy really must be in a bad way.

Edit: 2 January 2009. Tfl have removed the guide from their website. At present I do not have any suitably anonymous webspace to host the document. If you can host, please let me know - if you want a copy emailed to you, please let me know. Thank you.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I went to Banbury today, by train, using the ever efficient services of Chiltern Railways. One of the trains was too short (no room to swing a cat), but it was a bit parky outside- huddling together helps one to keep warm

Where was I? Oh yes - Banbury.

Woolworths, to be precise. The sadly soon to be gone, in Administration, up to 50% off sale shop that holds a strangely nostalgic piece of most peoples' hearts.

I spent a grand total of £15.56 and did pick up several bargains. The best of which was a ice cream scoop, for which I paid the princely sum of 40 pence.

The item comes with a 5 year guarantee which states;
"This item is guaranteed for 5 years from the date of purchase. It will be replaced with the same or similar item, if there is a defect due to faulty materials or workmanship, during that period. The guarantee does not cover defect occurring due to abuse. This does not affect your statutory rights. In the unlikely event that a fault should occur, to claim under this guarantee return this item to your nearest Woolworths store, together with the purchase receipt."
May I be so bold as to state that this particular guarantee is probably not worth the paper it is printed on?

Oh, and they didn't have any carrier bags, so my haul of goodies was transported home in a marvelous black bin bag.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A new world record

What? Two hours and thirty eight minutes - that's what....

The length of time it took this morning from walking out of my front door to arriving at my desk.

That is a long long time for a commute. Indeed a world record for me. To say I was a little jaded upon arrival would be an understatement.

There was a fatality at about 5.10am this morning, on the railway near High Wycombe station. The police took some time to release the line back to the railways, so the line was closed until about 7.40 am. Understandably, it then took Chiltern Railways some time to get trains running in any sort of order.

I managed to grab a lift to Great Missenden and traveled to Marylebone on the Aylesbury via Amersham line.

It would seem that a lot of people gave up, because the trains home this evening were very quiet.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Compare and Contrast

After the shambles of Saturday evening, a decent video of Tangmere passing through my local Buckinghamshire station has now been sourced.

Note the still red signal on the Northbound platform, showing how close the photographers came to having their views blocked by a Chiltern Railways service, along with the carefully positioned yappy dog - aimed at preventing any commercial sales of video footage.

It was a very strange experience (but somehow rather pleasant) to be shrouded in the swirling mass of steam lingering after the passage of the locomotive.