Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Too Much Time on Trains - Again

Statistics for the month of November 2011:

Miles Travelled
Chiltern Railways
East Midlands
South West Trains
National Express East Anglia
Total for Month

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today is a Yellow Day

Actually, in this part of rural Buckinghamshire, it is really rather a nice day. As dusk approaches the sky is a clear blue and the ground is dry. All a marked contrast to the weather up in Birmingham this morning, where it was grey, misty, damp and cold.

Yellow Day?

That refers to the leaf falls expected on the railways and indicates that specialist track treatment trains may be expected out and about today.

The Network Rail waterjet train should currently be at Marylebone... If it is, then it will be leaving (or should that be leafing?) for South Ruislip in about 20 minutes (16:15). It should be at South Ruslip just after 16.30 where it will reverse back towards Greenford, will head under the Central Line down towards Ealing, past Ealing Broadway (just after 5.00pm) before heading off to bed in the Willesden area.

Unless you are in the immediate area, not much excitement there.

Chiltern Railways do also run their own Sandite train. It was trowelling around early this morning, but was tucked up back in bed in Aylesbury before most sensible people were even aware that it was Saturday.

Thank you TC for the info. To be clear - it could be that none of the above happens, but given that there are more fresh leaves on the ground now than on any other day, it should.

Here's a really ropey video of the waterjet train passing down the Metropolitan Line late last Sunday afternoon.

Birmingham Christmas Market

Earlier this week I was up in Birmingham, for work, when the receptionist told me that the annual Christmas Market was setting up. She was most excited about the prospect.

The Birmingham City Council microsite certainly bigged it up so, this morning, I decided to nip up to take a look.

I was actually quite impressed.

To begin with I walked from Snow Hill station to Victoria Square where to start with I was mildly under-whelmed. However further exploration revealed that the market also stretched the full length of New Street and there really are quite a lot of stalls.

There are unsurprisingly lots of outlets selling Germanic food and drink, but there are also lots of handicraft stalls selling everything from candles through to fruit bowls, clothing and general nic-nacs. Many of the outlets and artisans are local, but there are also plenty of our continental friends who have come over to give the market a truly authentic feel.

I recommend a visit. If possible, I suggest that you arrive as early as you can - by the time I emerged from the stalls at the bottom of New Street, it was really getting rather busy.

The market is open daily from 10.00am to 9.00pm daily from now until Friday 23rd December 2011.

Travel was by Chiltern Railway. They currently have a rather spiffing weekend offer (make sure you follow the instructions and follow the terms & conditions) enabling people to travel across their network for £10.

All in all, a good way to warm up into the Christmas spirit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto

The names of the four largest moons that orbit the planet Jupiter.

This is what they looked like when viewed through the lens of my camera last night.

I am quietly chuffed.