Friday, 25 January 2013

The Lovely Lymington Link [5]

The Multi-modal Transport Interchange

fbb and Mrs fbb usually decide between Wightlink's Fishbourne to Portsmouth route and Red Funeral's East Cowes to Southampton crossing entirely on price. Going between Yarmouth and Lymington is a rarity because the journey from East to West Wight is tedious, as is the onward motoring route in the New Forest. But their post Christmas safari to family in Wantage exposed the weakness of Red Funeral.

When they enlarged their ships by chopping them into three bits and glueing a "T" shaped extra bit of boat in the gap, this gave extra vehicle space (length and extra deck) but made no provision for extra seating. So with a goodly load of cars and a couple of coaches, the experience is almost akin to "Third World" travel.
With the floor being the only seating inside, and the outside decks being less than inviting in late December, the crossing was not a particularly pleasant experience! So for their January Sidmouth expedition they decided to go via West Wight. The fbbs were "en auto", but what would their expereince have been if on foot and by train?
There's not much station left at Lymington Pier! Midweek the train is a diesel, eschewing the nice conductor rail. Three shelters only. And no longer do the boats tie up beside the train ...
... although the quayside is still there. There is a poster outlining the lavish interchange facilities ...
... including the  E xit, the stop for   R ail   R eplacement buses and  wide selection of  A ppropiate "normal" bus stop(s). But there is only one astoundingly obvious way out of the station (unless you fancy a swim?) and there are no buses to serve the bus stop at "A". So it is thanks to Network Rail that we can enjoy these extensive interchange opportunities. The poster also tell us where the  F erry  T erminal is ...
... in case we couldn't spot the only building in sight!
Other platform "facilities" include a new boring set of standard nameboards, replacing the previous "green hot dog" ones that accompanied the "heritage" slam-door trains ...
... that ran until 2010.
There is a ticket machine and the wherewithal to contact a mysterious and distant enquiry service; a poor substitute for a properly staffed ticket office and a warm waiting room. Of course the ferry terminal provides waiting and refreshment facilities but does not appear to admit to any railway ticket sales or information.

And there is even better news (!) for the intrepid foot passenger arriving from the Isle of Wight. The hourly Winter boat service arrives officially at ...
.. 25 minutes past the hour. Just in time to run pell-mell down the long "tunnel" ...
... leap suicidally across the line of cars leaving the ferry and on to the platform. And, equally, just in time to see the 27 minutes past train trundling over the causeway and on its way back to Brockenhurst.
Not surprisingly, given these helpful timings, only one passenger travelled onward by train from the Island (after an enjoyable 25 minutes in the shelter) as observed by fbb and, on the return trip a superb total of three returned thus. Mind you, there weren't many cars on the 1145 ferry either.
And don't take any notice of the on-line station facilities diagram ...
click to enlarge dagram

... because it has sunk that new terminal building into the murky waters of the Lymington River ...
... and flooded the car park to make a new harbour.
Some wally has got them the wrong way round!

But there is some good news. According to a sticker on the platform, all this excellent/useless/wrong information is part of a grand integrated transport improvement scheme ...
... as a partnership between Southwest Trains and Hampshire County Council. Integrated, with what? Security, what security?

Great!

 Next Coach Blog : Saturday 26th January 

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