Friday, 11 November 2016

A Bard is Bereft of Buses? (3)

The Secret Side-Exit Succeeds
Traveline's offering for the journey from Northampton to Stratford-upon-Avon via Coventry and bus is complicated and may be fraught with possible failure.
It involves nine minutes to find your way to the station bus stop, then bus for a 2 minute ride from there to Quadrant New Union Street ...
... where you alight at the second shelter along and walk forward to the un-sheltered third stop. Cirrespondent Man of Kent reports that this is only a five minute walk - if you know the way.  Assuming you do make the connection, total journey time is two hours and 21 minutes.

If you know about the footpath (thanks Alan for the piccy) ...
... a journey via the longer X17 is possible at 2 hours 26 minutes but with far less stress and risk.

But Traveline cannot be persuaded to find this option. Unless fbb was doing something wrong!

There Must Be Another Way

But Alan suggests another cunning plan to avoid the horror of travelling via Birmingham. Go via Marston Green.
It is one stop past Birmingham International and frequent buses run from there to Solihull Station; whence catch a train to Stratford.

Might it work?
(forgive the mis-typing!) YES! But it is the slowest of all the options, but there really isn't much in it.
At Marston Green the stops are obvious and just outside the station. Travel West Midlands 71 and 72 ...
... and Claribels competing 71E will do the stuff.
Interchange at Solihull Station is OK as well ...
... with plenty of time to find your train.

Asking Traveline for a journey via Marston Green ...
... is NOT helpful!

The three-bus option finds the Claribel 71E to Solihull but then ignores the train. The other options take you off the train at Marston Green to satisfy the "via" option you have entered ...
..., then pits you on the next departure (by train) to Birmingham.

It all goes to show that "official" journey planners do not always give the best option. If it were available (correspondent Alan or his equivalent at the end of the line?), a local phone number would be better.

But we haven't forgotten that Alan was bemused by what he found when he arrived a Stratford.

Part 4 will follow at the beginning of next week.

Meanwhile ...

Great Western Electrification, a P.S,
The day before yesterday, fbb reported on the mysteries of the GWR electrification "deferment". fbb could not understand why the wires would stop at Thingley Junction and thus not quite reach Bath or Bristol.

A comment writer made a likely suggestion ...
... which is supported by an extract forwarded by a correspondent. It is an extract from a National Grids press release dated May 2015.

Our role

National Grid’s role is to connect the railway with the national electricity network. One of the locations where this needs to be done is Melksham.

The Melksham site

To make the connection in Melksham, we will use 25kV underground cables to carry the electricity. Two lines of cables will run from the existing National Grid substation off Westlands Lane and connect to the railway further north at Thingley Junction.

Building the connection

The connection will take around a year to install and work will be carried out in sections. The cables will be laid down into trenches within a working area about 20m wide. To go under streams along the route, the cables will be drilled horizontally underground as a small tunnel, rather than laid into trenches. When the work is complete, we’ll return the land to how it looked before.

Substation and railway near Melksham

It still seems daft not to plod on to Bristol!

 Next as yet unplanned blog : Saturday 12th November 


  1. Cardiff and Newport's new track, platforms and signalling are nearly complete, hence they can be electrified. Bristol TM's new platforms, the Filton Bank 4th track and the re-modelling and re-signalling of the Bristol Metro area has not yet started. There is no point in electrifying a layout that is scheduled to be substantially changed.

  2. Travelling via Marston Green is good choice for an enthusiast. There is also a third operator - Sunny Travel - between there and Solihull.