Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Grand Tour (conclusion)

Way, way back on Thursday 5th April, fbb announced his "wish list" for a Grand Tour visiting two long-term friends and taking in some bits of the nation's public transport that the old man had not, so far, visited. Read that original blog again (here).

Everything was achieved as intended and almost all by public transport, not counting the essential kiss-and-ride from home to Axminster. Yesterday's blog revealed a lift from hotel to Leicester station in compensation for late breakfast availability on a Saturday. The other short-haul lift helped fbb get back to the comfort of the Seaton mansion one hour ahead of schedule.

A message received on the Saturday requested fbb's services at Church the following day to cover an unwell preacher. One hour longer to recover, pray and prepare was VERY helpful!

0803 Axminster to London Waterloo

Bus RV1 to London Bridge

1230 London Bridge to St Pancras Thameslink

The "via London" ticket is valid from London Bridge to St Pancras despite it not being the "normal" way to get from Waterloo to Euston

Bus 59 St Pancras to Euston

1346 London Euston to Nuneaton

A four car suburban train, very full, on the relatively new service between Euston and Crewe NOT via Northampton; journey time, a very creditable 67 minutes. EXCELLENT.

Whilst waiting for the next train fbb was able to photograph a flock of rare creatures as they settled on the platform at Nuneaton.
They were all a lot older than the lads who collected numbers when fbb was briefly a loco spotter - come to think of it they probably were the lads fbb met on his teenage travels!

1523 Nuneaton to Leicester
No period returns for this journey!
The three-car Cross Country unit was the only train on the Grand Tour that was poorly loaded. There were just six passengers in fbb's carriage on a train terminating at Leicester.

Of course, fbb could have travelled from Nuneaton to Leicester for zilch, and competitively, on service 48 (Stagecoach) or 158 (Arriva) ...
... but timing would have been too tight.

First Bus 22 Leicester Station
   to Haymarket Bus Station

Arriva Bus 27 from St Margarets Bus Station
   to Heathley Park

Evening meal 1930 in the hotel noshery.

Arriva Bus 28 Heathley Park
    to St Margarets bus station

Arriva Bus 31 St Margarets bus station
    to Leicester Station

1030 Leicester to Sheffield

First Bus X1 Sheffield to Rotherham

First Bus 74 Rotherham via Waverley
    to Sheffield
Wishful thinking - the Grand Tour vehucle was decidedly ungrand - the above is from Leicester.

1437 Sheffield to Nottingham

NET Tram Nottingham Station to Clifton South
NET Tram Clifton South to Nottingham Station

1630 Nottingham to Leicester

First Bus 54 Leicester Station
    to Haymarket bus station

Arriva Bus 27 St Margarets bus station
    to Heathley Park

Short breather at hotel.

Arriva Bus 29 Heathley Park to Groby

Dinner with chum David. The bus stop at Heathley Park made interesting reading and will feature in a future blog.

Arriva Bus 29 Groby to Heathley Park

It was cheaper to get a day return to Butlers Lane than any other manipulation of the Railways' crazy fares structure.

0918 Leicester to Birmingham New Street

Midland Metro Grand Central to Jewellery Quarter
Midland Metro Jewellery Quarter to Grand Central

Grand Central is the unhelpful name of the stop right outside New Street station.

1105 Birmingham New Street to Butlers Lane

Now comes the clever bit.

1250 Butlers Lane to Lichfield Trent Valley

Excellent interchange from the Cross City line, down the steps for the connection.
The day return from Leicester to Butlers Lane is valid that way as well as via New Street and, of course, the ticket will take fbb back to Nuneaton where, seamlessly, his return ticket to Axminster takes over.

1313 Lichfield Trent Valley to London Euston
And, Virgin Trains please note, the class 350s offer a much nicer ride than a Pendolino ...
... they are light and airy and you can see out of the windows.
OK they are slower than a Pendolino, but not much over short-ish journys!

But the next bit shows why you cannot rely on Journey Planners.

1313 Lichfield Trent Valley to London Euston

This train arrives in Euston at 1450. Now, regular travellers know that the Underground journey between Euston and Waterloo takes about 15 minutes; even the creaky fbb can always do it in just less than 20. Back in the days of the bad old Northern Line, you might not always make it, but nowadays, no probs.

1520 London Waterloo to Axminster

The National Rail JP offers you a train one hour later from Waterloo at 1650.

Mrs fbb was awaiting her chubby hubby with the family limo and they were back supping a much needed cuppa at 1820. Plenty of time to gibber (a k a "prepare") for the task of "supply" preacher at 1030 on the day after the trip before!

And the total travel cost?
£104.05 with OAP railcard!

Cracking good value, Gromit.

And EVERYTHING was on time except First Bus 74 from Rotherham to Sheffield - ten minutes late.

 Next "back to abnormal" blog : Wednesday 18th April 

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