Monday, 4 May 2015

Axminster By Chunnel to Dupleix

As Simple as A B C D?

 Amended service to and from London Waterloo 
 via Wimbledon on Sunday 3 and Monday 4 May  
 Buses replace trains between Surbiton       
 and Effingham Junction via                  
 Cobham & Stoke D'Abernon on Sunday 3 May    
 Buses replace trains between Basingstoke,   
 Winchester and Eastleigh                    
 from Saturday 2 to Monday 4 May             

According to Notwork Rail, it didn't look good for fbb's journey to Paris yesterday.

A further look at SouthWest Train web site revealed a marked difference between it and London Midland. There is a great deal of weekend disruption ...

London Waterloo to Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth.
London Waterloo to Portsmouth via Eastleigh
London Waterloo to Haslemere and Portsmouth
London Waterloo to Alton and Basingstoke
Stopping service to Woking and Guildford
London Waterloo to Hampton Court
London Waterloo to Chessington
London Waterloo to Dorking and to Guildford via Effingham Junction
Clapham Junction - Earlsfield - Wimbledon bus shuttle service
London Waterloo to Windsor

... but a few clicks further and we find ...
... TIMETABLES!!! Hoo-jolly-ray!!
Which, incidentally, shows that correspondent Alan coulg get to the King Alfred Bus Running Day at Winchester by bus from Basingstoke. See yesterdays blog (read again). What about Axminster to Waterloo?

London Waterloo to Salisbury and Exeter. A near normal train service will run on this route today, but trains towards London Waterloo will be delayed up to 10 minutes. Where possible, these trains will run with 9 coaches between London Waterloo and Salisbury as they will be providing connections to and from other routes.

And, indeed, the journey planner revealed a (painfully) slow schedule for fbb's first leg ...

 0909 Axminster       
 1222 London Waterloo 

But. prudence planned plenty of provision for problems with a Eurostar departure at 1531. The journey planners also offered something a little different for getting to St Piecrust.
fbb did intend to run into Waterloo and catch a 59 bus; ironically the bus is less hassle than the underground provided that luggage is not excessive. You hop on (free for fbb) at Tennison Way ...
... having subwayed from the Waterloo concourse; then alight here ...
... right outside the International entrance. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But, with plenty of time to spare, fbb tried the "via Victoria" option

 0909 Axminster        
 1157 Clapham Junction 
 1207 Clapham Junction 
 1215 London Victoria  
 1225 London Victoria  
 1240 St Pancras       

On balance not much harder luggage-wise than bus 59 and a lot quicker. Lunch was taken at Searceys (chum David was paying!) ...
... with posh and tasty morsels (3 courses, set menu £18) served in a luxurious ambiance.
But by no stretch of the imagination was it a meal! Thankfully we had sarnies, crisps and peanuts to chomp on the Eurostar as a space filler! Redefining Dining indeed - as a quick, tasty and VERY expensive snack.
Then to queue. First you queue along the concourse ...
... to join the queue for ticket and security checks.
Then you join the queue to have your passport checked by a very bored looking official who allows you to leave the UK. Then you join the queue for un officiel ennuyé to check you into France - which starts, apparently, at St Pancras.

This process took nearly one hour; so tough bananas if you obeyed the Eurostar instructions to check in 30 minutes before the train's departure. Something needs to be done!

It was dead easy to find coach 16 ...
... and not by peering at the near-illegible display on the vehicle; but by following the clues at your feet.
Oh, the joys of fixed formation trains!

The ride was uneventful, enhanced by the glorious views of the countryside from our window seats.

 1531 St Pancras         
 1853 Paris Gare du Nord 

The uneventful journey takes 2 hours and 22 minutes with an extra hour added to bring you into line with l'heure française.

One final thought. fbb was enchanted by the decoration in the convenient convenience on the Eurostar train.
Although the trains are looking a bit tired, the loos were spotless and attractive. Compare this with SouthWest Trains' offering between Axminster and Waterloo.
Paper all over the floor, no water, WC pan filled with paper to hide the unflushed nasties and an overall mega pong. When challlenged the guard said that the train had been at Exeter all night and


What unadulterated tosh and five eighths! If course there are facilites at Exeter. But they are owned and manage by First Great Western and meanie Staecoach won't pay them to clean "foreign" trains.

Something needs to be done!

But fbb has arrived in Paris. One question, however ...
... why were there three armed soldiers outside fbb's hotel?


 Next Paris-trip blog : Tuesday 5th May             


  1. As I recall on sat night into Sunday the first train from exd has NOT stayed overnight in Exeter but has come down from Salisbury.... Resulting in the last train TO Exeter on Saturday night being a lot earlier than the other nights, and the first train FROM Exeter being significantly later on Sunday morning. So that would make the guard's comments an even bigger load of tosh than you previously thought!

  2. Whilst the great British travelling public has little respect for train fixtures and fittings, least of all leaving toilets on trains how you'd like to find them, train toilets are one of the most complained about aspects of train travel to TOCs but almost universally in the uk they seem to have very little appetite to do anything about it!

  3. In my experience I find SWT's toilets to be the most vile of any TOC.