Thursday, 18 September 2014

When I'm not travelling

When I'm not travelling I am building a thirties moderne fantasy model railway with luxury streamlined trains.

And when I am travelling I try to find trains that get as close as possible to this fantasy!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The future of sleeper service on the European continent

The Guardian reports that many European sleeping train services are under threat. These have been under-invested for a long time, so it is not altogether surprising; and as daytime speeds increase there is perhaps less need for them, but there is still no other convenient and comfortable way to arrive in a city early in the morning from hundreds of miles away unless you stay overnight from travelling the previous day.

This decline does not seem to apply in the UK where although sleeper services have been cut in the past, upgrades are promised on the remaining ones linking Scotland and Cornwall with London. Now we just need to persuade someone to stop one at Peterborough.

Long ago, on privatisation, the proposed overnight services through to the continent from the UK were cut even before they started, as were through daytime services from the north of England to Paris. But who knows what the future may hold.

Coming up: a couple of interesting trips to the north

On the way to Peterborough
One place I've been but never really got to know, and one place much closer where I've never even set foot are now firmly on the "booked up" list for the near future.

The place I've never been is Scunthorpe even though I have lived in Lincolnshire for fifty years, and finally
I need to go there for a meeting, so I've booked trains which will allow me plenty of extra time to have a quick look around while I'm there. I doubt there's a tourist trail but as a former town planner I'll be glad to see what this town, stitched together from a number of smaller places, is like. I've heard nothing but good things, so am looking forward to it. The journey from Stamford will involve changes of train at Peterborough (as the north generally does) and Doncaster - which demonstrates how far it is. Should be able to fit an East Coast breakfast into the way up there! (I've booked the main line bit First Class but will only claim the standard class fare on expenses - since buying my Senior Railcard it's all costing a lot less anyway!)

Further north and just for a weekend break is Newcastle upon Tyne. We were looking for a destination for our next free East Coast First Class trip and this was chosen partly because it always was on our mental "list" and now because it was one of the few places we could redeem an experience voucher one of us had been given (the experience has since been cancelled and we'll have to seek another, but we'll still enjoy Newcastle). Now to do our research and see what we can fit into a short break! We get the main line haul between Peterborough and Newcastle free with our Reward points and just pay for standard class tickets between Stamford and Peterborough.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Lovely weather for a day out

On days like these it is so easy to turn up and just buy a ticket and go somewhere you've never been before, or somewhere you haven't been for ages, or ... just somewhere! Doesn't have to be London or Edinburgh: big cities, small towns or even the countryside can be well worth just turning up and enjoying if you have the time. Local trips with off-peak day returns can be cheap without advance booking, especially for railcard-holders.