Good evening all,
All the photos from my recent UK trip last weekend have now been uploaded to the website. The photos are broken down into day by day galleries. The link to the 2013 International section of the website is at http://thewandererphotos.smugmug.com/International/2013
Individual links to each day are contained below.
Thursday 23rd May 2013 - http://smu.gs/Z3I73T
After travelling overnight from Dublin Port onboard the Stena Nordica I caught the 0655 Virgin Voyager from Holyhead to Flint. The first day of the trip was dedicated to travelling over railway lines in Wales that I hadn’t yet travelled along. So after Flint I doubled back to Llandudno Jct. and ventured into Llandudno itself. The station at this important seaside town has certainly seen better times and is very rundown in appearance. However, there are some signs of improvements on the way.
After a short break which enabled me to take a quick walk around the town I found myself back at the station awaiting the arrival of the Class 150 DMU for the 1008 Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog service. From Blaenau Ffestiniog I travelled down to Porthmadog with the excellent Ffestiniog Railway in there superb First Class observation car. First Class fares are available for a very reasonable £6 supplement single.
Upon arrival at Porthmadog there is no mainline train from the town until 1456 so it gives ample opportunity to have some lunch and view the afternoon Welsh Highland departure from the Narrow Gauge Station.
The reminder of the day was spent travelling on the Cambrian Coast railway lines from Porthmadog - Pwllheli - Machynlleth - Aberystwyth - Welshpool – Shrewsbury. My travelling companion and I decided to alight at the remote Dovey Junction on the Pwllheli – Machynlleth for the +5 minute connection into the Aberystwth – Birmingham New Street service. The Senior Conduction expressed surprise at collecting two passengers at this location, saying her manager wouldn’t believe her when she submitted her passenger loadings report at the end of shift!
The only downside of the day was due to Engineering Works there was a bus transfer between Welshpool and Shrewsbury for the final service of the day in each direction.
Friday 24th May 2013 - http://smu.gs/ZeKQr7
Staying in Shrewsbury overnight is a good launch pad to sample the Arriva Wales Trains locomotive hauled service between Holyhead and Cardiff Central and it departs Shrewsbury at the reasonable time of 0810. While Thursday was about travelling on new lines today trip could be compared to sampling some of the onboard restaurant car services which operate in the U.K.
No sooner had we left Shrewsbury, tea and coffee had arrived at our first class seat and our Breakfast orders were taken. The trip to Cardiff was quiet with only four people in first class and standard class in the refurbished MK3 coaches was in the region of 60% full. Upon arrival at Cardiff a quick check of realtimetrains.co.uk revealed two freight trains would shortly be passing through Cardiff Central Station.
From Cardiff it was a quick hop under the River Severn to Bristol Parkway where we got a Weston Super Mare service to Bristol Temple Meads and awaited the arrival of the 0606 Edinburgh – Plymouth Cross Country HST service which we boarded to Exeter.
A 20 minute connection at Exeter saw the arrival of the 1255 Plymouth – London Paddington. The 1255 service is one of six services on the First Great Western High Speed Network that offers Silver Service Pullman Dining and we enjoyed a three course meal while at High Speed towards London. See www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Pullman for full details on this excellent on board train restaurant.
London came calling all too soon and we found ourselves at the splendid London Paddington at the start of the evening peak of a Friday Bank Holiday weekend. The final trip of today was an evening spin on the new London Overground service to Clapham Jct. from Surrey Quays.
Saturday 25th May 2013 - http://smu.gs/13j9XbZ
The main reason for this UK trip was to sample London Underground’s Steam on the Met over the Bank Holiday weekend (www.ltmuseum.co.uk/assets/downloads/pdfs/SteamontheMetTimetable.pdf) . The specials were operating between Amersham and Harrow-on-the-Hill / Wembley Park as part of the London Undergrounds 150th anniversary celebrations.
The morning specials 1 and 2 were photographed at Harrow-on-the-Hill, Northfields and Moor Park and we travelled on Specials 3 and 4. On Special 4 we travelled on the Metropolitan Jubilee Coach 353, dating back to the 1890s.
Sunday 26th May 2013 - http://smu.gs/16pKXpc
A short day today with a late start and a requirement for an early finish to meet up with a friend in Central London later that evening.
I caught the 1130 London Kings Cross – Edinburgh for the 45 minute non-stop journey to Peterborough. Minutes after arriving at the station I struck lucky with the Network Rail Test unit 950001 passing through on the Up Fast. A few minutes later a pair of GBRF Class 66’s passes through Light Engine from March to Peterborough Depot.
My Cross Country service soon arrived and I boarded a very busy 3 car Class 170 for the trip to Stamford. I was aware of the transport bookshop located in the station and decided to see if it was open. Alas, being a Sunday it wasn’t. Not to worry as the town of Stamford made up for it and the sunshine certainly helped as well!
60 minutes later I was on my way again towards Leicester where I would be changing trains for an East Midlands Trains 10 car Meridian (222011 + 222012) to London St. Pancras.
Monday 27th May 2013 - http://smu.gs/13jfkrI
I had grand plans for today but a combination of engineering works extending journey times between London Euston and Manchester (however I did manage to mark the Northampton Loop off the Baker Atlas) and a sore hand I decided to postpone my plans for the Manchester Metrolink for another day. However all was not lost as I managed to pick up a few bargains in the W.H. Smith store at Manchester Piccadilly before catching a TPE 185 to Manchester Airport.
I hope you enjoy the photos.