June 2005 - Trip to England and Wales

Pictures taken on this trip can be found at:
Thursday 9 June 2005 Air Canada Ottawa to London
Friday 10 June
Stayed at Reading
Saturday 11 June
Spent the day with Pam and Len Wellard in Burnham
Sunday 12 June
0912 Reading to Didcot.  All trains running late, great confusion with platform alterations. Difficult to figure out where first class was.  Train was an HST with opaque windows. No smoking on the train not posted.

Didcot Railway Centre
Didcot Railway Centre

Click above to see all pictures taken at Didcot
1203 Didcot to Bath, platform chnge at Didcot
1433 Bath to Westbury 1452 Wessex trains 3-car DMU hard class only
1541 Westbury to Reading White Horse cut into chalk at Westbury.

Monday 13 June Reading to Haverfordwest
0811 Reading to Swansea 1040
1105 Swansea to Milford Haven 1257
Handed over a plan of the Milford Fish Dock to the local museum
1323 Milford Haven to Haverfordwest

Tuesday 14 June Tenby
0920 Haverfordwest bus station to Tenby South Parade 1050 First bus service 349 This was actually the 0820 bus running 65 minutes late.  People were upset but wouldn't complain because they didn't want to upset the driver.
Tenby hasn't changed very much.  Had a cappuccino at a Wimpey bar. There doesn't seem to be any difference between coffee with milk, cappuccino or late, all the same and all at the same price.
1445 Tenby to Carmarthen1534
The gusrd mentioned a possible problem with a vehicle hitting a bridge on the Milford Haven line. I waslooking at leaving the train at narberth and taking the bus but the guard phoned and confirmed that the trains were ok.
1558 Carmarthen to Haverfordwest 1642.
I went to see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith at the Palace Cinema which is about 90 years old according to the plaque.  Many young kids in groups, either boys or girls. Some of the older kids were in mixed company.  Most seemed to know each other.The place smelt of popcorn and 90 years worth of vomit and disinfectant. The manager had to come around to get the kids' feet off the seats in front.  Then came the advertisements and trailers and then the house lights went up to reveal a guy with a tray selling choc ices and drinks on a stick (albatros on a stick).  The movie was good and the kids were well behaved.  
I went into the bar of the Royal Lion hotel for a pint - there was no one in there,  I said "Its quiet in here". "Yes, that's because we're expecting a funeral in here later on."

Wednesday 15 June  Haverfordwest to Shrewsbury.
0725 Haverfordwest to Llanelli 0835
0937 Llanelli to Shrewsbury 1302
A lady wandered on with a dog she couldn't control.  It terrorized the conductor and there was a fight with another dog. She kept going on about going to see her 92 year old aunt.
Stayed at the Lion and Pheasant.

Thursday 16 June Shrewsbury to Kidderminster
0855 Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton 
0932 Wolverhampton to Smethwick Galton Bridge LL
1001 Smethwick Galton Bridge HL to Kidderminster
1420 Kidderminster to Bewdley 1434
Its easy to see where Monty Python got their material:
"I've just got three tins of mushy peas, 28p each, look the price is right on it there.  They are mint flavoured an' all."
"Yeah, I love mushy peas."
1702 Bewdley to Kidderminster 1713.

Friday 17 June Severn Valley Railway
1030 Kidderminster to Bridgnorth 11.44
1335 Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade 1358
1514 Hampton Loade to Highley 1524
1636 Highley to Kidderminster
Engines in steam today were 1501, 5764, 34045 (originally 34057) and 42968 on a dinner train.  45110 and 7801 were in light steam for service tomorrow.
This country has nothing to fear from McDonalds when the fish and chip shops are fighting back with deep fried, battered, burgers.

Click here to see all pictures taken on the Severn Valley Railway https://www.flickr.com/photos/colinchurcher/sets/72157606804982696/

Saturday 18 June Kidderminster to Keighley
0835 Kidderminster to Birminhham Snow Hill.
0949 Birmingham New Street to Nottingham
Kenco is the closest thing to Nescafe without being Nescafe.
Click here to see all pictures taken of the Nottingham trams https://www.flickr.com/photos/colinchurcher/sets/72157606508066010/
1310 Nottingham to Derby
The platform forwoman wore heels.  The cleaner took great trouble to manoeuvre the rubbish picker and then threw it all on the track.
1543 Derby to Leeds. First class was good but second was abysmall.
I met Brian and Gill at Leeds and we took the electric train to Keighley.

Sunday 19 June  Keighley
Click here to see pictures taken on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway https://www.flickr.com/photos/colinchurcher/sets/72157606809302837/

Monday 20 June Keighley

Tuesday 21 June Keighley to York
0931 Keighley to Skipton
1026 Skipton to Carlisle 1215
1230 Carlisle to Sunderland
1447 Sunderland to South Hylton (metro)
1510 South Hylton to Newcastle Central (metro)
1627 Newcastle to York 1719

Wednesday 22 June York

Thursday 23 June York

0730 York to Hull 0845
The station announcements are not good.  The system is poor and the announcer chants with a York accent same as the lady conductor on this train.
Parking space for lady drivers. Can save 20p by using the loos in the hotel.
0916 Hull to Bridlington 1001
I had a taxi driver take me around to see the north beach and the harbour.  He was formerly a fisherman.  Now fishing is only shellfish, crab and lobster.
I wanted to see Bridlington because this was where I first saw the sea.  My parents came up here for a week during the war to get away from the bombing. They were not well received being foreigners from down south.  I remember I was so excited seeing the sea that I banged my wooden spade so hard against a concrete wall that it broke.  I must have been about two years old.
1036 Bridlington to Scarborough 1116
1140 Scarborough rail station bus stop to Whitby bus 93, Arriva North East 1240
The superloo at Whitby even issues a ticket.  Please do not use hand basins for washing feet.
1605 Whitby to Middlesborough 1734
This was a school train but the kids were pretty well behaved. Lots of rabbits all over the place. Curlews, herons, pheasants, partridges,very pleasant villages with warm coloured stone.
1745 Middlesborough to York 1849.
This was a three car First Trans Pennine set running through to Manchester Airport.  Poor and filthy even in first class.
At the pub down the street they have a topless barmaid every Thursday night.

Friday 24 June York to Bromley
0827 York to Sheffield
Dogs really like the smooth tile floors because they can be dragged along by the lead - beats walking.
The Bristol train arrived early at 0820 before it was even on the final departure boards.
The first class hostess was very friendly and pointed out that the fridge was not working neither was the air conditioning. A Bombardier mechanic joined the train at York and got the a/c working. Breakfast was good - yogurt, apple, grapes and bacon butty.
At Sheffield I travelled over much of the Sheffield tram network. The running through the city centre is heavily used.  The trams are three car units with a sort of articulation.  The centre car has two trucks but no doors. Outside units are hung on the centre ones.
Click here to see pictures of the Sheffield Trams https://www.flickr.com/photos/colinchurcher/sets/72157606511497833/
1327 Sheffield to London, St. Pancras. I stayed with David and Margaret Rhys-Tyler.

Saturday 25 June Bromley
1015 Shortlands to Orpington.
In the High Street I had a cappuccino and a chocolate bomb.  I saw Grandma and Granddad Foster's grave in All Saints church yard.  11A Court Road has been improved by putting wndows in the loft.
Pint at the Beech Tree, Pint at the Red Lion
"I ain't seen yore better 'arf for some time."
"You don't know 'ow bleedin' lucky you are.
Fish and Chips at the White Hart.

Sunday 26 June
To Groombridge for a trip on the Spa Valley Railway to Tunbridge Wells and back.
The trip down was interesting - Bromley Bus Garage, Locks Bottom and the old Fantail, Farnborough Hospital, Farnborough village, past the George and Dragon (now George), Green Street Green, Orpington Hospital, Goddington park, Pollhill and Sundridge.
Not very exciting railway trip.
Return with views of the new TGV line then to Eltham College via Chistlehurst and routes of the 61 and 161 buses.  Chistlehurst does not seem to have changed appreciably. The woods along the common seem in pretty good shape and have recovered from the great storm of almost 26 years ago.  The New Quad is now a parking lot and the Old Quad has been grassed over. Don't know is they still play Quad Soccer or where. The old bathroom where we used to wash as a team in the communal bath is now an administrative office. the Tuck Shop is in the same place. The front area is also parking and this has completely ruined the look of the place. Much additional playing ground has been acquired. The chapel is the same.

Monday 27 June Return to Ottawa on Air Canada,

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