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Author Topic: Notes from a journey by train - part 1, Bedford to Milton Keynes  (Read 4049 times)
grahame
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« on: July 11, 2019, 02:37:15 pm »

Not quite a "State of the Nation" - but a series of observations / log of my recent  journey which very much reflects how we find things in particular to public transport travel in the UK in 2019

So - I started from a B&B in Bedford - "half an hour will be plenty of time to walk to the station" said the landlady and indeed leaving 30 minutes before my train was due to leave seemed about right. A wrong turn in the city (is it a city?) centre taking me along a road just south of the station left me frustratingly in view of my train but not at my train some 10 minutes before it was due to leave. A walk around to the station - more 6th sense than signposted and I was in the booking office rather tighter than I would have liked, to be faced with a zigzag barrier queuing system to buy tickets from a real person, or a shorter queue for 4 ticket machines which I chose to join.  How can it take so l-o-n-g for people to use ticket machines? The clock ticked, the queue hardly moved and I got to a machine - and perhaps got to an answer in the complex array of tickets available and what seems like too many including some pointless (choice of the only option) menus, with text to carefully take in and guesses to be made.   As I got my ticket, the departure board ticked over from the 08:30 to the 09:30 ... never one to totally give up, I dashed through and caught the train - turned out to be 30 seconds to spare and it left a minute late.



The train was one of the converted old London Underground trains - 2 carriages with a disabled loo (taking almost the whole train width), seats along in one section and seats across in the other.   No picture at Bedford (I didn't have an hour to loose, but some in the train once under way.  A very curious mixture of the ancient and modern, with a good refub and disabled loo, and yet diesel engines and doors between carriages of the old style that you won't see on the newer underground trains.  Smart paint job.   Vents at top of windows rather than air-conditioning - personally I find this refreshing and happy with it . Fitness for purpose from my observation - 10 out of 10, although the purpose isn't a particularly dynamic one; it's a slower local service.  I will pick out that there were at least 3 groups of passengers just in my carriage with significant luggage, and there was a significant lack of luggage space.





We creaked and groaned over point-work and sharp corners as we left Bedford; an incredible stretch of line that was cobbled together to bring the "Marston Vale" train into the Bedford (Midland) station, dating (in its current use) from 1984.  Once beyond the station at Bedford St Johns's the line curves round onto the old Cambridge - Oxford alignment and speeds up; I understand that maintenance / Network rail have a 40 m.p.h. speed limit on it; a very pleasant run stopping at little intermediate stations.  Stewartby was much the busiest on this train, but all stations had their use, and I was glad that a step up has been taken from a single carriage 153.  Starting from a platform off to the side at Bedford, about an hour later we rumbled into a side platform at Bletchley and it was "all change".  Irony of ironies - a train with a wheelchair accessible loo, and yet only steps off the platform and up to the footbridge.





Connecting train - one stop to Milton Keynes Central.  12 coach electric train, London to Liverpool via just about every stop, it sees, along the way.  And try explaining to a couple of Greeks (?) that they need the front 4 carriages for their destination (Stafford) as the train divides at Northampton. I think they were Greek because they had me talk into their translating phone and it was displaying as acrylic (or is that cyrilic) characters.   My poor diction didn't help - it was picking up "carriages" as "carrots" for example.



Milton Keynes Central - queueing again for tickets as at Bedford (but I was now in good time to actually take a photo) and an excellent example of trains, buses, footpaths, cycles all coming together at the same location for easy networked interchange.



End of part one ... I will write later about Milton Keynes to Melksham.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 02:52:34 pm »

I think they were Greek because they had me talk into their translating phone and it was displaying as acrylic (or is that cyrilic) characters.
Most definitely cycrillic - acrylic being a form of plastic  Grin
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stuving
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 02:58:03 pm »

I think they were Greek because they had me talk into their translating phone and it was displaying as acrylic (or is that cyrilic) characters.
Most definitely cycrillic - acrylic being a form of plastic  Grin

Unless it was Greek, which is written in Greek.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 07:09:04 pm »

Part 2 - Milton Keynes to Melksham - posted at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/21895

(edited to correct typo in link)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 07:17:23 pm by bobm » Logged

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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 04:01:54 pm »

τα μπροστινά τέσσερα καρότα για το Stafford

if Gogol Google is to be trusted.

I think they'd have known something was wrong...
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