Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A day trip to Blackpool - Part 2

Here I go again - meeting in Edinburgh finished so I've go to get to Blackpool.  I've got my ticket so, here I go.

14.51.  After what seems to be the usual scrum at Waverley, I've boarded the Virgin Trains' Pendolino to Euston.  I'm going as far as Preston where I change trains.  All seats seem to be reserved so I'm just going to plonk myself into one and hope I don't get chucked out somewhere along the way.

15.25.  Going through Carstairs Junction.  Very sharp 10mph curve for trains coming onto the WCML from Edinburgh.  Must lose a lot of time doing this.  More beautiful scenery as we head south.  Pendolino ride a little better than EC's Mk VIs but still getting the typical hardness of rubber underneath.

15:45.  I notice long stretches of track south of Carstairs are quite rough.  Lots of vibration through the coach body.  The tilt system is quite abrupt too.  You can feel it switch into tilt mode and then out of it with a little bump each time.  

15:50.  Ran into another rain storm at Lockerbie.  The storms are quite strong but short as we fly through them at 100+mph.  As an ex-driver, I wonder if the cabs are properly waterproof and if the window wipers work under such conditions.  Think motorway in a storm at 60mph and double it.  

I've found that my satnav doesn't work even if I switch off the iPhone WiFi.  I seem to be getting a spurious signal from the on-train system and this doesn't like the iPhone satnav.

16:05 arrival at Carlisle.  Not a pretty train shed here.  Very dour.  Starter cleared at 16:07 and the doors closed immediately so the train could get away promptly.  That's how it should be done everywhere.

16:20 arrived Penrith.  I noticed the power went off right in the middle of the braking on the approach to the station and then came back on again.  I wonder if this was a section gap and, if so, why they put it right where the trains are braking so that the regeneration capability is lost.  Bad system design.  The change from regen to rheo seemed seamless, if indeed that is what happened.

16:48.  Ride much better south of Penrith.  Must be a better track maintenance gang.

17:15.  Arrived at a miserable Preston.  The foul weather was blowing the rain in under the roof and everyone was getting wet.  Changed to the 17:21 Northern Class 158 for Blackpool North.  Ride was better than Pendolino.  There seem to be a lot of trains going to Blackpool.  Three in just 20 minutes.  Our train seemed to be having a problem starting and there were some rough rev changes but it didn't lose any time and we arrived at Blackpool on the dot.  The conductor did announce the stations but his delivery was so fast and clipped that I had no idea what he was saying.  Thank goodness I had the satnav (now working after I got off the Pendolino) to tell me where I was.  

Another long day travelling over.  Tomorrow afternoon I have to go back to Loughborough.

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