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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Buses and Trains but not boats or planes!

I set out this morning at 0920 after washing the floors at home and the other jobs like watering the plants etc. The first step was actually about 100 mts to the bus stop. This 35 min trip took me into Hull. I'm not sure if it happens in other places but very often on a bus trip in Hull you strike up a conversation with those around you, and this makes the time pass quickly.

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I'm not sure how many people travel on the bus after 0930 that do not have a bus pass. I'm looking forward to getting mine in a few years, if they still do them by then. (Not that far away really).

I hadn't got long to wait for the train and we left on time. The three carriages of the Transpennine Express were pretty full and as it seems there was a problem with the reservations it was quite fun. I didn't that there was a National Seat Reservation system but apparently it is coupled with the buying of the tickets and the many variable fares. It seems that the UK arm of a French company called Capgemini was given the contract to establish and run the system in 2009 for ten years. They will establish the IT infrastructure as well as the application and infrastructure management. It seems they had a bit of a melt down in 2015 too.

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There are different ways of showing the reservations but the main way seems to be a little ticket on the back of the seat. It seems quite archaic in this day and age. I am always surprised at the theatre, on planes and trains, just how many people seem to be unable to find their correct seat!

As we traveled to Leeds it was obvious that the prolonged rain had been heavy as all the rivers and canals were extremely high. As we passed over the railway swing bridge at Selby I was grateful that I didn't have to pass under it and then get turned round in time for the lock. I think we could have passed under!?

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A normal water level at the Selby Railway Bridge.

I had to change at Leeds. They did their best to throw us all off the scent by a last minute platform change but it wasn't a mad dash as it was just the other side of the platform. When the two carriage Northern train arrived I didn't think that all the folk on the platform would fit in. The train originated in York and was about 5 minutes late, due, apparently, to flooding on the line! We did all fit in and off we sped over the Pennines, via Bradford, Halifax, Burnley and Blackburn to Preston. We passed through Sowerby and Hebden Bridge and followed the route of the Rochdale Canal for quite a way. On the approach to Preston we crossed the Ribble and it was very high and fast. I'm not sure what parameters there are for crossing. May be there was too much water at Savick Brook or the fresh water coming down the river would make the current too strong for boats to cross north to south in time for the tide.

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The route from Leeds turns north after Hebden Bridge and loops round the back of Todmorden.

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From Todmorden we go through Burnley and Blackburn alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and then heads off to Preston.

It was another Northern Train from Preston to Rufford and it was one of those Pacer trains. It seems these were a stop gap measure to cover a shortage of rolling stock. They were built between 1980 and 1987 and were to last no more than 20 years! There are 5 different styles but all have features that belong on a bus rather than a train, like bench seats and a four wheel, two axle set up, and aluminium bodywork. It seems they have to be either replaced or have major refurbishment to comply with disabled access regulations that come in in 2020. One idea was that they may be replaced with reconditioned tube trains. The idea that the north, where the majority of the Pacer trains are based, should get cast offs from London did  not appeal. However some of the Pacer trains have been preserved on Heritage Railways!

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The Pacer Train is not really a 'pretty train' and is actually not very comfortable to ride on. The bus bench seats and the short wheel base and four rather than six wheels are a contributing factor. I think of them as the 'prefab' of trains.

I arrived at 14 25, a journey of 5 hours including waiting time, and it cost me £15-65 for the train (with my Senior Rail Card), and £2-60 for the bus, which I didn't think was bad at all. The journey in the car takes 2 hours 20 mins at best and could be hours longer if there is trouble on the motorways.

Once back we decided that we would stay in the marina until tomorrow morning rather than dash off. I got the ropes out and after a long shower I filled up with water. It took along time to fill and before I started I had never heard the swooshing noise that the water in the tank was very low. I don't think it has ever been that low since we first filled her up.

I can't wait for the off now and lets hope that the weather isn't too bad.

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