Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Just back from 5 days of teaching on the Sussex coast
The sun sets over Worthing Pier - I love the seaside in autumn.
Another set of airbrushing and weathering courses in Lancing, near Worthing, passed off successfully. Once again, they proved enjoyable, if a little tiring and it was good to meet some new faces and catch up with a number of previous attendees. It was also good to catch up with the friendly staff at The Airbrush Company, who organise my courses and generally look after me while I'm so far from home.

Talking of which, I travelled down by train along a different route this time, after finding last year's trek with Cross Country Trains (via Southampton) a real ordeal in terms of comfort and cost. This time, I travelled via Sheffield and the old Midland route to St Pancras, which proved not only more comfortable and less crammed, but also far cheaper. Indeed, I managed to go 1st Class for a song, even though I was arriving in London for 10am on a weekday. That would have been well into three-figures on the West Coast line, yet it was £30 each way with East Midlands Trains. I'll be doing it again, even if it does add a few hours and about 100 miles onto my journey.

Coming back on Sunday was even more fun, with 5 trains and nearly 10 hours of train travel. We took a diverted route back to St Pancras from Brighton, shuffling through the South London suburbs to cross the Thames at Blackfriars, which added nearly an hour to the journey. The HST back to Sheffield was also diverted, involving an exciting reversal in Toton yard of all places, to take the line up to Derby. I managed to spot quite a few Class 60s at Toton depot, along with a forlorn looking 58. There were plenty of Class 37s at Derby, plus a trio of Class 73s.

I was certainly tired by the time I'd alighted from the fifth leg of my journey, but all in all it had been a pleasurable trip. None of the trains had been particularly fast, with even the HST having so many station calls to make that I doubt if we got up to full speed for very long. But, that's fine by me. You can keep your HS2 - just give me a comfy seat, a big window, no noisy engine under my feet, draughts of fresh air coming in from the vestibules (where you can open a window if you like), no overcrowding, cheery staff and cheap fares, and I'm as happy as Larry.

Fishing boats litter the beach on the way to Lancing.

The journey home starts here: Worthing, 8:56am. It would be 7pm before I got home!

EMU 319008 Cheriton conveyed me from Brighton to London. 

Change at Brighton, for an FCC service to St Pancras - off the train on the right and onto the train on the left!

With over an hour to kill at St Pancras, I made the most of the sunshine to admire the splendid architecture from the outside. 

The inside of St Pancras leaves me a bit cold - literally: all grey steel, concrete and capitalism (there's nowhere warm to sit unless you're paying to dine in a posh cafe or restaurant. I counted a grand total of 20 seats for travellers heading north, exposed on the upper concourse. I suppose a traditional waiting room doesn't generate enough money.
Kings Cross is looking better from the outside these days. How many retail units have they crammed in here, I wonder?

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