Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 0: Train Ride to St. Bees

Today early morning I took a train from London Euston station to St. Bees. This involved two transfers, one at Preston and one at Barrow in Furness. There was only few minutes between the transfers. But everything went like clock work!

British train system has lot of bad press. But is not as bad as what people and press say. In fact after reading such articles, I had such low expectations of Britrail, they exceed expectations most of the time, which turns out to be a pleasant surprise for me.

My family and I have used the British rail service a few times in the past. Without doubt I can say trains are the best mode of transport when you travel around with young kids. They can move around (and run around), play with other kids, they can sleep comfortably lying down when they gets tired, the scenery keeps changing, try different food, get out an explore stations on the way – it has got all that can keep kids engaged and educated. After trying many types of trains in many countries in Asia and Europe it is my favourite mode of transport as well – even though I not young any more.

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From London to Preston it was a Virgin Express train with all the bells and whistles, like in seat dining, Wifi and mobile repeaters. Unfortunately the first two were for business class and I wasn't in it. At Preston I changed to a TransPenine Express Train – with just two compartments. At Barrow when I changed the trains again, the new train just had one compartment!

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20 minutes from London, the scenery changes to the country side. Grass lands, yellow and purple flowers, canals and boats, sheep, sheep and more sheep. There is so much sheep in UK, it will make New Zealand look bad. Strangely lamb is such a small part of restaurant menus in the UK, I wonder what is done with all these sheep's?

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All of a sudden it started raining heavily. Along with rain and the mist the outside initially it looked like “Middle Earth”, but as the rain became strong the outside scenery completely disappeared. I turned my attention to a few magazines I bought at the station about walking and trekking (there are quiet a few!). In one of the magazines they were describing how to go for walking in summer at the end of each day after work, camp and be back to the office the next day morning on time!

30 minutes later and after change of trains the rain has completely disappeared and everything looks bright.

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At Preston Station while I was clicking heavily one of the station attendants insisted (nicely) that I have to see the Plaque unveiled by the Queen. Here is a picture of the Plaque.

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The Station itself looked grand with its bright red and green architecture.

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Finally after almost 5 hours of train journey I reached St. Bees station – as expected a very small train station.

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6 comments:

Scott Shin said...

Must've been a pleasant ride looking at the weather. Nothing like English/Scotish country side as long as weather is fine. Brings me back the memory of 1996, time I had lived in England for 6 months.

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shantnu said...

Inspiring work.....some of us dream of taking time out to pursue atleast part of our dreams....u are living it....all the best...

see u at teh cartel when ur back !!

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MOMASTICS said...

please did you get to Asia? I have photos of Asians eating humans, want to know if this is true

Jeff said...

I worked on St Bees station as a summer job from university. This was as recently as 1964. The station has not changed in the slightest. The absolute best bit was to climb the signals, which give brilliant and unique views of the Lake District.

I expect namby pamby OHS will have banned this now! Oh, and most of the trains were steam-hauled, which was wonderful.

If anyone would like to follow up I am on jeff.in.melbn@gmail.com

Regards...

Jeff Steel