July 24th, 2006

mornington crescent

Oh noe! It's a bus on wheels!

Well, like what I said, I were in Bristol on Friday (and practically so on Saturday). The purpose of said trip was userinfoclaroscuro's brother's graduation.

Anyway, to simplify things we travelled out on Thursday, and stayed with userinfocurig, venturing into Bristol via train on Friday morning (along with him, on his way to work). Now, we knew from the ticket-office-clerk that the train was going to be short formed (and indeed, they were going to stop the following Virgin "through" train in order to handle customers who were unable to get on their intended one), so I was expecting something like a class 155 or (if we were really lucky) a two-unit class 165 to show up, particularly since this is the heart of the commuting South-West. But there I was on the platform, going "Oh noe! That's no train!" as a class 143 turned up (probably the one in that picture, it was certainly painted the same). This, naturally, brought back bad memories of the class 142s on the Harrogate line at York, where I first encountered the Pacer railbus, an experiment in using off-the-shelf bus parts to build trains with. These things have only four wheels per unit, so it's "ber-doing-dee, ber-doing-dee" all the way.... On the plus side the one we traveled on did appear to have had its seats upgraded from bus-style to airline-style, not that that made much difference to those of us packed in the passage-way between units. Whilst this was a journey much preferable to my experiences on the DLR during rush-hour, I don't think that that's really a recommendation…
septimus divergence

Tubular woes

Of course, that follows the outbound journey on which we had the delightful announcement in Kings Cross where it would've been easier to list the tube lines that were having "Good Service" (i.e. SNAFU), and the return where, with the Surface Lines out on the northern-Circle, and Kings Cross shut to suburban rail services, we went Bakerloo/Victoria to Tottenham Hale and joined a 'one' train there to get home. And got absolutely toasted (despite carrying bottles of water). I do wonder, however, why National Rail were directing Cambridge customers to Liverpool Street in preference to Tottenham Hale (generally easier to get to, if you'd be expecting to go to Kings Cross) and TfL at Paddington were directing Liverpool Street customers around the Circle the arse-backwards way, rather than Bakerloo/Central.

Fortunately, however, we weren't traveling on Sunday, where power problems in London took the usual engineering works chaos up to 11, not helped by a one-under on the Central Line….

Oh, and we stopped for 7 minutes at one of our stations between Bristol and Paddington because a man had boarded the train who had assaulted a "young lady" on the platform, and they weren't moving the train until he was evicted. This didn't, however, delay us sufficiently that we missed our train at Tottenham Hale but, in true userinfosenji style arrived on the platform with about a minute to spare.