Wednesday 19th September 2018, 4.20pm (day 2,582)
We are getting longer platforms! And lifts to and from them, from the subway! It’s a miracle…. or will be, if we ever get the train service to match.
We went to a family funeral today and I faced the moral dilemma of whether to depict it on here or respect the privacy of the occasion. But then while waiting for the train home I saw this little scene over on the other side of Lancaster station, thus saving me the trouble of resolving the problem. I love the way it’s all rectangles, apart from her. Well, actually — a couple of little triangles have slipped in there too. But I’m ignoring them.
Finding myself on Stoke-on-Trent railway station for half an hour today, and time therefore to ponder this sculpture: not so much why is it there at all (for there should be more public art if you ask me), but why tuck it down the very far end of platform 2 where hardly anyone ever goes?
The blue post may seem an intrusion but I like it. The photo becomes a study of the various lines going both across and down.
There is nothing to complain about regarding the weather, at the moment. It has been glorious, for about three weeks now, certainly since the weekend in Scotland, May 5-7.
There is everything to complain about regarding the state of our local Northern Rail service, a metaphorical view of which could see the recent timetable change as a pint of week-old milk poured into some already dodgy sauce and, consequently, it curdling alarmingly. Was turfed off my original train at Rochdale, hence here you see almost the entire population of said train trying to get on the next one, which will itself already be busy. I waited a little longer, got in 20 minutes late, and the sad thing is, this is now the new normal. Never have I encountered a large company offering such shoddy service before, close to collapse, and we might even have it better on this line than many others.
The conference ended today but I am in Zagreb until Friday, and transited to a different hotel in the early afternoon. My walk there took me past the main railway station, a symbolic spot for those who have seen and enjoyed From Russia With Love — the best Bond movie (yes, it is) — as it’s here that 007 meets the evil Grant –the best Bond villain (don’t argue now) — posing as a fellow British agent.
Actually, those scenes weren’t filmed here, but in Turkey: and in the book, Grant and Bond meet not in Zagreb, but Trieste. But this is just detail….
The world’s first-ever railway line ran from Darlington to Stockton in 1825, and 192 years later the time it takes to get between these two places by train probably isn’t a great deal less than it was. As one waits, then, for the trains to permit one to leave Teesside there is plenty of time to admire the surrounding scenery, a happy hunting ground for fans of industry and the urban. I am not intending to be rude: I have had two good days out here in the last couple of weeks. But you don’t come for the landscapes. Or the train service.
This blog isn’t intended to be political and it’s been a little while since I had cause to depict the lousy state of the local train service. I know this can be a default position for the commuter, that it’s always terrible, but really, Arriva Northern have surpassed themselves in recent months with overcrowding and cancellations. I am lucky – I can organise my day to avoid peak rush hours, on the whole, hence the timing of this shot. Many cannot and are forced to put up with the same crap every week day.
Hey, I’m not morally censuring. A few seconds after taking this shot (oh look…. sunshine!), I also ignored the signage. Everybody does. Come off the footbridge leading to platforms 4-6 on Victoria station and you can ignore it, too.
February dawns bright and clear, with snow on the ground on the Lancashire side of the Pennines, but not in Yorkshire — which is unusual. The light covering of white that was on Victoria station roof in the morning would not have taken long to melt off in the sunshine.
Since early December there has been a whole new version of our train service, extending — at least on paper — to Oxford Road station. This all makes my life mildly more convenient coming home on an afternoon, as long as I can bugger off no later than 4pm; in the morning it makes no difference at all, being quicker to walk between the two stations. For this, your friendly government magnanimously spent £85m on the Ordsall Chord development. Well, I’m sure it’s all part of some bigger plan somewhere. After all, it would be terrible to think that the people in charge of the country’s finances didn’t actually have a clue.