Blogging Up The Works

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Trains & Boats & Planes

Actually, on this occasion it was trains and buses and tubes and coaches and trams.

Yesterday I had to travel, with Kev tagging along, to Bury in Lancashire in order to pick up the bargain of the century. Now there is probably a nice direct train from Euston to Bury but knowing Virgin it probably costs a nice tidy price as well, so I went for the alternative.

Train from Brentford to Vauxhall.

The journey started well with catching the 9.53 to Waterloo. Brentford station has no ticket office and like many of the train stations on this bit of South West Trains you buy your ticket on board. Or at least you do if someone comes round to sell you one! They didn't so, as there are no exit barriers in force today at Vauxhall that was £5.90 saved.

Tube from Vauxhall to Victoria.

We get to Vauxhall at 10.19. Two stops on the Victoria line costs £3.00 each but luckily a train comes straight away and we get to Victoria at about 10.30. No hope of dodging that fare!

Bus from Victoria Station to Victoria Coach Station.

This was a bit of a luxury as it's only about 500 yards. Kev however is not sure 500 yards isn't too far for him to walk so we catch a number 11 bus. "2 to the coach station" I request of the driver. He shakes his head and nods for us to just get into the bus and not bother paying. Within minutes we are at the coach terminal.

Coach from London Victoria to Manchester Central

Checking the timetable there is a direct coach leaving at 11:00 with just one pick up at Milton Keynes. (Anorak Corner - the 540 service to Rochdale). Victoria coach terminal looks a lot better than the last time I used it but that must be a good 20 years ago or more. Kev waits whilst I rush to the ticket office and purchase two of their finest tickets for the journey. £41.00 for the pair. Not bad I suppose compared to what the train would probably set us back. Stopping momentarily to buy a couple of sandwiches to keep us going on the 4 1/2 hour journey we bound aboard and grab the last two seats together. The rest of the bus, all 23 other pairs of seats are occupied by one solitary person. The coach is away on time. Leaves via St Johns Wood, Camden, Brent Cross and onto the M1. Slight detour at Milton Keynes to The Coachway which is no more than 5 minutes off the motorway and we carry on after various groups of people try to work out how they can sit relatively near to each other. After the M1 it's the M6 and then probably some bit of the Greater Manchester motorway system and into the Centre. Coach arrives about 15 minutes early, even allowing for a change of driver at Knutsford Services. At no point did anyone check we had a ticket for the journey but just as we were ruing the fact that we had bought one we remembered that the driver had counted everyone and rung the figure through to the office. Whilst this confirmed the potential numbers of injured should the bus crash, it probably also allowed them to tally the number of people aboard with the number of tickets sold. If there was a discrepancy then no doubt tickets would have to be produced.

Tram from Manchester to Bury

We had hoped to catch another bus to Bury but the next one appeared to be at 8:55 this evening. Probably not true but that ruled it out anyway and we weren't in the mood to go looking for a mysterious GMPTE bus stop with buses Bury bound. Rushing to the information desk to ask how we get to Bury one of the three remembers that there is actually a tram 50 yards away which goes there so we walk to the nearby tramstop and immediately miss one. Luckily there is only a 10minute wait and, having purchased a couple of £3.10 tickets, which again were never checked so we might as well have not have bothered, we board and shoot off to the Northern reaches of Greater Manchester. We arrive in Bury at 4:25, ideal as we are meeting someone at 5:00.

With just 35 minutes left what can we do other than go take refreshment at the handily placed Robert Peel public house!

Then it was bargain time!

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