Category Archives: Railways

Stop me if I’ve had this moan before…

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An off peak day return from Willington to Nottingham (courtesy of Cross Country trains) is £9. Curiously, but perhaps graciously, an Anytime day return is also £9. This was not always the case as I well remember being surcharged (albeit only the nominal difference) for leaving Nottingham on the ‘wrong’ train in the past.

Here’s the kicker though: A day return from Willington to Ratcliffe on Trent (two stations beyond Nottingham – but requiring a change of train in said city to get there) is £7.60.

I understand the laws of Supply and Demand. However, whilst it might be stretching a point, I also understand the Theft Act. Like it or not, buying a cheaper ticket with no intention of travelling beyond Nottingham has to be a deception, albeit with no chance (?) of it ever being proved (or inclination of it being prosecuted?)

On the other hand, there is at least one CrossCountry conductor who goes out of their way to tell passengers of the cheap fare (“you don’t want to go there, go here instead”), handing the ticket over as a done deal.

I’m not sure what the point of saying all this is? Other than I suppose it’s more proof that it’s a funny old world.

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My Kind of Station [Updated]

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Sheffield station has to be one of the better places to have to wait for a train. Not only is it home to the Sheffied Tap – a fabulous real ale pub in the Midland Railway opulence of the former refreshment room – but there is now a Starbucks kiosk on the platform. Good job there’s not one on Derby station or I may be tempted to take up train spotting. (Again!)

[Update]

Um. Having now used the Starbucks kiosk pictured above, I’m less enthused. I’d enjoyed a pint of Dark Star Milk Chocolate Stout and another of Partridge Best Bitter (no, never heard of it, either) in the Sheffield Tap. So I felt obliged to wash the beer down with a Pike Place as the 1654 Edinburgh – Plymouth Cross Country rolled in.

The telltale “we don’t take Starbucks cards here” notice (because they are a licencee, not a real Starbucks) was a bit of a warning. So I wasn’t overly surprised when the Barista told me the “filter coffee was off” and “would I like an Americano instead”. Normal practice in a real Starbucks in such cases is to charge the same as a drip coffee, but given its licencee status, I wasn’t at all surprised when I was charged for an Americano. So, it’s £2.10 rather than £1.70, but it still bugs me no end when it happens.

The licencee Starbucks at Pride Park have tried it on a few times and I’ve always challenged it, with the result that the last couple of times they’ve “run out” of fresh coffee, they’ve done the right thing. This time, two pints of fine ale to the better, I was sufficiently chilled and decided to live with it. Still think it amounts to sharp practice though.

Pointless Sign?

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For the first time that I can recall, Willington station has been blessed with a timetable broken down into popular destinations. Given that in the current incarnation of the timetable, it is exclusively Birmingham – Nottingham trains which stop at Willington, the entire exercise is in itself somewhat pointless. A good old fashioned list of times at which trains stop would do.

The real head-scratcher, however, is the suggested route for a mid-morning excursion to Birmingham… Change at Long Eaton!?

I’ve yet to look at the times in detail, so I’m unclear whether the suggestion is to travel out via Derby, cross the platform, and return via Derby (thus wasting 10 minutes or so each way), or to then change to a Leicester service and change again there for Birmingham?

Either way, I suspect presenting a Willington to Birmingham ticket on boarding at Long Eaton would result in an Excess Fare being charged.

Bizarre.

Don’t suppose the solution of a mid-morning service in the Birmingham direction stopping at Willington was considered?

Update

I have now looked at the full timetable and, to use the 10:54 example…


Willington depart 10:54
Derby arrive 11:05
Derby depart 11:10
Long Eaton arrive 11:19
Long Eaton depart 11:51
Derby arrive 12:02
Derby depart 12:06
Birmingham New Street arrive 12:53

Or, how about:-


Willington depart 10:54
Derby arrive 11:05
Derby depart 11:06
Birmingham New Street arrive 11:53

Or if that very tight connection doesn’t work, there’s a 11:27 non-stop departure from Derby arriving at 12:07.

Long Eaton – why……..?