Robert Hampton

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11th October 2006

Blog me happy!
Posted by at 1.22pm | 1 response | It's My Life, Trains

The creative writing course I mentioned a couple of weeks ago is not happening for me now, for reasons far too complex and dull to go into here. Ironically, I seem to be bursting with creativey-writey-type ideas at the moment (although, as you’ve just seen, I’m having less luck with finding appropriate descriptive adjectives).

Work is still crap. Fortunately I wasn’t there all last week, which brings me on to the part I’m sure you’re all most interested in (yes you are): my Rail Roving exploits. My week-long exploration of the North West rail network was insanely enjoyable, despite a few hitches along the way, which was to be expected. Lessons learned for future reference include:

  • Planning a 5-minute connection onto a train that runs less than once an hour is a bad move. More so when missing said connection dumps you in Barrow-in-Furness for almost an hour.
  • Don’t ride on lines through the Pennines or the Lake District in October and expect to see anything other than rain streaming down the windows and vague hill-shaped objects looming out of the mist.
  • Northern Rail need a new footnote in their timetable: “X – this train will be full of chav teenagers and will only be one coach so you can’t escape from them.”
  • Virgin’s Voyager trains smell like… well, they smell.

On the other hand, I got to ride lots of lines I’d never used before, including the West Coast Main Line north of Lancaster, the Kirkby to Wigan shuttle, the minimally-served Ellesmere Port to Helsby line and the downright ludicrous Stockport to Stalybridge line, with its one train a week in one direction only. Full report is on the aforementioned Rail Rover page (not finished, but will be in the next day or so).

My travels took me past Leeds on Thursday evening, which proved an ideal opportunity to catch up with renowned former pig-wrangler Rob Baldwin. We talked, we laughed, and it was generally a fun time had by all, despite an awkward moment where I admitted to liking Sandi Thom. I remember Rob as one of the few people at school who wasn’t a complete twat, and I’m pleased to report that, six-and-a-half years later, he is still 100% untwattish. Let’s everyone pester him to update his blog!

One Response
  1. Comment by James H
    23rd October 2006 at 8:06 pm

    Do you have Rob’s contact info? I was thinking fondly upon him the other day and would like to see how he is.