Robert Hampton

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24th July 2007

You Choo Choo Choose Me?
Posted by at 11.59pm | 2 responses | Trains

Not done a proper post about trains for a while, but there have been a few interesting developments on the railways recently which are worthy of discussion, so here goes…

First of which has been the devastating/positive (delete as applicable) news a couple of weeks ago that Arriva have snatched Cross Country Trains away from Virgin Trains. Doesn’t actually affect me that much, since Liverpool was unceremoniously deleted from the XC network quite some time ago (grr) but the good news is the triumphant return of the HST!

Cross Country HST

There’s a nice high quality version of the above image on Arriva’s website.

Then there was the suggestion last week that Liverpool FC could pay for the upgrade of a freight-only line to provide a direct link to their new stadium. The reinstated line would branch off from the main line at Edge Hill and run via Anfield and Tuebrook to link up with the Northern Line at Bootle. I am now officially a Liverpool supporter.

Meanwhile, today the Government’s White Paper on Sustainable Railways was announced by the slightly creepy transport secretary, Ruth Kelly. Unsurprisingly, most of the investment is concentrated in London and the South East, although we may get some extra carriages on urban routes elsewhere. Disappointingly there’s no commitment to wide-ranging electrification of the network (“What is this Climate Change of which you speak? Why would we want fewer diesel trains?”).

At long last the fares structure is going to be simplified, with tickets actually given meaningful names — the Open Return becomes “Anytime” (which presumably just edged out “Rip Off” as a brand name); the Saver becomes “Off Peak” and the myriad book-ahead tickets (Virgin Value et al) will be reduced to a single “Advance” ticket type. The Government claims to be committed to retaining a “walk up” railway where tickets don’t have to be booked in advance, which — if true — is good for me as I hate having to commit to travelling on a specific train.

Finally, it’s come to my attention that a relic of Merseyside’s transport history is slowly rusting away in a siding in Warwickshire. The Class 502 trains plied their trade on the Liverpool-Southport/Ormskirk routes for over 40 years. Now there’s only one left, and it’s suffering from the effects of open storage and neglect. So let’s do something about it.

2 Responses
  1. Comment by Seb
    25th July 2007 at 8:04 am

    Triumphant return? I see an FGW HST almost every day, as they pass through Ealing Broadway station, where I get the tube from. I even got on one to Didcot the other day. It’s great. It took me years and years to see my first HST “in person”, and now I see ’em all the time. Shame they’re in that awful FGW livery and not in Intercity black and white, but still.

  2. Comment by Robert
    25th July 2007 at 6:29 pm

    I meant the triumphant return of the HST to Cross Country, although even there they never really went away, as Virgin have been regularly hiring in sets for services where Voyagers are inadequate.

    Ealing Broadway? Is that south of Crewe? Might as well be Mongolia. 😛