Friday, October 04, 2013

Getting my money's worth: A Northern Rail adventure - Prologue

I'm a crazy person.

There I said it. I'm bat-poo crazy.

Today, on the 4th October 2013, I will be travelling on the train for almost the entire day, give or take a few connections.

A few weeks ago, Northern Rail partnered with a newspaper publishing company to publish an advert in a variety of their publications which included a token. Collect two tokens and you can buy a ticket for unlimited Northern Rail travel for a day for £10. As a side story, I travelled to Buxton to obtain newspapers that actually contained said tokens, and bought 10 copies, meaning up to 5 days of travel.

I've used a couple on some silliness, going to Leeds, Selby and Brough, but I thought "what would get me my moneys worth? Well, going to Carlisle might be an idea, right at the top of the Northern network map. Nah, too easy. That just requires a change at Manchester and Leeds. How about going all the way round? On the Northern Rail network map, there is no Northern connection between York and Darlington, meaning the only way to get to Newcastle would be to go via Carlisle.


So here's the plan. On weekdays, the Northern Rail Day Ranger is only valid on trains after 8:45am. So, I will be on the 08:50 from Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly. I will walk to Victoria (or maybe get a tram). From Victoria, I will get the train to Leeds. Depending on how quickly I get there, I could maybe  get the 10:00 or the 10:21, arriving into Leeds at 11:33 or 11:57 respectively. Following that, the trains are a bit sporadic, so I've given myself plenty of time to account for delays at Crewe, Manchester or on route to Leeds, as the train to Carlisle leaves at 12:49, arriving at Carlisle at 15:32. Now, I don't know Carlisle station very well. The last time I got off a train there was due to overhead line problems meaning my Pendolino to Scotland had to stop there and I had to get a Voyager onward to Edinburgh. It was a very quick change and I didn't really pay much attention (it was a morning service). Unless we accidentally arrive early in Carlisle (it can happen) I will have just under an hour to wait before my train to Newcastle leaves at 16:28 (the previous one leaves a few minutes before I arrive), arriving in Newcastle (proper Newcastle-upon-Tyne, not Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is down the road from me and doesn't have a train station anyways) at 17:59.

So in a slightly less wordy way:

Depart TimeDepart Station--Arrive StationArrive Time
08:50Crewe--Manchester Piccadilly09:44
10:21Manchester Victoria--Leeds11:57

This is all assuming A) There are no delays, and B) I don't get stupid ideas and go elsewhere. I've got a hotel booked in Newcastle, so I will try and contain myself, and the number of trains between Leeds and Carlisle aren't frequent, so if I miss that, I will struggle catching up.

I will post some pictures and ramblings throughout the day tomorrow. I hope it's still bright at 6pm in Newcastle, as I want to play with the Metro :D

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