Saturday, October 05, 2013

Getting my money's worth: A Northern Rail adventure - A dash, a death and a drink

I am writing this from the comfort of my hotel room in Newcastle (I made it). The lack of updates since leaving for Carlisle are for a variety of reasons. Let's go through the journeys though:

So onward to Carlisle I went from Leeds. I posted a bunch of pictures on Twitter for a while, then I suddenly stopped. As I tweeted much later on, phone signal on that line was occasional at best. To make matters worse, my phone *attempting* to connect and my failed photo uploads meant that it used up lots of battery, meaning on the approach to Carlisle, my laptop had died and my phone was very low, so updates were quiet due to preserving battery (which turned out to be futile, more on this later).

Carlisle. I was outside of a train for less than 60 seconds. I arrived into platform 6, a bay platform, 5 minutes earlier than planned. Right next to platform 6 was platform 5, containing a train to Middlesbrough...VIA NEWCASTLE! It was the train one hour before the one I was due to get. I went to the front of my train on arrival and got out, dashed round and into the train in under 60 seconds. By catching this train, I would arrive into Newcastle an hour earlier than planned, and I did.

I remember my hotel being between Newcastle and Manors stations, a bit closer to Manors. Brilliant! I can get a train to Manors and save some more time! There was one ready to leave and I hopped on it, and the journey took about 2 minutes (ending the day on another Pacer was not in the plan, but whatever).

Then everything went wrong.

I planned on using my phone's map functions to guide myself to my hotel once I got to Manors. I got there and opened the maps application.

goodbye - Peter's Phone, October 2013

My battery died as I arrived at Manors. I got off the train in a bit of a dazed state. I had no idea where to go. I remember it being near the quayside or something like that, so off I went in search of hotels (they usually bunch together). I walked and walked, occasionally asking people directions only for them to not know or to send me to the wrong hotel. Eventually, I stopped off at a corner shop for a drink and the guy knew where the hotel was! I arrived at the hotel one hour and twenty minutes after my train originally arrived into Newcastle. I was exhausted, but I made it. Until I realised I only had 45 minutes to get myself checked in and find/get to "The Gate" to meet a friend and regular listener of my radio show for some food. That bit's not about trains, but he lives in Sunderland and uses the Metro to get to Newcastle. As a true English gentleman, I must see him off at his destination.

And so I went on the Metro, but that's for another blog post. I need sleep.

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