When Mrs P and I decide to go to London, we catch the train. For us it is free, so there’s not really a decision to make regarding mode of transport. It’s a comfotable way to go, and quick – we’re in the capital in about an hour and fifty minutes. The end of the line for us is Waterloo station, the country’s busiest in terms of passengers entering and exiting. Nearly a hundred million of them every year. We’re doing our bit to try and heave the station over the line into nine digit territory. Continue reading
We are being blessed with Mexican weather in the UK at the moment. Let me define Mexican weather for you. Or at least, my definition of Mexican weather. It’s nowt to do with where the mercury settles in a thermometer. It’s nowt to do with the hours of sunshine we receive. Mexican weather is the scourge of the meteorological office and weather presenters across the nation. Because we have all stopped checking the apps and listening to forecasts. Mexican weather is predictable. You know just what we’re going to get, and it’s going to be the same as yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before that etc.
The old and the new, side by side. Rail franchises change overnight. Changing the branding takes considerably longer. I’m going to stick my neck out and offer a £1 bet to any takers – by the time this franchise is up in seven years time, I’ll still be able to find some sort of branding of the old franchise still on display somewhere.
I’ve been on a few scenic railway journeys in my life. I have done one of the greatest train journeys of them all in fact. Back in 2003 I boarded El Chepe at Los Mochis. The very name Los Mochis sounds like some sort of sizzling hell hole from a Star Wars movie, inhabited by bandits and home to all sorts of illegal trades and generally skullduggery. And, quite frankly, it is as bad it sounds, or at least my experience of it was. The train ride to Creel, though, was magnificent. I’ve written about this before, more than once.
In a couple of months I have another great railway journey lined up. It’s a very special trip on a special train that will travel along tracks through countryside that has been made famous in all sorts of movies. It’s often voted as the greatest railway journey in the world. I’ll have to wait and see if there is any truth to that. Hopefully there will be more fabulous railway trips over the coming years. One of the big benefits of my job are the travel benefits afforded not only to myself, but Mrs P too. We get free use on the network I work for, and a 75% discount on the rest of the national network. In August, once I’ve completed a full year of service, those benefits will extend across Europe.
I’ve always liked rail journeys. Even other people’s rail journeys. There’s a programme I watch regularly that reminds me of life in Mexico City. Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys. He used his early 20th century Bradshaws guide to tour the UK on the train. I spent many hours on the metro or in cafes watching his television series. And now I can recreate them for myself. He’s also done a series on European travel. But now he is back with yet another series. If you haven’t yet guessed where, then you didn’t read the title of this post very carefully. Perhaps you’d like to join him on his trip? Someone has kindly, and probably rather illegally, uploaded the series onto YouTube. Enjoy it while it lasts.