The Anonymous Widower

Is The Bakerloo Line Extension To Be Built?

The Bakerloo Line Extension was originally planned to be built in the 1940s and it seems to come up every now and again.

In this supporting document to the London Infrastructure Plan for 2050, the following is said.

Potential extensions to the existing network to unlock major potential for housing development range from major rail schemes such as the extension of the Bakerloo  line, to extensions to the Overground. In unlocking development they also provide opportunities to secure funding towards the cost of delivery.

In some ways the second quoted sentence is the more important statement, as it might mean that developers, who want to contribute to infrastructure will be listened to. This happened in part with Canary Wharf at the Jubilee Line, so if done properly, it might mean an accelerated rate of construction of new infrastructure.

Obviously before any decision is made detailed costings and consultations must take place. According to this report though, it has a benefit cost ratio of 3:1

One factor that will be important, is how the project to create the Northern Line Extension to Battersea performs.

If it is on budget and on time, will that team be rolled over onto the Bakerloo?

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Why Not Use Peer-To-Peer To Fund Your Annual Season Ticket?

This sounds like a classic application of peer-to-peer lending, where you use a loan to finance an annual season ticket. Paying for a season ticket in one go, has advantages in that you can buy a Network Rail Goad Card too!, outlined here.

Obviously, you will need to get your finances right but a web site called Commuter Club, thinks it’s worthwhile doing.

The company has also got a write up in the FT.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Two Very Different Beds

I had two nights in Scotland and they couldn’t have been more different.

The first was in the Premier Inn at Lauriston Place in Edinburgh.

I’ve stayed there before and although not the best placed, it was easy to get to from the station after we finally found a taxi.

But I wasn’t prepared for what I found, although the receptionist said that my top-floor-room might be a bit hot.

A Greeting From Two Fans

A Greeting From Two Fans

I’ve never been met by two fans as I entered a room.

It was hot and so I opened the window as far as I could. But in the morning, this is what I read on my hygrometer/thermometer.

This Is Just Too Hot!

This Is Just Too Hot!

It is the worst case I’ve found of top-floor-overheating I’ve found.

It was much worst than the room, that I’d suffered in Iceland.

My second bed was on the Caledonian Sleeper. I took this picture lying in the comfortable enough bed.

Looking Around My Cabin

Looking Around My Cabin

When I got up it was nineteen degrees on the train, with a very pleasant humidity of 26%.

Strangely the quality of the sleep on both nights was about the same, but I have felt a lot better today, than I did yesterday.

The interesting thing though was that the single-occupancy bed on the Sleeper was cheaper than the night in Edinburgh.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Snack On The Caledonian Sleeper

The Caledonian Sleeper is in some ways a hangover from years gone by, but the train was busy. Quite a few people like me had been to the Commonwealth Games.

I decided to see if they had anything gluten-free. The cheese and oatcakes looked promising, so the steward checked to see if the oatcakes were safe. He produced the box.  I can’t remember the make, but the box said proudly that they were made without wheat.

So I gave it a try and this is what I received.

A Snack On The Caledonian Sleeper

A Snack On The Caledonian Sleeper

It was very nice, even if there was a bit too much wine for my taste at the moment. But at £8.50, who cares?

As I slept well held by the suspension of the Mark 3 coaches and didn’t need to go to the toilet until just before Euston, there can’t have been much wrong with my supper.


July 29, 2014 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

At The Games

These pictures were taken over two days at the Games.


On the Tuesday we had seats in a much better position on the opposite side of the stadium.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Crossrail

I saw this bus at Glasgow Central station, whilst I was awaiting a friend to go to the Games.

The Bus Connection Between The Two Stations

The Bus Connection Between The Two Stations

It connects the station to the other main one at Glasgow Queen Street.

It may work well, but it is needed in that Glasgow has effectively two rail networks; one going south and west from Central and another going east and north from Queen Street. This is illustrated, if you book a train from say Carlisle to the North of Scotland, where you either go via Edinburgh or use the bus to get across Glasgow.

London is adding the east-west cross city Crossrail to go with the current north-south Thameslink, which is being augmented and extended. Cross city routes have one big advantage in addition to the obvious one of linking places on either side of the city together, and that is that terminal platforms in city centres can be released for other purposes. Effectively in London, about half of the Midland Main Line platforms in St. Pancras, were released for Eurostar and High Speed services to Kent, by moving many services to Thameslink, where they effectively terminated at places like Brighton.

But it’s not just in London, that this technique of using a cross-city link to improve services and increase capacity is used.

  1. Liverpool has linked the Northern and Wirral lines to those going south through a tunnel, which also allowed the old Liverpool Central station to be redeveloped on its prime site as Central Village.
  2. Manchester is linking Piccadilly and Victoria stations, by means of new track and a bridge to create the Northern Hub.
  3. Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds don’t really have the two station problem, but many of them pair up services to save terminal platforms. The Valley and Local Cardiff routes are extensive and many services are end-to-end, stopping at Cardiff in the centre.

Obviously, as there are a lot of buildings in the way between Glasgow’s two station, a direct rail link would have to be tunnelled.

As I walked around Glasgow, I couldn’t help noticing two impressive structures. The first was the City Union Bridge.

City Union Bridge

And the second was this viaduct across the centre of the city.

The City Union Line

They were both part of the original City Union Line, which is now used for freight and empty stock movements. But it does appear to me to go from east to south across the city.

I had read about Glasgow Crossrail before, but I hadn’t realised that the missing link was so impressive and well-maintained. The Wikipedia article says this about the link.

Since the 1970s, it has been widely recognised that one of the main weaknesses of the railway network in Greater Glasgow is that rail services from the South (which would normally terminate at Central main line station) cannot bypass Glasgow city centre and join the northern railway network which terminates at Glasgow Queen Street station – and vice-versa for trains coming from the North. At present rail users who wish to travel across Glasgow have to disembark at either Central or Queen Street and traverse the city centre by foot, or by road.

Looking at the proposed project, it does seem that it might solve a few obvious problems with the rail system in Glasgow.

The proposal also includes the reopening of Cumberland Street railway station in the Gorbals, opening the area up to the passenger railway network for the first time since the 1960s and a link to the Glasgow subway at West Street station.

Amongst other developments the ability to go between the West Coast Main Line and the North of Scotland was listed.

I would be interesting to see the costs and benefits for Glasgow Crossrail.

On the first night at the Games, I went to the athletics and afterwards I needed to get to back to Edinburgh. The trains were totally overloaded and in a bit of chaos. Surely, Glasgow Crossrail might have allowed direct trains from the Hampden area to Edinburgh, which would have eased the problem, even if it meant a change of train at Central.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Water In Glasgow City Centre

In this hot weather, I like to travel with a small bottle of water, so I went into this Co-operative store by Glasgow Central station.

Water In Glasgow City Centre

It was the weirdest shop I’ve ever been in as everything was behind glass partitions. As I couldn’t find any water and a couple of other things I needed, I gave up.

So I went round the corner to a Tesco Express. That was weird too, as it seemed to be full of alcohol and chocolate. I did get my bottle of water though, and I was able to eventually find some EatNakd bars and some tissues.

As in the Co-op, there seemed to be several visitors to Glasgow, wandering aimlessly around looking for what they needed.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | , , | Leave a comment

Who Nicked Me Titfer?

I took this picture of the statue of the Duke of Wellington.

Who Nicked Me Titfer?

Who Nicked Me Titfer?

Someone has stolen the road cone, he usually wears as a hat!

There’s a report about this on Scotland Now!

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Searching For The Kelpies

On my visit to the Commonwealth Games, I had to travel back to Glasgow, so I thought I’d go via Falkirk and see the Kelpies. On looking it up before I left London, I found that the web site was rather vague  This is what it said.

From Edinburgh to Falkirk High (25 minutes) or Falkirk Grahamston (35 minutes)

From Glasgow Queen Street to Falkirk High (20 minutes) or Falkirk Grahamston (50 minutes)

From Stirling to Falkirk Grahamston (15 minutes)

From London direct to Falkirk Grahamston (5 hours) or change at Edinburgh or Glasgow

There are also services to Polmont Station, Larbert Station and Camelon Station.

It mentions several stations but which one is the nearest?

On the way up Princes Street, I got talking to a young lady and by chance, she said she’d been and had taken the train to Falkirk Grahamston station and then walked.

I though I’d check in the Tourist Office at Waverley Station and they said to go to Falkirk High station.

As I’d got one vote for each Falkirk station, I decided to ask a Scotrail Customer Service Agent. He gave me exactly the same story as the young lady, so I went to Falkirk Grahamston.

I took these pictures at Falkirk.

You will notice that none show any information on how to get to the Kelpies. One does show a distant picture of the Kelpies (?) from the train as I approached.

So in the end I walked back to the station and got another train to Glasgow.

Give Falkirk this, they have got the station name in Gaelic and two good maps, even if neither shows the Kelpies or the Falkirk Wheel.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Nightmare on Princes Street

Princes Street in Edinburgh may be a famous street, but the new trams haven’t improved it, with their unsightly poles and wires everywhere.

The biggest problem is crossing from one side to the other, as there aren’t enough crossings and you have to walk up and down between them to get across. I mentioned this to the young lady, who gave me the directions for the Kelpies and she said the trams had made it worse for some reason. I had wanted to cross to a Tesco to get my copy of The Times, but by the time I got to the crossing it had become blocked by buses. No wonder Scots seem to jaywalk much more than us Sassanachs. It’s the only way they can get across.

I then saw a Marks and Spencer on the other side, so as I knew they had papers and gluten-free sandwiches, I decided to give them a try.

Marks and Spencer on Princes Street, Edinburgh

Marks and Spencer on Princes Street, Edinburgh

Firstly, I had to walk back about a hundred metres to find a crossing.

Then, I couldn’t find any gluten-free sandwiches, as they’d already sold out at nine in the morning. But then there is no other shop selling gluten-free food near the station.

So I thought I’d try the Marks and Spencer in the station on my way to the Kelpies at Falkirk.

But they didn’t have any either.  I have complained.

So I bought my paper and hoped I could find something in Falkirk.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment


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