I should add several Underground and Overground trains and quite a few buses.
But of those 33 trains, only one was late and that didn’t stop me doing what I wanted. One, incidentally, a train from Leeds to London on Day 1 was actually a few minutes early. I won’t complain about that!
The coach from Birmingham to Blackburn on Day 3 was an hour late because of traffic and the seemingly endless time, it took to get across Manchester. But it didn’t mean I had to make any serious changes to the schedule.
I shall give out a few awards each week.
Heroes of the Week
This has to go to the staff of First Great Western, who got me back to London from Bristol on Day 5, despite the fact I fell asleep on the train to Bristol Parkway and ended up in Gloucester.
Another award should go to Jeff on the same day, who helped me navigate Bristol’s buses.
Most Surprising Stadium of the Week
Given the problems they have had over the years, AFC Bournemouth was a relevation. The location was good, the stadium was easy to find from the station. And the coffee was excellent too.
Best Stadium of the Week
I haven’t seen a match there but Brighton seems to tick every possible box. When Ipswich play in February, I’ll be going.
Best Signposted Stadium of the Week
It hurts me to say this, as someone who supported their bitter rivals, Enfield, as a boy, but it has Barnet.
Worst Signposted Stadium of the Week
It has to be Bradford City. You can see the stadium from the station and this draws you the wrong way, where there are no signposts at all. As I said in the Day 4 post, for a stadium with such a tragic past, it is almost disrespectful.
It should be compulsory for every football club director to go to a match by public transport, at least once a year. But I suspect, some believe that anybody who doesn’t come by car is a loser and they don’t want losers as supporters. Surely any bum on any seat is a profit.
Welcoming Stadia of the Week
Best Town/City of the Week
I was very surprised by Bournemouth. But then you’d expect it to have things going for it, as its problems are far less than most places. If you were going to make a day or even a weekend of the match, then it would be ideal. Obviously, you could make a longer visit with any of the London or big city clubs, Brighton, or even somewhere like Accrington or Burnley, where there are other attractions.
Dump of the Week
Is there anything right about the town of Blackpool? You can understand, why even the Labour Party has deserted it for its conferences since 2002. I must admit I have a particular dislike of the place, as I’ve never been able to find any decent gluten-free food there, but others I spoke to on my travels around the north, seemed to feel exactly as I do about the place. And they were Northerners! Most said it wasn’t their scene or something like that!
Here’s a few things that must be fixed.
- There are no maps at the stations.
- There is no details about the trams and how to find or use them at the station. The trams are unique and should be the backbone of transport within the town, as they go quickly from the very north to the very south of the town.
- The bus stops have no details about where the buses go, that a visitor would understand.
- Most pedestrian crossings are not light controlled and many of those that are, were broken or vandalised.
- Many of the public toilets appear to be almost derelict.
The football ground too, might be modern, but the club has the worst attitude to visiting fans I’ve ever found. The view is very much restricted too, because the seating has all the wrong angles. I bet none of the directors of Blackpool have ever sat and watched a game from the visiting supporters section.
Humour of the Week
Surely the sign at Burnley!
So I may be a few stadia behind, but it has been an interesting week. Thanks must go to all of the supporting people, I’ve met on my journey. One even tried to give me forty pounds on the Underground. I said no, as I want all donations to go through JustGiving, because the charity gets more.
I saw this sign at Burnley Manchester Road station.
Notice that it just says Train. Does this mean that they are just one a day?
In fact, if I was the Fat Controller of Britain’s railways the line between Blackpool North, Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Halifax, Bradford, Leeds and York is one that I’d upgrade seriously. It links the East Coast main line, at Leeds and York, with the West Coast main line at Preston. With three coach trains, an increased frequency and better bus/train interfaces like they have at Blackburn and it could have a postive benefit to the area. I didn’t see much of the countryside, in my four journeys on the line this week, as it was either raining or dark and sometines both.
As I said in an earlier post, I took the morning easy and just turned up at Euston, bought a ticket and took the 11:30 train to Preston, where I changed for Burnley Manchester Road, which is the nearest station to the Burnley ground, Turf Moor. The walk-up ticket cost me £48.70, as opposed to the £13.85, I’d paid for an advance ticket, for an early train. But of course I couldn’t use that one after my troubles in Bristol! Well that is if I wanted to stay sane, fit and well.
I arrived at the ground just before two after about 30 minutes walk. The trouble is that the station is on one hill and the ground is on another and the only public transport between the two is a taxi. I’ve said before, that crossing the main road by the station in Welcome to Burnley is not the easiest. I met a lady at the station as I moved on to Leeds, when I left and she agreed.
But the people at the club are very friendly and I got a good welcome there.
The receptionist took the picture, which sums up the club well, and told me about one of their former players who has suffered a serious stroke. My best wishes go out to him and his family.
She also told me, how she and a few friends were having an expedition to Brighton to see Burnley play in December, staying for the weekend nearby. Sadly, I won’t be going to Burnley this season as Ipswich play them on a Tuesday night.
From Burnley, I took the train to Leeds, on my way to Burton Albion. It was in fact three trains and I suffered my first delay of the week as it was a bit of a tortuous journey, where I had to change at both Leeds and Derby. The late train, was the service from Leeds to Derby, which was twenty-two minutes late and that knocked on. I dfo wonder how many tickets are issued between Burnley and Burton Albion
The picture sums up Burton, although it wasn’t the club or the twon’s fault. To say it was raining would be an understatement, so I chickened out walking to the ground, as pneumonia would not be something to add to my ailments. The picture was taken by a cheery taxi driver, originally from Wimbledon.
Originally, when this day was planned, I would have moved on to Bury. But walking around Manchester, late at night and in the rain, I decided that to return home would be a better idea. After changing trains at Birmingham, I was in London around ten and asleep in bed, just after eleven.