92 Clubs – Day 14 – Gillingham, Hartlepool
It was quite an early start to get a bus to London Bridge for a train to Gillingham. I t was almost still dark, when I arrived and I followed the signs at the station to the Priestfield Stadium. It is only a short walk.
As you can see it is rather tucked away in the houses and the away supporters have to brave the weather.
I then took one of the Class 395 or Javelin trains back to St. Pancras.
I then had a couple of hours before I took the 11:23 Grand Central service direct to Hartlepool. I used the time productively to have breakfast in Carluccio’s, buy myself some sandwiches for the journey and investigate a walking route between Euston and Kings Cross/St. Pancras.
I arrived at Hartlepool on time in a station, that was totally unexpected.
I know the area well from my time at ICI and visits later and have actually travelled to London from the previous station on the line, Eaglescliffe, in the 1970s. Everybody, should note how with a little artistic creativity, some common sense and not vast amounts of money a dingy station like Hartlpool, can be made totally acceptable to anyone who wants or needs to travel by train. I think too much, we concentrate on the trains, when for many journeys we spent quite a bit of time in or around the stations.
It was just another well-posted short walk to the ground.
I then explored the town, of which I will post more later, before I ended up in this micropub on the station.
The Rat Race Ale House was well worth a visit and say if you are a supporter, who travels to the ground by rail, it is a place to at lest try for a pre-match drink. But don’t go if you drink chemical lager!
Every station should have one!
It had been a day of contrasts, a southern town and ground, that needed to be lifted up and a northern one, that had suffered a lot of unemploymemt in the 1970s and 1980s, that had pulled itself off the floor in style.
Just as I said with Exeter, I hope Ipswich draw Hartlepool, one day in a cup. The town is well worth a visit. I know it’s a long way from the south and if you don’t book early it could be expensive on the train, but give it a try!