92 Clubs – Day 27 – Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth
If I’d chosen different trains to go to Oxford, this day could have been subtitled a day of six HSTs or Inter City 125s, but time was tight, if I was to get back to London at a reasonable hour.
Oxford, must surely be one of the most difficult stadia to get to from the town centre, even if you have a car. And if you do, you have to actually drive along the by-pass where there are queues of traffic. Of all the taxis I have taken to get to and from grounds, Oxford was by far the most expesive.
Oxford‘s stadium is just a rather anonymous pile stuck by the Science Park. I will not be sad, if I never ever go there again. It should be said, that Oxford is not noted for its wonderful traffic systems, as every time I go, it always seems to be totally gridlocked. A couple of years ago, I went there to play real tennis and walked to the court from the station. It would appear that or a bicycle is the only sane way to get about. If ever a city needed a second or parkway station it is Oxford.
Peterborough was a very different kettle of fish and it was just a short run in a High Speed Train to the city and then about 15 minutes walk.
I should say that the walk could be made easier, but I suspect that as the ground is still not finished, that this will come later.
I was soon back on another HST to Kings Cross and then it was on the Circle Line to Paddington for Plymouth.
I had been unable to get a seat online, so I just bought an Off Peak Return and made the best of what was available, as the picture shows.
I should say that it wasn’t that uncomfortable and I got a seat from Taunton, when the train started to clear. I wouldn’t like to sit like that in a Pendolino, as they certainly don’t ride like forty-year old HSTs.
It did look like it was all going to go pear-shaped, as the train had been delayed at Paddington for about fifteen minutes by a fault and this meant it had got stuck behind a stopping train along the Devon Coast. We were nearly thirty minutes late at Totnes and it was starting to look like I’d miss the 18:00 back to London. But then driver got a clear line and let the HST go, so much so that it was only twenty minutes late at Plymouth, giving me just ten minutes to get to the stadium and back.
As you can see I made it.
I did get a seat all the way back, but the train was late due to someone falling under a train at Reading West station.
But if the day did prove one thing, it was that the stopgap Intercity 125 is a superb train. But then I know that, having been through the Highlands at 90 mph.
There are plans to make sure these trains continue for a few years yet. Who’s to say that in the 2060s, they won’t be a tourist attraction in their own right, as they speed passengers to the West Country. Probably to the consternation of politicians, who can find all sorts of reasons to not use a what would be then be a nearly ninety year old train. After all, I doubt that electrifying this line to Plymouth will ever be done.