92 Clubs – Day 40 – Swindon, Torquay, Tottenham
Swindon was surprisingly easy, as it was only about twenty minutes walk from the main railway station.
Or it will be when they finish the roadworks and sort out the pedestrian access around the station. There are a few maps and signs, but due to the location of the ground, the road signs are a great help once you get started in the right direction. They also have helpful distances on a lot of them.
I’d arrived on the 08:15 from London at 09:13 and had plenty of time to catch the 10:55 direct train to Torquay. I was surprised it was a direct train, but even more surprised that it was a High Speed Diesel Train on its way from Paddington to Paignton, via Swindon, Bath, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Exeter and Torquay. I hope that after electrification of the main line to Bristol and Cardiff, that they use these trains to run lots of holiday trains to the West Country.
I was meeting an old friend in Torquay, so I took a taxi to Torquay‘s football ground. I didn’t see one signpost.
I certainly needed the coat, as it wasn’t weather typical of the English Riviera. Afterwards it was back to the station to catch a train to London.
Afterwards, I was able to get a bus back from the ground to close to my house. Except for Arsenal, where I just walk, it is the easiest ground to get to from my home.
In some ways it was a day of three lessons.
- The High Speed Diesel Trains used on West Country services are a superb asset to the railways. Passengers like them and in some ways they are irreplaceable in serving the far-flung parts of the west and the Scottish Highlands. They may be forty years old, but engineers know how to keep them going for a few more years yet. Many of them will outlive me! I suspect too, that there is a strong cost benefit in keeping them running, rather than electrifying all the lines, where they run.
- The Pacers still used in various parts of the country are a disgrace. To make matters worse, they were a disgrace when they were built. They should be replaced with a modern train as soon as possible. The train used on the Overground from Gospel Oak to Barking would probably be an ideal replacement. And they would be built in Derby!
- The train from Liverpool Street to White Hart Lane station may have been thirty years old, but it had been well-refurbished. On that line it is the stations that are a disgrace which deny access to no-one but the fit to the railway. I wouldn’t like to try to tranport a baby in a buggy either on many of the stations. So perhaps, one of the priorities after the Tpttenham riots, should be to fix those stations.