As I was waiting for my train, an unusual yellow one passed through.
It looks like a High Speed Diesel Train, and it is actually a modified one called the New Measurement Train, which travels all over the network, checking track and electrification systems. Inspection is based on a thirteen week cycle. There is a detailed article on the train here in Construction News. And a video here.
You can see why it got its nickname.
In some ways it is a unique train, not only in the UK, but worldwide.
The Japanese and the French have similar trains for their high speed lines, but these are electrically powered, whereas the New Meaurement Train has two powerful diesel power cars. So as the British train is completely self contained, it can check any line in the UK, whether it is electrified or not. Where I saw it at Basingstoke, it was on a section of track, that uses third rail electrification.
As it is a High Speed Train, it can also be used at 200 kph on the East and West Coast Main Lines, thus testing them at their operational speeds.
Note that as the lines through the Channel Tunnel to London, are effectively built using French electrification standards, the French train is used to monitor those lines every two months. But it has to be diesel hauled through the tunnel.
It all goes to show that the High Speed Diesel Train will be laughing at us for a few decades yet.
I have a cartoon on my wall, which shows rolling English countryside, with in the distance a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion rising into the sky. In the foreground, a man is saying to his friend.
“The Russians can’t be all bad. They’ve made Basingstoke a first strike target.”
I have other reasons to dislike the place, as an old accountant of mine suggested, I put some money into a property development there. I lost several millions and could have lost a lot more, but I had better friends in high places. It was an expensive lesson and now I don’t trust financial advisors, especially when they have nothing to lose from recommending a bad investment.
So for only the second time in my life, I went to the place to a funeral of an old friend.
I had plenty of time, so I hoped I’d be able to get a bus to the crematorium. I knew I could take a taxi, but I object to doing that, as they are expensive and often rip-off merchants.
I found the bus station, which is quite an unfriendly walk from the train station and they told me there was no bus to anywhere near the crematorium. What would cash-strapped pensioners have done? Walked.
I should say, that the web page for the crematorium doesn’t have any instructions about how to get there on public transport. How arrogant!
It should be the law that certain places in a town or city like the hospital, crematorium, tourist office, main shops and council offices are easily reached by bus from the station. On my travels around the country, I found a lot of places, where these rules were broken.
I shall not be going to Basingstoke again unless it is to change trains to somewhere more welcoming.