On the 26th of April, Ipswich are playing in Burnley, and I shall be going.
Unfortunately, the match is on Sky and starts at 12:15, which means taking the 08:30 train to Preston out of Euston, where I change for Burnley.
It is not a difficult journey and I’ve done it before.
However, this time, I think it might be a good idea to go on holiday the next week and there is an ideal flight out of Liverpool to Gdansk on the Saturday evening.
So as it is easy to get to Liverpool Airport from Burnley, via Preston, it would be ideal.
But what do I do with my case for the holiday?
Preston is a major train interchange, but in common with most mid-sized stations in the UK, it doesn’t have any left luggage facilities.
So if I do decide to go on holiday that week, I’ll have to come home to get my case and use a more expensive flight, than the good value one out of Liverpool.
It strikes me that there is an opportunity for someone to create a nationwide system to handle left luggage.
I arrived in Manchester on my trip from Southport at Piccadilly and had the long walk from Platform 13 to the main concourse to get the tram to my hotel. There are plans to put another two platforms here, so careful design must be used to avoid worsening a nightmare interchange.
I had a bath and then returned to Piccadilly for supper in Carluccio’s. This branch seems to be much faster than most and I’ve not missed a train yet there, due to a slow meal.
I nearly did this time though, as the next Huddersfield train left at 18:11 and I didn’t get to Platform 13 until 18:15. But the crowded train was late!
I was in my seat half-an-hour before the match started.
Ipswich won 2-0 and I was able to catch the 22:00 train back to Manchester, where I had a non-alcoholic nightcap in Carluccio’s.
I suspect that Piccadilly needs almost to create a new concourse linking the dreaded Platforms 13 and 14 and the proposed two new ones to the lines in the main station, at the far end of the station.
Let’s hope some of the UK’s best architects are working on creating a station fit for the twentieth century, let alone the twenty-first!
This looked extremely unlikely after David McGoldrick got injured a couple of months ago, but after three wins out of the last four games, it just could happen!
C would now be going on about the dreaded play-offs. I don’t know why she hated them so much, but it could be that it made me increasingly edgy.
But if they do make the play-offs, after last night’s win against Derby, where they gave away a goal in the first minute and didn’t score the winner until the last, they won’t do it the easy way!
It’ll probably be a roller-coaster ride all the way to Wembley! That’s if we get there!
The AMEX Stadium is one of the few in the country, that have comfy seats for all.
As you get free train travel in the price of tickets, surely the attitude of the club and the stadium design, did all this contribute to a full stadium.
Sadly for Brighton, Ipswich spoiled their party.
Yeovil is a long way from London and when I saw the fixture list, I felt it was a game that would be impossible to see.
So when I found out that Thomas Heatherwick had designed a café at Littlehampton, a town I’d never visited, I thought perhaps I could go there on the way and have a decent lunch.
So I booked a ticket to Littlehampton from Clapham Junction and then another from Littlehampton to Yeovil, with changes at Fratton and Salisbury.
I started just after ten and took a Class 378 London Overground train to Clapham Junction.
I just missed a Littlehampton train at Clapham Junction, so I had a cup of hot chocolate on the bridge at Knot Pretzels.
The train I did get to Littlehampton was direct, but it did take an hour and thirty five minutes in a comfortable Class 377. I did walk to the beach at Littlehampton see the café and have lunch.
I just caught my train out of Littlehampton at 15:23, which was the first leg of my journey along the South Coast to Yeovil to Fratton. The train was an elderly but well-refurbished Class 313.
From Fratton it was a First Great Western Class 158, which was going all the way from Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff.
The final leg was a South West Trains Class 159 from Salisbury to Yeovil Junction. I arrived on time at 18:40.
I think this journey shows up our trains in a reasonable light. The journey times are slow not because of slow trains, but because of the frequent stops and complicated route. The journey took three hours seventeen minutes from Littlehampton to Yeovil, but there was only thirty-three minutes wasted in connections.
Although some trains date from the 1980s, there wasn’t anything as bad as the dreaded Pacers that inhabit the North. The services were pretty well-used and except for the short leg from Littlehampton to Fratton, there was a catering trolley on all trains.
Would I do this journey again? I might, but I doubt I’ll ever need to do it. My next trip to the South Coast involves a trip to Brighton, which will be a lot quicker.
I had hoped to take a few pictures, but my camera died at Littlehampton.
This report of an interview on BBC Suffolk of Mick McCarthy is a classic and shows how to motivate your remaining strikers, so that one steps into the big shoes of David McGoldrick. Here’s an extract.
“All the ones that think they should be playing every week – Paul Taylor, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Frank Nouble – opportunity knocks for one of them,” McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk.
I would assume that gentle tactics like this didn’t appeal to Roy Keane.
This afternoon, I went to football at Ipswich and like last week, when I encountered the troubles detailed in this post, I had more trouble.
I decided to get the 13:00 rather than the 13:30, in case the latter was a bit late. I was advised by staff at Liverpool Street station, not to take the 13:00, as it was only going to Colchester. Instead I was told to get the 13:02 slow train to Ipswich. After a few stops and hiccups, I eventually got to Ipswich, a few minutes later than the 13:30 normally would, which meant I missed about two minutes of the match.
Then at half-time, a couple of people turned up who had caught the 13:30, which had arrived forty-five minutes late.
Returning to London, I normally catch the 17:09 and I did today, but it had lost thirty minutes from its schedule by Manningtree.
By Colchester, we were going better and eventually got into Liverpool Street only losing a few more minutes.
The ticket collector told us all that it appeared that there had been an attempted cable theft, although that is not mentioned in this article in the Eastern Daily Press.
As I have been travelling up and down to Ipswich from London since probably about 1963, when I used to put my bicycle in the guard’s van and have it hauled by a Britannia between my parent’s main and retirement homes, it was inevitable, that one day I’d end up in the sort of incident that I did last night.
I should say, that after the death of my wife and son to cancer, and a serious stroke, I retired to London from Newmarket, and as I’m still a season ticket holder at Portman Road, I come up for every Ipswich Town home match.
Yesterday incidentally, was the first day, when my chosen train up (down in your terminology) to Ipswich, the 13:30 from Liverpool Street hasn’t been within a minute of its scheduled arrival time of 14:43 and I missed the first few minutes of the match. Luckily, Ipswich left the excitement for later. As I’ve taken this train, perhaps fifty times in the last three years, that is probably not a bad record.
I usually go home on the 17:09, so that I can experience the comfort of First in a Mark 3 coach. Yesterday though, we were advised to take the Football Special and in common with everybody else, I ended up on Colchester station. At least the buffet was open, and I was able to get a decent cup of hot chocolate, as from my knowledge of railway electrification, I knew from the fact that all the lines for London, were blocked by fallen trees, we could be in for a long wait.
But Ipswich fans tend to be fairly stoic and resourceful, especially after the troubles of the last few years. I thought and hoped, that my mate, Ian, who lives in Kent and had also been at the match, might be in the area, and as luck would have it for me, but not I suspect for him, he was visiting his father in Colchester Hospital.
So unlike others, just after 18:30, I was sitting comfortably on my way south. Ian lives near Ebbsfleet, so he was able to drop me at the station there, to get the High Speed service to Statford, which is an Overground ride away from where I live in Hackney.
I was starting to get hungry, but as I’m a coeliac, getting food at Stratford and the nearby Eastfield shopping centre is difficult, as not even Marks and Spencer, has anything like a gluten-free sandwich and there is no restaurant that I trust to serve a meal without gluten.
So instead of getting home at about seven, I was home just before nine, which given the circumstances and probably the experiences of other passengers, wasn’t too bad.
It is interesting to compare the trip[, with one I took on Deutsche Bahn in similarly awful weather, where I was abandoned at Osnabruck on a trip from Hamburg to Amsterdam, and left to my own devices. With incidentally no offer of compensation.
Obviously, you will always have problems with trees by the line, if we continue to get this awful weather. And obviously now, unlike in the 1950s and 1960s, there are no Britannias to periodically clear the trees, by setting fire to them.
In some ways, you suffered from one of the problems of an all-electric railway, which is obviously vulnerable to an event as last night. It would of course have helped if the line from Ipswich to Cambridge had been electrified, as it would have enabled the ferrying of Ipswich passengers for London to Cambridge, for onward travel. But that infill won’t happen for some years, if it ever does.
I think that the only solution, that might help, would be if you had a couple of Class 88 engines to run direct services to Yarmouth, as their go-anywhere capability would have allowed a shuttle via Cambridge. But then the first of these is a few years away from being built.
I think, under the circumstances, you did as well as could be expected. But probably the fact, that Ipswich had won, meant most fans were in a good mood. But you can’t please everybody!
Certainly though, your performance in times of smaller troubles over the last few years, has in my experience, been a lot better than some other companies I could name.
Yesterday was one of those days. I went to Portman Road to see Ipswich play Charlton.
I got there on time, but only just, as the journey to Liverpool Street was a succession of misses, buses and Underground trains. I had to skip lunch, as my usual pit-stop at Carluccio’s at Spitalfields was closed for New Year’s Day. The alternative of sandwiches from Marks and Spencer was also not on, as they were closed.
Luckily, I was able to get a couple of EatNakd bars from Boots, although after I’d bought them, I found that the Camden Food company had a bigger selection.
I was soaked, by the time I got to my seat and the rain was so bad, they’d had to move some spectators to a drier part of the stadium.
To say the match was ruined by the rain, would be an understatement. That makes it three out of the last four matches that I’ve seen, have been ruined by the weather.
To add to the misses, David McGoldrick missed a penalty, so the match was only drawn.
Coming back, I wasn’t as fast as normal to the station and as the match finished late, I missed the train and had to wait for forty minutes in the cold.
And then coming back from Liverpool Street, I decided to take the dry route to Barbican station to get a 56 bus. And as i walked to the stop, the bus I wanted roared past. So I had to take a 153 and then a 38!
It was not the best of days! It probably summed up my miserable Christmas. But speaking to others at the match, mine seemed to have just about this year’s norm. Next year, I won’t be here!
Bournemouth put on a Crossbar Challenge at half-time, but it was rather unusually embarrassing for the hosts.
One of the travelling Ipswich supporters won the prize, by hitting the crossbar.
I’ve seen this run a few times and most clubs don’t let visiting supports take part for obvious reasons.
We all gave him a big cheer, as he returned to his seat amongst us.