This morning Liverpool is hosting the start of the Tour of Britain.
It seems to me, that since being European Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool has received more of the large events, than it should have on the law of averages.
Perhaps, it’s just that the City is more efficient in attracting them!
On the other hand the Sea Odyssey of 2012, brought 800,000 people into the centre and had an economic impact of £32million.
So they know that events work.
It’ll be interesting to see the figures for the Tour de Yorkshire in Leeds and Sheffield.
That is the headline on the wrap around The Times today.
I do think that Yorkshire has shown how to do a Grand Depart. I suspect that Utrecht next year, will follow Yorkshire’s lead.
In some ways it’s all a bit sad, as there aren’t many events like the Tour de France, that can be used to build a great event around.
Yorkshire is apparently starting the Tour de Yorkshire, London has the Marathon, Liverpool the Grand National and Newcastle the Great North Run, so perhaps we ought to get our thinking caps on, to create some more iconic events.
Stations seem to be like buses. You wait for a new one for years and then they arrive in bunches.
I’ve read about a company called Xeros in The Times today. Their washing machines use 80% less water, 50% less energy and 50% less detergent.
The technology has been spun (?) out of Leeds University and uses special beads to clean the washing. They’re also talking about a washing machine with no programmes ( i.e. a man button!)
They’re not available for domestic use! Yet!
But if all machines in the UK were this efficient, then the water saved would fill twenty million swimming pools!
I have been impressed by One New Change by St.Paul’s in London.
Today, as I needed to eat on the way back from Burnley, I visited Trinity Leeds, which is a shopping centre close to Leeds station to have a late lunch in Carluccio’s.
Although, Trinity Leeds is four times as big as One New Change, it has a similar upmarket feel. When you stand both of them alongside such centres as Meadowhall, Lakeside and quite a few others, there is no comparison, although they are smaller.
They have both been developed by the same company; Land Securities. it would seem that some of the features and tenants have been chosen to improves the shopping experience. Both centres have an extensive selection of restaurants and have been designed to blend in, rather than dominate their neighbours. Leeds has even got an Art House cinema from Everyman Cinemas. Usually shopping centres, just have a multiplex showing exclusively Transatlantic trash.
From my point of view, the centre is ideally placed, as it puts a second Carluccio’s close to my preferred interchange station in the North of England; Leeds. I won’t use Leeds every time there is not a direct service from London, but for Burnley, Blackburn and possibly a few others, it is the best route, especially if I can get lunch.
Today at Leeds I got a close look at the similar bridge over the tracks at Leeds station.
It is not so impressive as the bridge at Reading, but it is a few years older and probably built to a tighter budget. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more stations being built or rebuilt on similar lines.
Leeds shows one of the advantages of this design, in that on the bridge at the station, is a large coffee outlet, an information kiosk and plenty of seating. This seems to put them all where they are needed on the walking route for passengers changing trains. As the sides of the bridge are to a certain extent closed in with glass, it is much better place to wait for your train, than on the draughty platforms below.
If there is a problem, it is that there is possibly not enough escalators, although each platform does have a lift.
If you live in Ipswich, support Town and want to go by train to the last match of the season at Burnley,you’ve got a five hour journey starting at six in the morning.
I’m luckier in that I can catch the 08:03 train to Leeds and change for Burnley there, getting there in just under four hours.
Yet again, East Anglia shows how badly it is connected to the rail network.
I also get back to London about 19:30, whereas those going to Ipswich arrive two hours later.
So to answer my question, the answer is yes! But those of us, who live in London can do it a lot easier, than those that live in Ipswich.
In the last few months, I’ve been to Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Brighton, Hull, Leeds, Leicester and Wolverhampton to see Ipswich Town play. Although in some cases like Hull and Leicester the football wasn’t the best, I’ve not had much of a problem with the trains. Except of course in getting to Ipswich, where they have chosen match day Saturdays to rebuild the line.
Usually, I travel First Class either one or both ways. On the Wolverhampton trip, where I could be sure of my times, I used Advance tickets that cost just £31 with a Senior Railcard. Some of the supporters, I met at the game, were rather surprised at the price.
But sometimes, I’ll get Off Peak Second Class and pay the upgrade, if it is available, like it is on Virgin. GreaterAnglia and others.
Next Saturday, I’m going to see Ipswich in the FA Cup at Aston Villa. For that game, I’ll book the outrun on a specific train using an Advance First Class ticket on Virgin, as they seem cheaper than Chiltern and stop in New Street, where I can get the train to Witton for Villa Park. but coming back, I’ll get an ordinary Off Peak Standard Class ticket, as that will mean I can get any train. If I want to upgrade to First Class it will cost me £10 on the train.
I’ve just booked the two tickets and they cost me a total of £31.65.
I took this picture in Leeds on Saturday.
Someone must have won a gold medal at the Olympics. But then Yorkshire did better than Australia!
I travelled in First Class to Leeds yesterday. I do get more and more fed up with the standard of the class on Saturdays.
I paid about thirty pounds more for a comfy seat, a table and two cups of coffee each way. My fellow travellers also got some rather boring-looking sandwiches both ways.
But I suspect, judging by the number of empty seats and those on Virgin a couple of weeks ago, the train companies First Class offerings on Saturday, are not the hottest product.
At least that on First Hull Trains is better! But on the other hand, it didn’t seem to sell many seats.
It strikes me though, that the train companies need to do a bit of thinking about their First Class product. And whilst they’re at it, they could look at their gluten-free offerings too!
Inciodentally, I had breakfast in Carluccio’s before I travelled and got some sandwiches from Marks and Spencer in Leeds station. I also noted that Leon’s restaurant had some good gluten-free breakfast offerings.
So some things are getting better, but the trains aren’t keeping up with the competition. Although you could argue, that the presence of Leon’s and Carluccio’s in stations, is down to policy changes at Network Rail.