Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trains and Trains

Having once spent five hours trapped on a Eurostar train between Calais and Paris, I have some sympathy for the passengers stuck for thirteen hours yesterday, who discovered, like I did, that there was no food, little water and insufficient toilet capacity to last out such a tedious and claustrophobic ordeal.

On this side of the channel, be warned that the train timetable changed last Sunday and duly caught me out on Monday morning when I discovered that the regular  09:37 from Westgate had become the 09:20 to Victoria. Of course, I welcome the arrival of our high-speed link but from a practical perspective, it's cheaper and faster to catch the ordinary train to Victoria than try and battle one's way back to Westminster from St Pancras having arrived twenty minutes or so earlier.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's been a lot of non-critical hype about the introduction of the high-speed service, but there are downsides which haven't been mentioned. The majority of trains between Margate & Victoria (both directions) used to take 1 hour 39; they've been rescheduled under the new timetable to take 1 hour 49. The high-speed train takes 1 hour 29 - only ten minutes faster than the old timetable but now 20 minutes quicker. The cynical might think that the conventional journeys have been lengthened to increase the difference between the high-speed and conventional.

Also, the 10.08 from Margate was a popular train for off-peak day trips to London, arriving at Victoria at about 11.50. That has been retimed to about 10.20, taking ten minutes longer than before. The high-speed service may be good for Kent in general, but it's difficult to see the benefit for Margate.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Why not use our new High Speed Javelin 395 series on the Eurostar runs, and the Eurostar's on our High speed lines. Mind you, fitting a 19 carriage train in to Westgate Station might be slightly more difficult to organise.

An interesting point; Eurostar's had to be towed up to London by Krupp shunters doing 60 MPH. There are more powerful and faster Diesel Locomotives - so why not have a few of these stationed nearby (Ashford) in case of such an emergency thus converting a major disaster in to a small hiccup.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I have used the High speed link twice now, and apart from being quite noisy and rather 'stiff' seated, they are far more satisfactory for travelling. I am waiting for the German's to run their ICE (Inter City Express) to be able to compare the three.