Attending a Training Session at NAS Headquarters

An account of a visit to London for an NAS training session, including Sutcliffe’s Laws of Travelling by Public Transport and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with events on Saturday, when I attended a training session for branch officers at NAS HQ in London. Before moving on to the main part of my post I have a small section on…

WHY I AM GLAD THAT MY FIRST POST IN MAY IS AUTISM RELATED

April is Autism Awareness month, and here in West Norfolk we certainly did our part, with our hugely successful Positive Autism Awareness Conference. However it is also important to make it quite clear that autism does not stop at the end of April. Improving awareness, understanding and ultimately acceptance of autism is a year-round task.

SUTCLIFFE’S LAWS OF
TRAVELLING BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have never previously set these out in full, so here goes:

Zeroth law: Any journey involving public transport requires careful planning no matter how apparently straightforward it is.

First law: If you allow scope for things to go wrong you will have a quick, clear run.

Second law: If you decline to allow scope for things to go wrong you will have a horror run.

Third law: Because bitter experience has taught them to make allowances public transport users are less likely to arrive late than car users.

Do you recognize the more famous set of laws on which the formatting of this set is based?

GETTING THERE

The session was due to start at 10AM, which gave two options for which train to catch – the 7:54 and be tight for time or the 6:54 and have time to spare for things to go wrong. In keeping with the first law of travelling by public transport the second option was chosen. The other person travelling from West Norfolk wanted to travel there with me, so we agreed to take the 6:54. On the day preceding the journey I called in at the station to make sure that the service was running as it should be (The branch chair had kindly arranged tickets for us, requiring in return that we make sure to come back with expenses claim forms so that she could reclaim the money). Here are some pictures from this preliminary stage…

We took our places on the train and having allowed for things to go wrong had a clear run to London. Callum’s girlfriend had decided to travel with us so she could have a look round London, and at King’s Cross she and Callum arranged a meeting point before Callum and I head off towards NAS HQ.

Walking up Pentonville Road (between Pentonville Road, Angel and our London starting point of King’s Cross this was quite a monopoly board journey!) we arrived at NAS HQ almost dot on 9 o’clock, and were the only people there that early. I took some pictures while we waited for others to arrive, including the feature image…

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The #TMI mural outside NAS HQ, with Callum standing in front of the end panel.
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A close-up of the end panel.

AT NAS HEADQUARTERS

Alessia, one of the two people running the session arrived a few minutes after we had, and let us in to the building. We took our places in the training room, and examined our training packs…

THE TRAINING SESSION

The training session consisted of presentations and some group activities. I found it to be a very valuable day, definitely worth the early start. The bit I enjoyed most came near the end, when we had to decide whether certain scenarios were things we could do as NAS volunteers, things we could not do or things that we might be able to do. At the end of the session Callum and I went our separate ways, he to meet his girlfriend and I to head back (albeit by a somewhat circuitous route). The pictures I took between here and the concourse at King’s Cross station will be featuring on my
London transport themed website, so I shall not share them here.

HOMEWARD BOUND

Apart from providing a few good photos, the return journey was pretty uneventful (yes, on the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend I had two public transport journeys pass without incident), and I arrived back home just over 11 hours after setting off in the morning.

 

Special Post: King’s Cross St Pancras

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in my station by station guide to London. Following the success of my piece on Paddington I have gone for the other main line terminus among the original seven stations on the Metropolitan Railway…

HISTORY

King’s Cross and St Pancras are next door neighbours to one another, and therefore served by the same Underground Station. Although this was one of the 1863 originals, the platforms that now serve the Hammersmith and City, Circle and Metropolitan lines have been resited – the present ‘surafce’ level station dates only from 1941. The Piccadilly line station was part of the original section of that line which opened in 1906, while the City and South London Railway (now the Bank branch of the Northern line) got there in 1907. Finally, it was part of the second section of the Victoria line to come on stream in December 1968.

ST PANCRAS

Although King’s Cross (of which more later) is by some way the larger of the two main line rail terminals here, St Pancras is an extraordinary building, resembling an outsized fairy castle. St Pancras is now an international terminus, running trains to the continent, and meaning that over a century after he just failed to make it happen the dream of Edward Watkin, who guided the Metropolitan in its great era of expansion, of being able to travel by rail from Paris to Manchester by way of London is now a reality.

KING’S CROSS

King’s Cross is a station of two parts – the main concourse and platforms 1-8 which run long haul trains to the north and scotland, and off to one side platforms 9-11 from which trains to much more local destinations such as Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn depart. It is here that you will find the sign to platform 93/4  from which the Hogwarts Express departs in the Harry Potter stories. Having mentioned one literary association, King’s Cross plays a passing role in more than one of Edward Marston’s stories involving Inspector Colbeck a.ka. The Railway Detective.

MAPS

I have my usual style map images to help those of you not familiar with the area to orient yourselves:

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CONCLUSION

I hope that you have enjoyed this piece and that you will be encouraged to share it.