An account of the journey to Penzance, setting the scene for my next post, about Penzance itself.
This is continuing my account of my visit to Cornwall. We have reached Saturday, which for me featured a trip to England’s westernmost commercial railway station (note England not Britain – Arisaig on the Glasgow-Mallaig line in Scotland is further west), Penzance. The closest station in time terms to my parent’s new home is St Germans, and that is where my train journey started.
St Germans is completely unstaffed, and therefore, since there is no one to maintain it, has no ticket machines either. Tickets are purchased from the conductor once you are on the train. You are only allowed to do this at unstaffed stations – boarding without a ticket at a station where you can purchase one renders you liable to a penalty fare of £20 (I heard another passenger who had done this escaping with a warning not to do it again).
I had a bit of time at St Germans (given that the next train to call at St Germans was two hours later this was indubitably the sensible position to be in. Here are some photographs from the station…
The ticket issued by the onboard conductor is much bigger than a standard train ticket.
THE JOURNEY TO PENZANCE
Taking pictures through the windows of a moving train is not especially easy, although I did at least have a window seat for the entire journey, so was never shooting across people. After leaving St Germans the train called at Liskeard (change for the Looe branch line), Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel (although the name might suggets otherwise as far as I am aware no elves live here!), Par (trains to Newquay depart from here), St Austell, Truro (Falmouth services diverge here), Redruth, Camborne, Hayle, St Erth (branch line to St Ives from here) and Penzance. Here are the pictures from this journey…
These pictures were taken both on arrival at Penzance, and towards the end of my time in Penzance.
Letting people know that I will be visiting Cornwall in the near future, and a few other bits and bobs.
My parents have recently moved to a place near Plymouth, and all they are currently out of the country travelling they will be back for a month or thereabouts from late October. I will be visiting their place in mid-November. I have asked for leave on the 9th and 10th of November so that I can go down on the 8th and come back on the 13th.
To get from King’s Lynn to Plymouth (nearest station to my parents’ new place) by public transport one needs to to travel from King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross, get a Hammersmith & City line train from King’s Cross to Paddington and then travel from Paddington to Plymouth (I already knew this). The journey takes in the region of six hours (I expected this to be the case but until I investigated did not know for certain). This why I requested leave for the two days concerned because the two days on which one travels are not going to be much use for anything else.
I discovered via www.thetrainline.com that tickets were available for £57. Thus I have made the booking and picked up the tickets.
COLLECTING THE TICKETS
Having made the booking I was assigned a code I could use to collect the tickets:
I decided that memorising an alphanumeric code of eight characters would be a bit of an ask even for me, so I called in at the library where I could screenshot the email containing the above, paste into paint and edit as appropriate before printing at a cost of 10p.
From there it was a short walk through the park to the station to pick up the tickets.
The email giving me the code to collect my tickets also included itineraries for both journeys.
This is a little stretched out, but I for one would not care to be on a train the was due to arrive at Kings Cross at 12:35 when I had to make a connection at Paddington at 13:05 – given British public transport’s usual “punctuality” that would be courting disaster.
The journey back could be a little quicker – but note that since there is no pre-booking on the London to Lynn line it is merely an annoyance should I miss the 14:44.
THE BRILLIANT.ORG 100-DAY
I recently received (by email) my certificate for having attempted all 100 of the problems (almost 50,000 people attempted at least one of these problems, of whom 1,797 attempted the whole lot).
Before moving on to the photographs that will conclude this post I offer you…
A PUZZLE OF MY OWN CREATION
Archaeologist and adventurer Idaho Johnson is near to making the biggest find of her life, but to do so she needs to get past the “Door of Death”:
Can you fill in the missing fourth vertical panel of numbers and get Ms Johnson through the “Door of Death”? As a bonus question can you identify the real door that I have used to create the above image?
A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.
My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:
BOOKING THE JOURNEY
Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn?
The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.
I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn.
You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…
COLLECTING THE TICKETS
The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:
Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.
Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…
I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?
Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:
Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig.
I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)