19 June 2007

Day 4 of 4: Returning home

Very little travel today compared with the last three days.

I caught the SWT Brockenhurst train from Parkstone to Brockenhurst at 0818 in the form of 444 032, arriving at Brockenhurst at 0854. Then I boarded the Virgin Trains Cross Country service at 0901, arriving Birmingham New Street at 1145. The one-way journey cost me a total of £15.85, using my Young Persons Railcard, which I though to be exceptional value.

Predictably, the VT service was overcrowded and we ran late, almost certainly as a consequence. I planned a 4 hour break in Brum, during which time I'd visit colleagues at National Express's HQ, No. 1 Hagley Road, Edgbaston. I'd planned to meet a colleague called Gary, who works in the Service Support department. He asked me to make my own way to Fiveways and he'd meet me there. Luckily trains to Fiveways are every 10 minutes so I found myself on the 1204 Central Trains service, alighting at Fiveways 3 minutes later. The train was 323 216 and yet again I was ticket-less. In my defence I'd travelled numerous times on CT routes in Lincolnshire and they openly admit to offering the complete range of tickets for sale from their conductors, though in the West Midlands this does not seem to be the case! As I ascended into the street above I caught sight of numerous signs warning of the pentalty for not having a valid ticket. Whoops!

After a very enjoyable 4 hours I caught the 1615 NX Service 339 home, from Digbeth coach station in the city. As ever a regular work horse on that route was again providing the vehicle in the form of a First Devon & Cornwall Volvo B12M/Plaxton Paragon C49Ft, WV52 FAO. Pete joined me at Leicester (he travelled a little later from Poole on Stagecoach Yorkshire's NX service 310 to Leicester, bagging a Scania/Levante the lucky thing!) and we made steady progress into Lincolnshire with Peter alighting at Wragby then waiting his bus home to Skegness, and I stayed onto the very end at Cleethorpes for 2050 before walking home.