Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Rail Changes Afoot

4th July 2006

A few weeks ago, I learned of a change to the CrossCountry rail franchise that has me quite concerned: the excision of the northern portion of the West Coast Mainline from the network so that trains can be cascaded to the London-Holyhead route. Though this is not due to occur until November 2007, I still have my reservations about the plans.

The result of the change is that CrossCountry services will not run north of Manchester or Crewe. From what I read in Rail magazine, Transpennine Express (TPE) is pencilled in for Manchester-Scotland services, a backward step in my opinion. The first problem is capacity: the Voyagers are 4/5 carriage affairs. The second is train quality: so long as TPE run their newer trains, it may not be much of a problem but they usually are 2/3 carriage affairs. Let’s hope that we don’t get the older ones where air conditioning failure is a real possibility. Still, there will be Virgin West Coast trains for Glasgow or, if I really feel flush, the East Coast Mainline.

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