Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clippy's log - page 32

23/8 3pm. Liverpool Lime Street is another Piccadilly! There's no artificial light and it's quite presentable inside. Southern Cross, take note. It's obviously been extended at some point - the Virgin section (PL07-09) is under a separate roof. The older section has all its approach tracks lowered, with stone retaining walls reaching probably 100ft above rail level - and quite a few stone bridges going over too. The way railway engineers spent money back in those days! Incidentally the local accent is quite different to any others we've heard. The Metro platforms are quite a distance from the intercity. The escalators are incredibly long - but not having an echo altimeter or a very long piece of string I can't compare it to Parliament. It sure looks about as long though. Interestingly, there's no restriction on walking up and down... Flinders Street, take note. We grab a spark to Hooton. Inside you'd never know it's 1970s era! It's as modern as an Xtrap - a better refurb job than our Comengs. Or that might be just due to nothing being vandalised. Unfortunately the sound doesn't come through too well. The Worrell line has a kind of City Loop, which runs unidirectional. The exit point is opposite Lime Street so it's more like a balloon loop than our City Loop. The desto and PIDS change as soon as we pass the last bidirectional station, but we can't tell if the driver does it or if it's automatic.

3:30pm. Hooton is a kind of Ringwood - two lines each with a half hour frequency meet there and provide a 15 minute frequency from there to the city. It's quite a nice looking station too.

4pm. Back to Lime St. Must get a timetable so we can get back before the last Buxton train. Now what's the best way to get to Edge Hill? There's a nice stabling depot there. City Line is nowhere in evidence - let's grab this Manchester Oxford Road stopper.

4:40pm. Hey you didn't stop! Oh well, Mossley Hill then. Argh it's raining. Phew, here's a Railbus to take us back to Lime St.

5pm. What will we do now... explore the station of course. Examination of the Metro map suggests there's actually no City Line - but Metro tickets apply to certain bits of the Intercity network.

6:34pm. We get on a London Midland Class 350 EMU, just to get to South Parkway of course. It's a Siemens and looks like one, with an intercity interior of course. It's very smooth - as we go through a tunnel it feels like we've stopped until we suddenly burst into daylight at 40km/h.

6:55pm. South Parkway is a nice looking station, probably fairly new. Six platforms in a Caulfield layout, with an overpass with glass sides - perfect for taking photos from.

7:06pm. The 7:03 Nottingham arrives and we get aboard. Liverpool has ceased to fascinate, and it's getting dark and cold. Just as we pull out a Class 507 goes past! Are there sparks on the City Line after all? There doesn't appear to be a third rail so we're Frankly Baffled. Maybe it was loco hauled, or maybe it wasn't a Class 507 at all. Closing speed was fairly high so it's possible.

7:22pm. Warrington Central has a huge bus bay - all angle parking (must be hell to get in and out of in peak time) but it must have a capacity of 20 buses or more. Also there's a four track electric railway going under us at right angles just before the station. I wonder where it goes.

7:31pm. We pass a MASSIVE pallet depot! They're blue so they might well be ours. Huge stacks of them, parked like containers. My pal's GPS speedo says we're doing 83mph so we don't see much.

8:02pm. Back to familiar territory - Manchester Piccadilly (or, as Northern's web site says, MAN). And we've just missed a Buxton train. What to do? Why take photos of course.

8:30pm. Some thoughts about the Liverpool system. The idea of calling country trains "City Line" is a bad one - it doesn't fit with the rest of the country. Ideally intercity trains shouldn't be doing the Metro task anyway. They have good frequencies (if Sunday is 15min, weekday must be pretty good) and vehicles that are suitable for today's passengers. No idea how they are under the floor of course. The way destos are handled in the loop area is great. The lines (Wirral, Northern and City) are more like our groups, they branch out a lot. I guess it's just as logical as our way, you don't have to worry about Box Hill being on two lines. Underground stations are boring to look at (although VERY functional) but above ground can be just as bad when a solid barrier of trees blocks the view on both sides.

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