There are games and there are games. Some games, while exciting and important, do generate a certain “meh” factor. Some, usually against the big boys, have a fantastic atmosphere of “us against them”, which means getting a result against them is fantastic. And then there are the derbies. Now, supporting a London club as I do, there are usually a lot of them to be had. And they are all big occasions. But there are some that are bigger than others. And this is one of them. Whenever the fixture computer spits out the new season’s fixtures in June (assuming we are in the same division of course), the one that I always look for first is this one; the trip to our closest rivals (in terms of both geography and status). A trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
Date: 25th November 2012
Stadium: White Hart Lane
Away Section: South Stand
Score: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 West Ham United
Nearest station: White Hart Lane
Local rozzers: Metropolitan Police
Total Travel Cost: £3.20 (2 x Oystercard PAYG Single)
13:45 – New Cross Gate to Canada Water (London Overground Class 378 Capitalstar)
Jubilee Line – Canada Water to London Bridge (1996 Stock)
Northern Line – London Bridge to Moorgate (1995 Stock)
Metropolitan Line – Moorgate to Liverpool Street (S8 Stock)
14:52 – London Liverpool Street to White Hart Lane (Greater Anglia Class 317)
18:02 (Dep 18:05) – White Hart Lane to London Liverpool Street (Greater Anglia Class 317)
Hammersmith & City Line – Liverpool Street to Moorgate (C69/77 Stock)
Northern Line – Moorgate to London Bridge (1995 Stock)
19:11 – London Bridge to New Cross (Southeastern Class 465 Networker)
Station to Stadium: The placement of White Hart Lane along Tottenham High Road makes it easily accessible from the nearest railway station, as White Hart Lane itself is one of myriad streets branching off at right angles to the main road. Essentially all you needto do is exit the railway station and turn right, walking down While Hart Lane until you reach the main road, and then turn right again. Given the development that is taking place in and around the stadium, you will easily be able to see it. The away section is in the South Stand which means you need to then turn left into Park Lane.
Anything else?: White Hart Lane is the only Premier or Football League stadium in London that shares its name with its nearest railway station.
As with buses, you wait ages for an away game, and then two come along at once. If you can call one of the myriad London derbies that there are in this season’s Premier League an away game that is. I mean, admittedly it isn’t a home game, but given that it’s taken place on a weeknight, and given where I work, it is actually easier for me to get to this away game than it is to get to a home game. Or even home come to that. Still, that’s neither here nor there. The point is it’s my first time back to one of my favourite grounds in the thick end of a decade, and the first game in the top flight since 1996 against QPR.
Date: 1st October 2012
Stadium: Loftus Road
Away Section: School End Upper
Score: Queen’s Park Rangers 1-2 West Ham United
Nearest station: White City
Local rozzers: Metropolitan Police
Total Travel Cost: N/A (Zone 1-2 Travelcard)
Piccadilly Line – South Kensington to Hammersmith (District/Piccadilly) (1973 Stock)
Hammersmith & City Line – Hammersmith (Circle/H&C) to Wood Lane (C69/77 Stock)
Central Line – White City to Oxford Circus (1992 Stock)
Bakerloo Line – Oxford Circus to Charing Cross (1972 Stock)
22:47 – London Charing Cross to New Cross (Southeastern Class 376 Electrostar)
Station to Stadium: Loftus Road is one of those grounds that you almost have to dig up to find, it’s so well hidden behind houses and flats. Indeed, if it weren’t for the floodlight pylons, and the main entrance on South Africa Road saying “Loftus Road Stadium”, you could well miss it altogether. That being said, if you know where it is (and as always, following the crowd is a good bet), then you’ll know how to get there. For me it is to head down Wood Lane, away from Television Centre and the two tube stations and towards the Westway, before turning left into South Africa Road. You will be able to follow this all the way to the stadium’s main entrance. However, for this season away supporters have been stuck with just the upper tier of the School End, which involves walking from the South Africa Road side of the stadium to the Ellerslie Road side.
Anything Else?: Wood Lane is the second station on the Hammersmith & City line to bear the name; the first was opened in 1908 to serve the Summer Olympics and Franco-British Exhibition, renamed White City in 1947 and closed in 1959.
It’s that time again. Finally I get the chance to venture away from London to watch football and start yet another tour of the country. Tiring though it can be at times to trek here there and everywhere, it does give me a buzz, especially when it’s somewhere I haven’t been in a while. I will say that, having been to all but two of this year’s stadia in the Premier League, it is less fun going to away games when you’ve been to them a million times. Which is why today’s trip was somewhat more fun, as it was to a place I last went to on our glorious run to the 2006 FA Cup Final, namely Norwich City.
Date: 15th September 2012
Stadium: Carrow Road
Away Section: Jarrold Stand
Score: Norwich City 0-0 West Ham United
Nearest station: Norwich
Local rozzers: Norfolk Constabulary
Total Travel Cost: £41.10 (2 x Off-Peak Day Returns; 1 x Oyster PAYG Single)
08:02 - Canada Water to Highbury & Islington (London Overground Class 378 Capitalstar)
Victoria Line - Highbury & Islington to Kings Cross St Pancras (2009 Stock)
08:45 – London Kings Cross to Cambridge (First Capital Connect Class 365 Networker)
10:12 – Cambridge to Norwich (Greater Anglia Class 170 Turbostar)
15:35 – Norwich to Cambridge (Greater Anglia Class 170 Turbostar)
17:04 – Cambridge to Tottenham Hale (Greater Anglia Class 317)
Victoria Line – Tottenham Hale to Blackhorse Road (2009 Stock)
18:21 – Blackhorse Road to Barking (London Overground Class 172 Turbostar)
18:47 – Barking to London Fenchurch Street (c2c Class 357 Electrostar)
19:24 – London Cannon Street to New Cross (Southeastern Class 465 Networker)
Station to Stadium: Getting to Carrow Road from the railway station genuinely couldn’t be easier, as you can see the floodlights on the left hand side of the train as you pull slowly into the platform. Upon leaving the ornate station building, simply turn left and head towards the Norwich Ring Road and the Riverside Entertainment Centre. It’s a 5-7 minute walk around the ring road, or slightly longer through the entertainment complex and retail park until you reach the neat little ground.
Anything else?: As with several cities, Norwich had a Victoria station and, as with many cities, Norwich Victoria has long sinced closed. The present Norwich station used to be called Norwich Thorpe.
Those of you with short memories might be aware that the football season has just finished, and my beloved West Ham won promotion back to the Premier League. You may also remember that, over the course of last season, I kept you informed of my travels around the country, from Burnley in the north to Portsmouth in the south, and Ipswich in the east to Bristol in the west. I know that I enjoyed keeping track of where I went, and how I got there, but I have no idea whether you, dear reader, enjoyed reading the record of my adventures. Well, the fixture list for next season is released on Monday, which will allow me to plan what away trips I will make. Unlike our year in the Championship, where I got to eight grounds that I’d not visited, this coming season will see a division where only two of our 19 opponents are ones I’ve not yet visited, Swansea City and Southampton. That being said, I do plan to go to a significant number of games, both from London and Nottingham, and I would be quite interested in doing another map following my journeys, as well as noting on here all of the rail journeys that I needed to take to get there. But, would you be interested in reading it?
Actually, to be brutally honest, I’m not particularly worried whether you want to read it or not, because as I’ve often said, my blog is my blog, and I’ll write what I want on it. I’ll try my best to make it entertaining, but if you don’t find it so, go figure. There are lots of interesting trips to take next season, hopefully with a good number of interesting rail journeys.
It’s just a shame that I can only do a maximum of eighteen away games – I’d love to get a clean sweep, but the one I will categorically never do is Manchester United. Not because I have any great hatred of Manchester United (though I do), but because I’ve been to Old Trafford once, in 2001, where we won, not a situation that happens particularly often. As a consequence, I have a 100% win record at Old Trafford against Manchester United, and I ain’t jepordising that for anything.
Well, well, well. Who’d have thought that I’d need to write one last post about an away trip this season. And to where? Why, to Wembley of course, thanks to our finishing third and having to negotiate the lottery of the play-offs. While of course automatic promotion is better, it does mean that those two gain the success without the opportunity to taking the long walk up to actually collect the trophy. Of course, it totally sucks if you end up on the losing side. So it’s best not to lose the most valuable game in football when we take on Blackpool.
Date: 19 May 2012
Stadium: Wembley Stadium
Away Section: Western End
Score: Blackpool 1-2 West Ham United
Nearest station: Wembley Stadium
Local rozzers: Metropolitan Police
Total Travel Cost: £60.40p (1 x Super Off-Peak Return; 1 x All-Day Tramrider; 1 x Oystercard PAYG Single)
NET Line 1 – Nottingham Trent University to Royal Centre (AT 6/5 Incentro)
NET Line 1 – Royal Centre to Nottingham Station Street (AT 6/5 Incentro)
11:02 – Nottingham to London St Pancras (East Midlands Trains Class 222 Meridian)
Circle Line – Kings Cross St Pancras to Baker Street (C69/77 Stock)
Metropolitan Line – Baker Street to Wembley Park (A60/62 Stock)
18:05 – Wembley Central to Kensal Green (London Overground Class 378 Capitalstar)
Bakerloo Line – Kensal Green to Baker Street (1972 Stock)
Circle Line – Baker Street to Kings Cross St Pancras (C69/77 Stock)
19:30 – London St Pancras to Nottingham (East Midlands Trains Class 222 Meridian)
NET Line 1 – Nottingham Station Street to Old Market Square (AT 6/5 Incentro)
NET Line 1 – Royal Centre to Nottingham Trent University (AT 6/5 Incentro)
Station to Stadium: Being the national stadium, Wembley has to be well served by public transport, and it has the virtue of having three separate railway stations close by. As with me on Saturday, most people will tend to arrive at Wembley Park, the only one of the three not to have a National Rail service, for a very good reason – it is from Wembley Park that fans take the iconic walk up “Wembley Way” (actually Olympic Way) that leads right to the exterior of the stadium, where once there were the famous Twin Towers, and now there is the Arch. Essentially it is down the big flight of stairs and through the tunnel, and then a straight walk all the way, making sure you then take the correct bridge up to the stadium, depending on which end you are in.
Somewhat unusually, the station I arrived at with this one was not the station I left from; given that most of the 80,000 would head back to Wembley Park, the smart thing is to use one of the others, and so I decamped to Wembley Central, which is the furthest of the three, but also fairly convenient if you are in the western end of the stadium (which we were). Heading off down South Way, past Wembley Stadium, down Wembley Hill Road and onto the High Road, and then it’s a brisk walk of around 10-15 minutes. Of course, on days when there are events, naturally there are more entrances, as Wembley Central has not benefitted to the degree Wembley Park has from reconstruction, and thus the main entrance, even for the reduced numbers that would head that way, would probably not cope.
While I know football is a business that is driven by television is this day and age, and that football clubs derive significant income from having their games televised, I still retain a desire to go and watch football at 3.00pm on a Saturday afternoon, and feel immensely put out when a television company feels, seemingly on a whim, that it can move a game at quite short notice to another slot simply so that it can broadcast it. As it is, I had to give serious consideration whether our last away game of the season (potential play-off game notwithstanding) was feasible, as I would have had to take a half-day, as well as ensuring I could get home again. Having made a judgement call, I decided to go ahead and make the trip to Leicester City.
Date: 23rd April 2012
Stadium: King Power Stadium
Away Section: North East Corner
Score: Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United
Nearest station: Leicester
Local rozzers: Leicestershire Constabulary
Total Travel Cost: £44.50 (2 x Advance Singles, 1 x Anytime Day Single)
District Line – Fulham Broadway to Paddington (C69/77 Stock)
Bakerloo Line – Paddington to Marylebone (1972 Stock)
15:07 – London Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street (Chiltern Railways Class 168 Clubman)
17:22 – Birmingham New Street to Leicester (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)
21:59 (Dep 22:12) – Leicester to London St Pancras (East Midlands Trains Class 222 Meridian)
Northern Line – Kings Cross St Pancras to London Bridge (1995 Stock)
00:06 – London Bridge to New Cross Gate (Southern Class 455)
Station to Stadium: The King Power Stadium is yet another of those new stadia built to replace a small, outdated one. Like some, it’s in the city rather than outside; like others, it’s a busting long walk from the railway station, especially if you’re in a rush. Not that it’s especially complicated – it’s simply a case of following the A594, which has signposts helpfully placed along the way to keep you in the right direction. But it’s a good 15-20 minutes on foot, so if you’re in a rush, take comfortable shoes.
Anything else?: If you’re from London travelling to a midweek game then beware – the last train to the metropolis leaves Leicester before 10.00pm, so you’ll likely have to leave the game before the end.
It is markedly annoying when the fixture computer decides to throw out those places that you’ve yet to get to midweek. Twice this season I’ve had to forego getting to such places because they’ve been scheduled for Tuesday nights. Fortunately however, I had long identified the Irons’ trip to Bristol City as an excuse to have a week in the city at the end of God’s Wonderful Railway. And thus stick two fingers up at the fixture computer for being a git.
Date: 17th April 2012
Stadium: Ashton Gate
Away Section: Wedlock Stand
Score: Bristol City 1-1 West Ham United
Nearest station: Parson Street
Local rozzers: Avon & Somerset Constabulary
Total Travel Cost: £8.60 (3 x Off-Peak Day Singles)
18:26 (Dep 18:38) – Bristol Temple Meads to Parson Street (First Great Western Class 150 Sprinter)
22:00 (Dep 22:02) – Parson Street to Nailsea & Backwell (First Great Western Class 150 Sprinter)
22:21 (Dep 22:22) – Nailsea & Backwell to Bristol Temple Meads (First Great Western InterCity 125 High Speed Train)
Station to Stadium: Ashton Gate is located in a part of Bristol where railway access is limited. Parson Street station is closest and is around fifteen minutes walk, with the easiest way to be to turn left at the main road that runs parallel to the main line and follow it round until you eventually arrive at the away end. Of course, as this is not particularly well signposted, this may prove to be a little difficult.
Anything else?: Although Parson Street is the closest railway station, it has an hourly service, with the last train on a weekday supposed to be the 22:00. It is probably more advisable therefore to use Bristol’s bus network to make your way into the centre of the city.
You tend to find that you get some recurring destinations when you’re an away fan, no matter what division of the league you play in. Were this to be a chronicle of a Premier League season for example, I might well be writing of seven separate trips to the North-West. As it is, here I am regaling you of my third trip to the wilds of South Yorkshire, as I make an excursion following the Irons to Barnsley.
Date: 6th April 2012
Away Section: North Stand
Score: Barnsley 0-4 West Ham United
Nearest station: Barnsley Interchange
Local rozzers: South Yorkshire Police
Total Travel Cost: £25.20 (1 x Off Peak Return, 1 x Tram Only Dayrider)
NET Line 1 - Royal Centre to Nottingham Station Street (AT 6/5 Incentro)
14:45 – Nottingham to Sheffield (East Midlands Trains Class 158 Express Sprinter)
15:50 – Sheffield to Barnsley Interchange (Northern Rail Class 158 Express Sprinter)
19:40 – Barnsley Interchange to Nottingham (Northern Rail Class 158 Express Sprinter)
NET Line 1 – Nottingham Station Street to Royal Centre (AT 6/5 Incentro)
Station to Stadium: Oakwell is one of those old, northern grounds, in a valley, surrounded by terraced houses going uphill that, as the train pulls into the railway station, looks like it’ll be miles to walk. And yet it isn’t, as you simply walk towards the overpass that carries the A61 over the A628. However, rather than following the road down, as you might expect, you instead hang a sharp left, then a right, and walk up the hill towards that most 1970s of phenomena, the grass car park, through which you pass to reach the welcoming sight of the away turnstiles. All no more than 10 minutes from the railway station.
Anything else?: As a result of successive rail company takeovers, the current railway station has been called “Barnsley” (Jan 1850-Jun 1924), “Barnsley Low Town” (Jun 1924-Aug 1924), “Barnsley Exchange” (Aug 1924-June 1960), “Barnsley” (Jun 1960-May 2007), before assuming its current incarnation as “Barnsley Interchange”, serving as the town’s railway and main bus stations, in May 2007.
While I recognise that the whole point of me detailing my travels was to look at away games, I recall that the last home game I went to on the train saw me again use Upton Park rather than an alternative route. So, I figured “what the hell”, and decided that I would utilise this particular home game to detail an alternative to what might be expected to be “the usual route” to take. Does it help that this was another almighty top of the table clash for West Ham against Reading? Not really, given what eventually transpired.
Date: 31 March 2012
Stadium: Boleyn Ground
Away Section: Sir Trevor Brooking Stand
Score: West Ham United 2-4 Reading
Nearest station: Upton Park
Local Rozzers: Metropolitan Police
Total Travel Cost: £8.50 (2 x Oystercard PAYG Single, 1 x Anytime Day Single)
13:51 – New Cross to Canada Water (London Overground Class 378 Capitalstar)
Jubilee Line – Canada Water to Canning Town (1996 Stock)
Docklands Light Railway – Canning Town to Stratford International (B90 Stock)
18:03 – Stratford International to London St Pancras (Southeastern Class 395 Javelin)
Northern Line – Kings Cross St Pancras to Bank (1995 Stock)
18:40 – London Cannon Street to New Cross (Southeastern Class 465 Networker)
Station to Stadium: Obviously you’ll know by now that the Boleyn Ground is closest to Upton Park station. But, unlike some other stadia, there are others that are within walking distance, one of which is Canning Town. Once you have negotiated your way across the Canning Town roundabout and onto the Barking Road, once again it is a straight walk until you see the roof of the stadium in the distance. Be prepared though – it takes me a good half an hour to walk it.
Anything else?: Prior to 1994, Canning Town was a minor stop on the North London Line between Richmond and North Woolwich. Since then, it has been developed into a major transport interchange with a bus station, two DLR routes and the Jubilee Line Extension being constructed there.
Now that I have in place the preparations for my last few away trips, which means that I’m committed to doing them, I can take a look at the six away games that, for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to get to this season, and I thought it would be an interesting paper exercise to see just how I would have reached each of those destinations, had the circumstances been different and they been played on a Saturday, not to mention what the cost might have ended up being. I will start by saying that, of the six, I have previously been to three of them (which means that I have been to 21 of the 24 clubs in this season’s Championship), so that I should (in theory) know how to get to those three stadia. In theory.
On the road to…Nottingham Forest
The first away game I had to miss this season was, somewhat ironically, the one away game outside London that I would have guaranteed on going to, given that the vast majority of away games I go to that are in the Midlands I tend to stay in Nottingham for. However, my favourite nemesis this season has been the fixture computer, which on this occasion scheduled the trip to Nottingham Forest for the same weekend as I was travelling up to Edinburgh.
Date: 28 August 2011
Stadium: City Ground
Away Section: Bridgford Stand
Score: Nottingham Forest 1-4 West Ham United
Nearest station: Nottingham or Nottingham Station Street
Local rozzers: Nottinghamshire Police
Total Travel Cost: £3.20 (1 x Dayrider)
Station to Stadium: The City Ground is yet another of those relatively centrally placed stadia that requires a bit of effort on the part of Shank’s Pony to get you there from the station. Fortunately, the quickest way is relatively straightforward, especially when coming from Station Street, as all it requires is turning left out of the tram stop, walking all the way to the end of the road to London Road, and then turning right and just walking until you see the ground on the other side of the Trent Bridge.
Anything else?: Despite being the sporting hub of the city, with not only Nottingham Forest, but also Notts County and Nottinghamshire CCC located in and around the area of the Trent Bridge, NET Phase 2 will not be constructed to serve the centre of West Bridgford.
On the road to…Southampton
This was one that I hadn’t done, so you can imagine my annoyance that the fixture computer spat it out on a Tuesday night. I did give very serious consideration to taking half a day and going down there, but I feel a bit funny about going to a ground for the first time midweek when it’s quite a distance from home. As a consequence, this time at least, I had to give Southampton a miss.
Date: 18 October 2011
Stadium: St Mary’s Stadium
Attendence: 32,152 (Stadium Record)
Away Section: Northam Stand
Score: Southampton 1-0 West Ham United
Nearest station: St Denys or Southampton Central
Local rozzers: Hampshire Constabulary
Total Travel Cost: £38.00 (1 x Off-Peak Day Return + 1 Shuttle Bus Return)
11:48 – New Cross to London Bridge (Southeastern)
11:58 – London Bridge to London Waterloo East (Southeastern)
12:35 – London Waterloo to Southampton Central (South West Trains)
17:47 – Southampton Central to Reading (CrossCountry)
18:45 – Reading to London Paddington (First Great Western)
Bakerloo Line – Paddington to Charing Cross
20:02 – London Charing Cross to New Cross (Southeastern)
Station to Stadium: Bearing in mind that I’ve not been to St Mary’s as yet, I can only impart what I’ve read. However, given that it is a new stadium that is a bit of a walk, and given that there are shuttle buses (good invention those) laid on, the best advice would be to make use of them. I intend to once I get there.
Anything else?: The ticket office at St Denys station is located not by the main entrance, which appears to be a somewhat hidden set of steps leading to a long footbridge, but on the central island platform that forms Platforms 2 and 3.
On the road to…Middlesbrough
Whoever thought it was a good idea to schedule this one for a Tuesday night must have been smoking something. That being said, Middlesbrough is as far north as you can go in this division this season, so it would probably be a trek for anyone going there for a midweek game. Still, I’d imagine that fans from Yorkshire wouldn’t take quite so long to get home.
Date: 29 November 2011
Stadium: Riverside Stadium
Away Section: South Stand
Score: Middlesbrough 0-2 West Ham United
Nearest station: Middlesbrough
Local rozzers: Cleveland Police
Total Travel Cost: £77.40 (2 x Advance Singles)
09:16 – New Cross Gate to Highbury & Islington (London Overground)
Victoria Line – Highbury & Islington to Kings Cross St Pancras
10:30 – London Kings Cross to Darlington (East Coast)
13:30 – Darlington to Middlesbrough (Northern Rail)
17:24 – Middlesbrough to Darlington (Northern Rail)
18:26 – Darlington to London Kings Cross (East Coast)
Victoria Line – Kings Cross St Pancras to Highbury & Islington
22:25 – Highbury & Islington to New Cross Gate (London Overground)
Station to Stadium: The Riverside Stadium is the second of those places that I have yet to visit, but fortunately I’ve seen many pictures of it and, based on those, it seems to dominate the skyline, as there doesn’t appear to have been anything built around it. Which means that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find, once you’ve exited the railway station.
On the road to…Birmingham
I’m not one from shying away from a difficult journey, and I’m certainly not one for thinking that a holiday period should immediately mean a cessation of travelling for football. However, the fact that the railway network seems to have, in recent years, taken to shutting down completely on Boxing Day kinda means that, unless the away game is in London, getting to an away game the day after Christmas is pretty much a non-starter. Which explains why I couldn’t make it to Birmingham City.
Date: 26 December 2011
Stadium: St Andrew’s
Away Section: Gil Merrick Stand
Score: Birmingham City 1-1 West Ham United
Nearest station: Bordesley
Local rozzers: West Midlands Police
Total Travel Cost: £19.40 (1 x Off-Peak Return, 2 x Off-Peak Tram Only Singles)
NET Line 1 – Royal Centre to Nottingham Station Street
11:37 – Nottingham to Birmingham New Street (CrossCountry)
17:49 – Birmingham New Street to Nottingham (CrossCountry)
NET Line 1 – Nottingham Station Street to Nottingham Trent University
Station to Stadium: Once again, St Andrew’s is another of those grounds that has been around for decades, but is a fair old trek to get to. Arriving from Birmingham New Street you’ll actually have to walk through the Bullring and past Birmingham Moor Street before arriving at the long dual carriageway that you walk down to take you towards Small Heath and the ground. I’ve done it in 25 minutes before. If you’ve got little legs, give yourself more time.
On the road to…Blackpool
There are occasions when circumstances leave you hanging, such as cup replays, which end up meaning you don’t know when a game is going to be scheduled for, and so you can’t prepare and have to take the unfortunate decision to call off your plans. Thus it was with Blackpool this season, as their FA Cup exploits eventually ended up seeing our trip there moved from a Saturday to a Tuesday night. And when you aren’t staying up there, to get to Blackpool on a Tuesday night and home again is difficult.
Date: 21 February 2012
Stadium: Bloomfield Road
Away Section: East Stand
Score: Blackpool 1-4 West Ham United
Nearest station: Blackpool South
Local rozzers: Lancashire Constabulary
Total Travel Cost: £46.50p (2 x Advance Singles, 1 x Tram Single)
09:18 – New Cross to London Bridge (Southeastern)
Northern Line – London Bridge to Euston
10:30 – London Euston to Preston (Virgin Trains)
13:02 – Preston to Blackpool South (Northern Rail)
Blackpool Tramway – Waterloo Road to North Pier
18:20 – Blackpool North to Preston (Northern Rail)
19:01 – Preston to London Euston (Virgin Trains)
Northern Line – Euston to London Bridge
22:22 – London Bridge to New Cross Gate (Southern)
Station to Stadium: Bloomfield Road is very nicely situated at one end of a giant car park, presumably put in due to the proximity of the Pleasure Beach. Fortunately, Blackpool South station is located at the other end of the car park, making it very easy to traverse the 5 minute walk through said car park from the station to the ground.
Anything else?: Blackpool’s tramway was the one remaining first-generation network left after the rest of the country disposed of trams in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s now received a massive upgrade to turn it into a proper second-generation network, complete with new light rail vehicles. However, it will retain part of its history through the refurbishment and continued use of a number of its double decker trams.
On the road to…Cardiff
There are some places that are nice and friendly, aside from the traditional banter. There are others where you should really have a quantity of brave pills to hand if you choose to venture there. Hence the reason that, when the fixture list came out, I said that I would definitely do Millwall, and definitely do Leeds, and categorically would not do Cardiff City; a decision further helped by the fact that it was moved to a Sunday morning, and Cardiff have completely incomprehensible ticketing arrangements.
Date: 4 March 2012
Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium
Away Section: Ninian Stand/Grange Stand
Score: Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United
Nearest station: Ninian Park
Local rozzers: South Wales Police
Total Travel Cost: £45.00 (2 x Advance Singles)
10:28 – New Cross to London Bridge (Southeastern)
10:44 – London Bridge to London Charing Cross (Southeastern)
Bakerloo Line – Charing Cross to Paddington
11:45 – London Paddington to Cardiff Central (First Great Western)
17:25 – Cardiff Central to London Paddington (First Great Western)
Bakerloo Line – Paddington to Charing Cross
20:17 – London Charing Cross to New Cross (Southeastern)
Station to Stadium: To reach the Cardiff City Stadium, according to what I’ve read, it is a fairly routine walk along the aptly named Ninian Park Road, which apparently takes in the region of 25 minutes. That however is after you’ve had to trek all the way to Cardiff West services on the M4 to exchange the voucher they gave you for a match ticket.
Anything else?: Cardiff Central has a total of seven platform faces, numbered 0-4 (with 3 and 4 divided into A and B sections) and 6-7. Plans exist to build a new platform, which could end up with the reinstatement of Platform 5.