Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Confound it!!

Posted in Great Britain, Ireland, Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 24 February 2011

I spoke about my idle thought of trying to reach the national football and rugby stadia in the home nations in a single day recently, wondering how easy or difficult it might be to accomplish by using rail and foot. I even took the time to sketch out a planned route to get to the railway stations that were nearest each of the individual stadia:

Stage 1:
Windsor Park to Lansdowne Road

From To Operator
City Hospital Belfast Central NI Railways
Belfast Central Dublin Connolly Enterprise
Dublin Connolly Lansdowne Road DART

Stage 2:
Lansdowne Road to Millenium Stadium

From To Operator
Lansdowne Road Dún Laoghaire Mallin DART
Dún Laoghaire Mallin Rosslare Europort Intercity
Rosslare Europort Fishguard Harbour Stena Line
Fishguard Harbour Cardiff Central Arriva Trains Wales

Stage 3:
Millenium Stadium to Hampden Park

From To Operator
Cardiff Central Birmingham New Street CrossCountry
Birmingham New Street Glasgow Central Virgin Trains
Glasgow Central Mount Florida ScotRail

Stage 4:
Hampden Park to Murrayfield

From To Operator
Mount Florida Glasgow Central ScotRail
Glasgow Central Haymarket CrossCountry

Stage 5:
Murrayfield to Wembley

From To Operator
Haymarket London King’s Cross East Coast
London King’s Cross Wembley Park London Underground

Stage 6:
Wembley to Twickenham

From To Operator
Wembley Park London Waterloo London Underground
London Waterloo Twickenham South West Trains

However, I then thought that I’d look at timetables to see if it actually might have been possible. Knowing how piss poor the timetabling of Enterprise’s trains between Belfast and Dublin were, I thought “start in Belfast” and take it from there. “Whadda mistaka ta maka”. The service between Belfast and Dublin may be piss poor, but that’s nothing compared with the service between Dublin and Rosslare. Having worked out that I’d be waiting around at Dún Laoghaire for three hours, and that it would probably take another two to get to Rosslare, I ended the exercise there and then. Of course, that doesn’t negate the possibility of another route. Of course, people might ask “why not get the boat from Dún Laoghaire?”, which is a valid question. The problem is that doing that puts you at Holyhead in North Wales, and that is essentially a no-man’s land, as you could either choose to go south for Cardiff or north for Glasgow, and that is a long way out of the way. I guess it would depend on how you saw the route panning out. However, additionally to that is the fact that there is only one service per day from Dún Laoghaire – the majority go from Dublin Port and take a lot longer. So, counting that out, I have come up with a route that seems to work (although it is probably based on fairly optimistic estimates of walking from station to stadium):

  Arrive Depart Operator
Cardiff Central   0624 First Great Western
Reading 0800 0812 South West Trains
Twickenham 0910 0953 South West Trains
London Waterloo 1019 1030 London Underground
Wembley Park 1100 1130 London Underground
London Kings Cross 1150 1200 East Coast
Haymarket 1639 1719 CrossCountry
Glasgow Central 1821 1835 ScotRail
Mount Florida 1845 1904 ScotRail
Glasgow Central 1914 1930 ScotRail
Troon 2012 2122 ScotRail
Stranraer Harbour 2300 2330 Stena Line
Yorkgate (Port of Belfast) 0230 0640 NI Railways
City Hospital 0650 0715 NI Railways
Belfast Central 0721 0800 Enterprise
Dublin Connolly 1000 1010 DART
Lansdowne Road 1019    

So there you go. Seemingly you can’t do all six stadia in a single 24 hour period using just the railways, a boat across the Irish Sea, and shank’s pony. Oh well.

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