Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

On the road to…Newcastle

Posted in Great Britain, On the road..., Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 7 September 2013

HUZZAH!! The return of the football season!!! A return to trekking around the country on a Saturday afternoon (or a Sunday, if Sky have got their claws into the fixture). Ordinarily this, the first away fixture of the new season for us, would involve a four hour journey up from London to the Land of the Toon. But happily that won’t be the case for yours truly this time, as my annual trip to the Edinburgh Tattoo (combined with taking in a few shows at the Fringe) coincides with our trip to Newcastle United.

Date: 24th August 2013
Stadium: St James’ Park
Capacity: 52,404
Attendance: 49,622
Away Section: Sir John Hall Stand
Score: Newcastle United 0-0 West Ham United
Nearest station: St James
Local rozzers: Northumbria Police
Total Travel Cost: £30.85p (2 x Advance Singles)

Rail journeys:
12:00 – Edinburgh Waverley to Newcastle Central (East Coast InterCity 225 Mallard)
17:46 – Newcastle Central to Edinburgh Waverley (East Coast InterCity 125 High Speed Train)

Station to Stadium: St James’s Park is a familiar sight for people heading on the train north out of Newcastle, atop the hill. With it being so easy to see from the train, you’d expect it to be easy to reach from the station, and indeed it is, as there are several different routes towards the ground simply by crossing the road and heading upwards towards Chinatown. Because the stadium is so big it is difficult to miss. Even a slow jaunt will take you no more than 10 minutes. Of course, you then have to prepare yourself for the climb to Level 7 of the Sir John Hall Stand.

Anything else?: St James station has a unique colour scheme on the Tyne & Wear Metro, as it is decked out in the black and white colours of Newcastle United, rather than the corporate cream and yellow.

Newcastle Central railway station

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On the road to…Everton

Posted in Great Britain, On the road..., Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 13 May 2013

When there is more than one team from the same city in the same division, you get to know the routes to and from where you are to where they are. I’ve no doubt that, given there are six London clubs in this season’s Premier League, and that many fans will have been to all six by train, that people have come to know the various London termini quite well by now. However, this is as nothing when it comes to people travelling to see the two teams in the city at the end of the M62, because it isn’t just a case of travelling to the same city terminus…the proximity of the two of them means that they even share the same local station. Which is a bugger then that, because of a certain horserace putting the kibosh on my trip to the red half, I can’t simply copy the same post twice, and can only report back on my trip to Everton.

Date: 12th May 2013
Stadium: Goodison Park
Capacity: 40,157
Attendance: 39.475
Away Section: Bullens Road Stand
Score: Everton 2-0 West Ham United
Nearest station: Kirkdale
Local rozzers: Merseyside Police
Total Travel Cost: £78.00 (2 x Advance Singles, 1 x Weekend First, 1 x Soccerbus Train Return)

Rail journeys:
09:11 – New Cross to London Charing Cross (Southeastern Class 465/466 Networker)
Northern LineCharing Cross to Euston (1995 Stock)
10:15 – London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street (Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino)
13:55 – Liverpool Central to Sandhills (Merseyrail Class 507)
17:14 – Sandhills to Moorfields (Merseyrail Class 508)
18:48 – Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston (Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino)
Northern Line – Euston to London Bridge (1995 Stock)
21:43 – London Bridge to New Cross (Southeastern Class 465 Networker)

Station to Stadium: Goodison Park, much like its near neighbour on the other side of Stanley Park, is something of a trek for those favouring “shank’s pony”; the nearest railway station is Kirkdale, which is around a mile away through myriad side streets. This is why it’s a lot easier to take advantage of the shuttle bus service that operates from outside Sandhills station and drops you on Walton Lane at the Park End of the ground. Then it’s merely a case of a short wander (which is nice if it’s sunny, and rubbish if it’s raining) along the road to Bullens Street, and hey presto, the away turnstiles.

Anything else?: The “Soccerbus” scheme operated by Merseytravel is in place for both Everton’s and Liverpool’s home games, and run from the same railway station, Sandhills. Similarly, Kirkdale is the closest railway station for both Goodison Park and Anfield.

Sandhills station

Sandhills railway station

On the road to…Chelsea

Posted in London, On the road..., Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 18 March 2013

Ah, the derby. It is completely alien to me what it’s like supporting a team from a one club city, given that it’s a rarity that the Premier League has less than five clubs from London in it. As a consequence, when you support a London club it ends up as derby after derby, with the occasional visit from a team from the north-west. Well, this is the last of my away trips in the nation’s capital for this year, and the one that, were it a midweek game, would not even entail a rail journey to get to the ground, given that in my day job I work not ten minutes walk from Chelsea.

Date: 17th March 2013
Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Capacity: 41,837
Attendance: 41,639
Away Section: Shed End
Score: Chelsea 2-0 West Ham United
Nearest station: Fulham Broadway
Local rozzers: Metropolitan Police
Total Travel Cost: £4.80p (2 x Oystercard extension, 1 x Oyster Tram single)

Rail journeys:
13:39 – Lewisham to London Victoria (Southeastern Class 465 Networker)
14:36 – London Victoria to Clapham Junction (Southern Class 377 Electrostar)
14:46 – Clapham Junction to West Brompton (London Overground Class 378 Capitalstar)
District Line – West Brompton to Fulham Broadway (D78 Stock)
District Line – Fulham Broadway to Wimbledon (D78 Stock)
Route 3 – Wimbledon to East Croydon (CR4000 Flexity Swift)
18:47 – East Croydon to London Bridge (Southern Class 377 Electrostar)
19:27 – London Bridge to New Cross (Southeastern Class 465 Networker)

Station to Stadium: The area around Stamford Bridge could be described in part as one of the more affluent locations to host a football club, which is why Fulham Broadway station has an upmarket shopping centre with a cinema, several eateries and a gym/fitness centre over it. Of course, in order to avoid the centre being swamped with a load of plebby football fans on matchdays, there are now separate entrance/exit routes off the platforms, which bring you out behind the centre with a direct walk onto the Fulham Road. Then it’s simply a case of turning left and finding the right entrance, as, like other grounds I’ve been to, this one opens out in one direction. For the away fan, the entrance is the one on the east side of the ground, next to the two hotels that Chelsea decided were a better idea than a larger ground to build.

Anything else?: Heading south from West Brompton, the Wimbledon branch of the District Line runs along the north side of Stamford Bridge to call at Fulham Broadway, while the West London Line runs along the east side to Imperial Wharf, effectively hemming the stadium in and making any  expansion difficult, hence the reason for Chelsea’s bid for Battersea Power Station.

Fulham Broadway station

Fulham Broadway tube station

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