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

On the road to…Stoke

Posted in Great Britain, On the road..., Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 8 March 2013

It’s a truism to say that there are certain places one goes as a follower of a football club whereby one should exercise what would perhaps be described asa certain degree of caution, owing to the fact that the supporters of the team you happen to be opposing on that particular day have a reputation for being…let’s say “vocal”. And by vocal you can of course use that as a euphamism for whatever you like. I have been to several such places in my time with, of course, no trouble at all. And yet at only one of them have I felt the slightest twinge of unease. Which of course would lead to any sane person asking the question “why on earth do you keep going back?”. To which my answer is “because I’m a fan”. And that’s why I’m yet again making a return to Stoke City

Date: 2nd March 2013
Stadium: Britannia Stadium
Capacity: 27,740
Attendance: 26,250
Away Section: South Stand
Score: Stoke City 0-1 West Ham United
Nearest station: Stoke-on-Trent
Local rozzers: Staffordshire Police
Total Travel Cost: £17.50p (1 x Off-Peak Day Return, 1 x Off-Peak Tram Only Single + 1 Shuttlebus return)

Rail journeys:
Line 1Royal Centre to Nottingham Station Street (AT6/5 Incentro)
12:08 – Nottingham to Derby (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)
12:42 – Derby to Stoke-on-Trent (East Midlands Trains Class 153 Super Sprinter)
17:33 (Dep 17:38) – Stoke-on-Trent to Derby (East Midlands Trains Class 153 Super Sprinter)
18:39 – Derby to Nottingham (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)

Station to Stadium: The Britannia Stadium is yet another of those new grounds, though certainly less of an “identikit” one than other new stadia around and about. That being said though, it is one of those new ones where transport to and from the city centre was seemingly less of a priority, being more than two miles from the railway station off a junction of the A52. Of course, this is a distance that is walkable, and, if you’re like me, in not a huge amount of time. But then why walk when there are shuttle buses on offer from a stand next to Stoke Minster, which is less than 10 minutes walk from the station. Simply turn right out of the station and down to the main road, then turn right again, under the railway bridge, over the bridge across the A52 and down the hill, and hey presto, you find yourself on Glebe Street with a line of buses ahead of you.

Anything else?: The Crewe to Derby line, which serves Stoke-on-Trent, is a fairly quiet, rural line with one train an hour in each direction, and yet serves four Premier and Football League clubs (Derby County, Stoke City, Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra), as well as Uttoxeter racecourse.

Stoke-on-Trent railway station

%d bloggers like this: