Senior Railcard Moments June 2019

Our Bat & Ball correspondent, Keith Alderman, has now retired. However, when Thameslink allow him, he’s making good use of his Senior Railcard!

Delay Repay Claims: total 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019 inclusive = £27.80
(Southeastern £23.70, Southern £2.00 Thameslink £2.10). Two claims outstanding.

This month’s delays: total 40 minutes, Southeastern 35, Thameslink 5.

Thursday 6 June – This month, my first railway journey was to Leeds. The 06.51 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks arrived one minute late. The 07.03 to London Bridge was on time. I used Thameslink to transfer to St Pancras and then walked to Kings Cross. The 08.33 to Leeds arrived there on time. I returned from Leeds on the 16.15 which departed one minute late and was eight minutes late arriving at Kings Cross. Bat & Ball to Leeds and return is approximately 420 miles and the fare paid was £49.10.

Friday 7 June – I am heading to Southampton today. The 07.52 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks arrived one minute early. The 08.03 to Waterloo East arrived there seven minutes late. I walked to Waterloo and waited for the 09.35 service to Southampton. I used the good value Plusbus ticket, (£1.60), to travel to St Mary’s Stadium and back later in the day. The return bus journey was delayed for some unknown reason while the driver spoke on the telephone to somebody, possibly about a change of driver because I have seen changes of drivers in this location in the past. I asked about when we would moving again because I had an Advance Single ticket only valid on the 15.30 departure to London Waterloo. I did suggest that if I needed to buy new railway ticket, I would be seeking reimbursement from the bus company. Fortunately, the bus continued its journey and the driver stopped for me very close to Southampton Central station and I was able to board my required train. The 15.30 from Southampton arrived in Waterloo three minutes early. I walked to Waterloo East and boarded the 16.54 to Sevenoaks, this was a Class 377 train with no working Wi-fi, and it arrived two minutes late. The 17.52 to Bat & Ball was on time. National Rail Enquiries only offered an “Anytime Return” ticket for this journey costing £70.30. However, I paid £35.35 for my tickets, broken down as follows: –

  • Anytime Day Single – Bat & Ball to Waterloo East = £12.90
  • Advance Single – Waterloo to Southampton Central = £8.00
  • Advance Single – Southampton Central to Waterloo = £5.95
  • Anytime Day Single – Waterloo East to Bat & Ball = £8.50

Bat & Ball to Southampton Central via Waterloo and return is approximately 204 miles.

Thursday 13 June – My destination is Chatham today. I departed Bat & Ball on the 09.55 which arrived at Swanley on time. The 10.15 from Swanley was also on time when it arrived at Chatham. I returned from Rochester on the 15.52 service which arrived at Swanley on time.

Saturday 15 June – I am heading to the Bluebell Railway today. Normally I would drive but today is a special event on the railway and parking is likely to be difficult there, and I also wanted to visit a place in Oxted. I can usually drive to the Bluebell Railway in forty-five minutes, travelling by train takes one hour fifty-nine minutes via Sevenoaks, London Bridge and East Croydon or two hours twenty-five minutes via Bromley South and Victoria! The off-peak return rail fare of £16.35 is about £5 more than what I would need to spend on petrol for the journey! That’s just for me – for two or more the difference would be even more striking.

Thursday 20 June – I wanted to go to Croydon, Forest Hill and Brockley before going into central London. I had intended to travel from Bat & Ball to Beckenham Junction and then use the Croydon tram system to George Street. However, I departed later than I intended therefore I travelled to East Croydon via Sevenoaks and London Bridge.

Friday 21 June – I am heading for Lewes today, I departed Bat & Ball on the 07.55 at 07.57 to Swanley, then the 08.23 to Victoria and then the 09.46 to Lewes. At both Victoria and Lewes my Advance purchase ticket did not operate the barriers. At Victoria this was not too much of a problem because a member of staff was in attendance. However, at Lewes there were no staff near the ticket barriers that permit exit from the station on the level towards the town centre. Accordingly, I needed to walk via the footbridge to the main station entrance to exit the station. When I passed through the main barrier line, I asked the member of staff there why nobody at the barrier line that my ticket would not open because my understanding was that if ticket barriers were in use a member of staff should be in attendance. I was advised that they are remotely monitored and in case of any problems there is a “help button” to call for assistance. I did not notice any “help button” or sign directing people to it. Interestingly, later in the day these barriers were in the open position.

On the return from Victoria I changed to the Bat & Ball train at Otford, where it’s a same platform interchange. Strangely National Rail Enquiries suggest that the change of trains should be made at Bromley South; this surprises me because a change from platform four to platform two would be necessary and the station is likely to be busy just after 17.00. Bat & Ball to Lewes and return is approximately 150.5 miles and National Rail Enquiries offered fares of an “Anytime Day Return” at £49.30 or two singles, out £35.00, return £23.10, a total of £48.10. I paid £30.30 for the journey, the breakdown of this is as follows: –

  • Bat & Ball to Victoria – Anytime Day Single – £12.90
  • Victoria to Lewes – Advance Single – £5.60
  • Lewes To Victoria – Advance Single – £3.30
  • Victoria to Bat & Ball – Anytime Day Single – £8.50

Thursday 27 June – My destination is Bromsgrove today. The 09.23 from London to Birmingham New Street arrived four minutes late at 10.48. I managed to transfer to the 10.53 departure to Bromsgrove where it arrived one minute early. This was a result because National Rail Enquiries suggested that the connecting service at Birmingham departed at 11.15. Using a Plusbus ticket I proceeded to the town centre for meal and glass of lunch before continuing my journey by bus to Bromsgrove Rugby Club for my event. where the event I was attending was being held. On the return journey after waiting just over fifteen minutes past the time that the bus was due there was still no sign of the bus, (an hourly service). Therefore, I had to walk back to Bromsgrove railway station to ensure that I boarded the train I needed to take me back to Birmingham. Just as I arrived at the station the bus appeared, running just over twenty minutes late. I do not like using buses outside of town and city centres that undertake long journeys because of the reliability issues but there was no other choice today. The 18.50 from Birmingham to Euston arrived twelve minutes late, therefore after using the Northern line to transfer to London Bridge I arrived there too late for the connection back to Sevenoaks and incurred a thirty minutes late delay to my journey back to Bat & Ball. A delay repay claim has been submitted to Virgin Trains. Euston to Bromsgrove and return is approximately 253.5 miles, the two Advance singles fare paid for this journey was outwards £12.05, return £10.25, total £22.30. It cost me £25.55 from Bat & Ball to Euston and return!

Saturday 29 June – My final journey of the month was from Bat & Ball to Wareham where South Western Trains were running a special train service between Wareham and Corfe Castle to provide a connection with the preserved railway to Swanage. I travelled half an hour earlier than I needed to, but I had to be certain of being at Waterloo for the 08.05 service to Wareham. This train arrived one minute late at Wareham. The 11.17 to Corfe Castle was also one minute late arriving there. The class 159 train that worked this service had actually commenced its journey from Waterloo at 06.35, travelling via Yeovil Junction 09.20, Yeovil Pen Mill 09.45, Weymouth 10.29, and was due at Wareham at 11.17. At Corfe Castle I transferred to a steam hauled service to Swanage. The locomotive was a Battle of Britain Class, number 34072, named “257 Squadron”. On arrival at Swanage my favourite fish & chip shop was visited before some real ale therapy in the Red Lion was taken. After wandering around Swanage, I travelled back to Corfe Castle where there was time for a pint in the Bankes Arms before boarding the train to Wareham at 15.44, after departing Wareham this train was bound for Salisbury. I departed Wareham on the 16.31 service to London Waterloo where it arrived thirty-two minutes late at 19.21. Accordingly, I missed my intended train back from Waterloo East to Sevenoaks. The 20.30 to Bat & Ball was on time, but due to the late running South Western Trains service this was half an hour later than I should have been.

I bought an Off-Peak Day Return ticket for my journey between Bat & Ball and Waterloo East costing £8.65. From Waterloo to Wareham and return two Advance Singles were the best value for money. Waterloo to Wareham £13.55, and Wareham to Waterloo £8.90, a total of £31.10. An Off-Peak Day Return ticket from Bat & Ball to Wareham costs £44.50, therefore I saved £13.40. Waterloo to Wareham and return is 241.5 miles.

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