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 31 July 2019 inclusive = £47.60
(Southeastern £23.70, Southern £2.00, South Western Railway £6.62, Thameslink £4.90, Virgin £10.38). One claim outstanding.
This month’s delays: total 89 minutes, Southeastern 52, Thameslink 37
Wednesday 3 July – My first railway journey of the month is to Edinburgh: I have wanted to travel from London to Edinburgh via the east coast main line and return down the west coast main line for some time, so I took advantage of the light evenings to undertake the whole journey in day light. I departed Bat & Ball on the 06.21 to Sevenoaks, then the 06.31 to London Bridge, then the 07.01 Thameslink service to St Pancras. I walked to Kings Cross station and purchased an Edinburgh Plusbus ticket, (this was the size of a typical airline ticket!), and then waited for the 08.00 departure to Edinburgh Waverley. After visiting the Foot of the Walk in Leith, The Playfair in the Omni Centre and The Booking Office back at Waverley station, I boarded the 14.52 service to London Euston via Carlisle. Arrival in London was two minutes late at 20.35. Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley is three hundred and ninety-three miles and the fare paid was £22.45. Edinburgh Waverley to London Euston is four hundred miles and the fare paid was £19.80. The fare from Bat & Ball to St Pancras International was £13.00, and the fare from Euston to Bat & Ball was £10.50.
Friday 5 July – A short return journey to Tonbridge today. I departed Bat & Ball at 15.21 and arrived one minute early at Sevenoaks. The 15.36 to Tonbridge was one minute late. I returned from Tonbridge on the 20.31 and transferred to the 20.52 to Bat & Ball at Sevenoaks. Both trains were on time.
Saturday 6 July – My destination is Sittingbourne today, I departed Bat & Ball one minute late at 08.56 but arrived on time at Swanley. I changed on to the 09.15 to Sittingbourne which departed one minute early and had no first-class accommodation today, shame! Arrival at Sittingbourne was on time. I walked to the Sittingbourne terminus of the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway and travelled on a narrow-gauge steam hauled train to Kemsley Down. I arrived back in Sittingbourne and had almost an hour to wait for a train back to Swanley (the £11.60 Off Peak Day Return ticket from Bat & Ball to Sittingbourne is not valid via Bromley South). Accordingly, The Paper Mill and Fountain Ale House were visited whilst I waited for the 15.30 train to Swanley where it arrived sixteen minutes late. Fortunately, the 16.36 to Sevenoaks was running five minutes late and an easy connection was made.
Wednesday 10 July – I am attending an event in Ealing Broadway today: Armed with an Off-Peak One Day Travelcard I boarded the 09.21 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks where it arrived on time. I could have saved £0.70 by travelling half an hour later and buying an Off-Peak Day Return but I wanted to depart at 09.21 and have the flexibility of the Travelcard. The 09.29 to London Bridge departed one minute late and arrived two minutes late. I used the Jubilee and Bakerloo lines to transfer to Paddington station. I travelled on the 10.42 from Paddington to Ealing Broadway where it arrived two minutes early. On the return journey the 17.22 to Bat & Ball was in platform four at Sevenoaks but was cancelled due to an incident at Bickley. Accordingly, my journey to Bat & Ball was delayed by half an hour. Another Delay Repay claim submitted. The 17.52 from Sevenoaks departed three minutes late and was five minutes late arriving at Bat & Ball.
Friday 19 July – My destination is Canterbury today; I commenced my journey on the 9.21 from Bat & Ball which departed three minutes late but was only one minute late arriving at Sevenoaks. The 09.41 was two minutes late departing but was on time at Canterbury West. I returned on the 15.42 from Canterbury West which arrived one minute early at Sevenoaks.
Saturday 20 July – Having dusted off my passport, I am heading for North Weald in deepest Essex on the dark side of the river Thames. I used the Transport for London journey planner to assess the best route from Bat & Ball to Epping, and much to my surprise it did not suggest using a Thameslink train service from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks as the first part of the journey. The recommendation was to walk, taking thirty-three minutes! I used the train. From London Bridge I used the Jubilee line to Stratford where I transferred to a Central line train. I just managed to board a vintage bus bound for North Weald just before it departed. After spending a few hours on the Epping & Ongar preserved railway I returned to Epping on a different vintage bus. Using the Central line to Stratford then Jubilee line to London Bridge.
My Travelcard did not operate the barriers, at London Bridge in both directions, Epping on the outward direction and London Bridge Underground stations on the return journey. I am frequently experiencing tickets not opening ticket barriers and needing to find a member of staff to let me through. They never look at the tickets or ask to see the relevant railcard! If I cannot board a train due to a ticket not operating a barrier and experience a delay to my journey will this be accepted as a valid reason for a Delay Repay claim?
Wednesday 24 July – I am meeting up with my former colleagues in the Crosse Keys later today but before this I want to go to Ealing Broadway to undertake some consumer research. The 11.29 from Sevenoaks to London Bridge was very full today with people standing. I travelled to Paddington on the Jubilee line from London Bridge and changed on to the Bakerloo line at Baker Street. My journey to and from Ealing Broadway was on time. Returning from Paddington I travelled on the Metropolitan line to Baker Street where I broke my journey for a visit to the Metropolitan Rooms and some refreshment before continuing to Liverpool Street. At Liverpool Street station members of staff were handing bottles of water to whoever wanted one. Due to the heat, and because I had a One Day Travelcard, I used a bus to complete my journey to the Crosse Keys. I returned home from London Bridge on the 19.09 Tunbridge Wells service, although today this service was being terminated at Tonbridge due to a points failure.
Thursday 25 July – The journey I did not make. I was intending to go to an event at Beckenham Rugby Club today but due to the prospect of disruption to the train services because of the expected high temperatures I decided not to go after checking my travel options. My journey would have been from Bat & Ball to Bromley South, changing there on to a train to Beckenham Junction. From Beckenham Junction I would have completed my journey on a number 54 bus. However, this was not possible due to cancellations to services on the return leg of the journey, the recommended alternative was to travel to Beckenham Hill station and then by bus. This would have extended the journey time by about twenty minutes in each direction.
Friday 26 July – I did make it to the event at Beckenham Rugby Club today. I departed Bat & Ball on the 10.25 which arrived at Bromley South on time. The 11.04 to Beckenham Junction arrived there one minute early. The station bus stop was not in use for some unknown reason and I had to walk down Beckenham High Street to the next stop to board a number 54 bus to complete my journey. I returned from Beckenham Junction on the 16.35 service to Bromley South where it arrived nine minutes late and missed the connection with the 16.53 to Bat & Ball. Accordingly, I had to wait for the 17.23 service. As my journey was delayed by thirty minutes, a Delay Repay claim has been submitted to Southeastern.
Wednesday 31 July – There was a problem with the ticket machine at Bat & Ball station today. This morning I tried to collect some tickets that I had purchased online. The machine accepted my credit card to initiate the process, but the touchscreen did not respond after entering one character. It was also difficult to terminate the process in order to try again. After two unsuccessful attempts I gave up. Another customer who wanted to purchase a ticket for immediate travel also experienced the same problem whilst I was at the station. I have advised Southeastern.
Incidentally, when looking for train times on National Rail Enquiries website and then proceeding to buy tickets if the journey is within Southeastern’s area the NRE website frequently fails to transfer you to Southastern’s website. I recently bought an off-peak day return from Bat & Ball to Canterbury West, and for the next day an off-peak Travelcard, (both with a Senior railcard discount). National Rail Enquiries transferred me to South West Trains website to purchase these tickets! (In most cases you can select any Train Operating Company for the purchase: they benefit from the sales commission and you can pick the tickets up at your local station – you might want to choose the one that gives you the best service … – Ed )