Senior Railcard Moments August 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 31 August 2019 inclusive = £53.20
(Southeastern £25.10, Southern £2.00, South Western Railway £6.62, Thameslink £9.10, Virgin £10.38).

This month’s delays: total 120 minutes, Southeastern 74, Thameslink 46.

Thursday 1 August – My first journey of the month was to Egham. Armed with an off-peak One Day Travelcard plus an off-peak day return from Feltham to Egham I commenced my journey on the 09.21 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks. Unfortunately, this train was running three minutes late and it missed the connection with the 9.29 from Sevenoaks to Waterloo East. Accordingly, I had to travel on the 09.43 from Sevenoaks and I was concerned that I would not arrive at Waterloo in time to board the 10.20 service to Egham. Fortunately, the 09.43 arrived at Waterloo East one minute early giving me eight minutes to transfer to platform 24 at Waterloo for my train. I made it with two minutes to spare.

Credit: Campaign for Real Ale

Tuesday 6 August – I am doing voluntary work at the Great British Beer Festival this week serving behind a bar providing real ale therapy to the customers. Accordingly, I will be travelling daily between Bat & Ball and Kensington Olympia. Today I commenced my journey on the 09.21 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks, then the 09.29 to London Bridge, the Jubilee line to Westminster, the District line to West Brompton and finally London Overground to Kensington Olympia arriving at 10.40. Phew!

Thursday 8 August – The 09.21 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks was cancelled. However, the information screen advised that the 08.23 was delayed due to a passenger being taken ill at Shoreham. Eventually, “delayed” changed to “expected 09.21”, accordingly I hoped to arrive at Sevenoaks in time to travel on the 09.29 to London Bridge. However, this was not to be, the train was held at Bat & Ball until 09.27 waiting for a platform to become available at Sevenoaks, arriving there at 09.30. The 09.43 to London Bridge arrived there eight minutes late. I eventually arrived at Kensington Olympia at 10.57. A Delay Repay claim has been submitted.

Friday 9 August – Due to the very heavy rain that was falling this morning I delayed my departure by half an hour. When I arrived at Bat & Ball the ticket machine was not working correctly. The touchscreen was not responsive. Accordingly, it took about six minutes to buy my ticket! I have reported this fault about three times over the last two weeks to Southeastern. I returned later from Victoria on the 20.55 to Otford. However, at Otford the information screen showed the 21.48 to Bat & Ball as being cancelled. This was attributed to a power and points failure. The 22.18 to Bat & Ball was on time. Another Delay Repay claim has been submitted.

Saturday 10 August – All week the trains I travelled on from Sevenoaks to London have been very busy, but today the overcrowding was ridiculous. Due to the predicted high winds Ramsgate to London trains were cancelled in both directions. Accordingly, Sevenoaks lost two fast services to/from London per hour. Today was a peak holiday traffic day and a lot of people were travelling with suitcases, many of these were on or obstructing seats due to the lack of suitable places to store suitcases on modern trains. It was announced on the 9 August that Southeastern were running a reduced service today due to the expected bad weather. Accordingly, why did they not remarshal stock in to twelve coach train formations to help reduce overcrowding?

Thursday 15 August – My destination is Deal today. The first off-peak service from Bat & Ball for this journey is the 09.52 to Sevenoaks where it arrived one minute early. The 10.02 to Ashford International arrived there three minutes early. Then a long wait for the 11.15 to Deal. I have not been to Deal for many years, and I was surprised to see that semaphore signals are still in use there. I returned on the 15.41 service which departed eight minutes late. Apparently, this train is often late due to delays at Ramsgate depot in forming up a twelve-coach train! To make up time stations between Ashford International and Paddock Wood were missed out. Arrival at Sevenoaks was on time, so good for me but not so good for those want to travel to or from Marden, Staplehurst and so on.

Wednesday 21 August – I am heading for Peterborough today. I departed Bat & Ball on the 08.23 to Sevenoaks where it arrived one minute early. The 08.31 to London Bridge was eleven minutes late. I used the 09.11 Thameslink service to St Pancras International and then walked to King’s Cross. I travelled on the 10.03 Leeds service to Peterborough where it arrived one minute late. The train was formed of an Intercity 125 therefore it has manually operated doors. It was noticeable that only a few people closed the door after leaving or joining the train. I expect that this is a sign of the times where most people travelling are accustomed to using trains with power operated doors. During the journey the fastest speed I observed was 123 mph, there is life in these old dogs yet! Bat & Ball to Peterborough and return is approximately 202.5 miles, the fare paid was £24.20. For comparison. an Anytime Day Return fare to London terminals from Bat & Ball using the 08.23 service is £23.90, or two singles can be purchased for £21.40.

Saturday 31 August – A short journey today to West Malling. I departed Bat & Ball on the 09.25 to Otford where it arrived on time. After a long wait at Otford, I boarded the 09.58 to West Malling. This train departed two minutes late and was one minute late arriving at West Malling. I returned from West Malling on the 15.40 service which arrived one minute early at Otford. After another long wait at Otford I departed on the 16.18 to Bat & Ball this train was on time.

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