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 November 2019 inclusive = £137.36
(East Midlands Trains £5.36, Greater Anglia £8.90, Southeastern £31.50, Southern £2.00, South Western Railway £19.56, Thameslink £15.90, Virgin £53.63, West Midland Railway £0.51). Two claims outstanding.
This month’s delays: total 71 minutes, Southeastern 50, Thameslink 21
Incidents and this month’s issues: –
Friday 1 Novmeber – My first journey this month is to Merstham. I departed Bat & Ball on the 10.21 to Sevenoaks which was on time. I changed on to the 10.36 to Tonbridge which departed one minute early and arrived on time. The 11.01 to Redhill arrived there two minutes early. I boarded the 11.41 which arrived two minutes early at Merstham. An Off-Peak Day Return from Bat & Ball to Merstham cost me £8.30.
Sunday 3 November – A short journey today as far as Sevenoaks, the 11.15 from Bat & Ball arrived there on time. I then travelled to Westerham on a 401 bus with a group of people and visited the Westerham Brewery Tap.
Thursday 7 November – My destination is Kidderminster today. I commenced my journey on the 07.52 from Bat & Ball which departed five minutes late and arrived three minutes late at Sevenoaks. My Advance Single ticket restricted me to travelling on the 08.12 service to London Bridge. This meant that I watched three services depart for London Bridge before the 08.12 arrived at Sevenoaks. This service departed one minute late and arrived at London Bridge seven minutes late. When I arrived at London Bridge Underground station the gates were closed because of overcrowding on the platforms. I eventually arrived at Euston at 09.13 and just managed to board the 09.23 service to Birmingham New Street. After departing one minute late this train arrived in Birmingham six minutes late due to following a late running West Midlands service. I walked to Birmingham Snow Hill and travelled to Kidderminster on the 11.13 train. This departed two minutes late and arrived at my destination two minutes late. My Advance Single tickets cost me £18.15 from Bat & Ball to Kidderminster and £16.85 in the return direction.
Friday 8 November – I am heading for Woking today. The 15.51 from Bat & Ball departed eight minutes late and arrived seven minutes late at Sevenoaks, However, after missing a connecting service my journey to Waterloo East was delayed by sixteen minutes. I boarded the 16.13 train from Sevenoaks to Waterloo East. It departed one minute late and was also one minute late arriving in London. I walked to Waterloo and boarded the 17.00 service to Woking where it arrived on time. An Off-Peak Day Return from Bat & Ball to Woking cost me £15.85.
Thursday 14 November – I am travelling to Cambridge today. I commenced my journey on the 09.21 to Sevenoaks where it arrived three minutes late. Fortunately, the 09.29 to London Bridge was running five minutes late and I easily managed to board it. Arrival at London Bridge was six minutes late. I had intended to use a Thameslink service to St Pancras but there was not one due for seventeen minutes. Accordingly, I transferred to Kings Cross using the Northern line. The 10.42 to Cambridge arrived there six minutes late. Armed with a Plusbus ticket I started my travels around the city. An Off-Peak Day Return from Bat & Ball to Cambridge cost me £21.45.
Wednesday 20 November – I dusted off my passport and headed for Rochford in darkest Essex today. I needed to depart at 09.21 from Bat & Ball but the return fare offered by National Rail Enquiries was £41.70; the Off-Peak Return fare, £21.05, was not available until the 10.21 departure. Accordingly, I bought an Off-Peak One Day Travelcard, £11.20, plus an Off-Peak Return from Harold Wood to Rochford, £9.25, travelled on the trains I wanted to and saved £20.25! The 09.21 from Bat & Ball arrived at Sevenoaks on time. The 09.29 from Sevenoaks departed three minutes late and was five minutes late arriving at London Bridge. This train was very busy today. I used the Jubilee line to transfer to Stratford. The 10.45 from Stratford departed two minutes late and was four minutes late arriving at Rochford.
Thursday 21 November – Another trip over to the dark side: my destination is Dovercourt today. Again, I needed to depart at 09.21 from Bat & Ball but the return fare offered by National Rail Enquiries was £59.80, the Off-Peak Return fare, £25.30, was not available until the 10.21 departure. Accordingly, I bought an Off-Peak One Day Travelcard, £11.20, plus an Advance Single from Stratford to Dovercourt, £7.25, and the same for the return journey, travelled on the trains I wanted to and saved £23.10! I returned from Dovercourt on the 15.30 departure to Manningtree where it arrived one minute late. The 15.53 departed three minutes late and arrived at Stratford four minutes late. This train was a service from Norwich to Liverpool Street formed of eight coaches and only had one working toilet. Greater Anglia are getting new trains, perhaps only essential maintenance is being done to the existing fleet. I have also found recently that when booking tickets to travel on the London/Norwich Intercity services seat reservations are no longer offered.
Tuesday 26 November – I am heading to the Albert Hall this evening to see Hawkwind play on their fiftieth anniversary tour supported by the Blackheart Orchestra. When travelling to the Albert Hall and returning late at night I prefer to drive to Otford and take a train to Victoria. I used the 17.29 from Otford to Victoria which departed three minutes late and arrived in London four minutes late. I returned from Victoria on the 23.25 which arrived at Otford five minutes late. The upholstery on the seats in Southeastern’s class 377 trains used on this route is showing signs of wear, especially the headrests.
Thursday 28 November – I am meeting with my former colleagues in the Crosse Keys in London later today but beforehand I need to visit Welling and Eltham. Armed with an Off-Peak Travelcard I departed Bat & Ball at 09.21 which arrived on time at Sevenoaks. Southeastern were having problems this morning due to a broken rail in the New Cross area, with many fast trains to London being cancelled or diverted to Victoria. I had intended travelling to London Bridge on the 09.29 service, but this was cancelled. The next fast services to London were to Cannon Street and Victoria but were running very late. Accordingly, I boarded the first train departing for London Bridge which was the 09.35 slow service. This train departed five minutes late and arrived at London Bridge seventeen minutes late. Accordingly, I missed my intended connecting train to Welling and travelled on the 10.51 service which arrived at my destination one minute early. However, my journey was delayed by forty-nine minutes, another Delay Repay claim submitted. When stopping at Blackheath station it occurred to me that this station probably has the largest Southeastern style platform station name sign. After some consumer research in Welling I travelled to Eltham on the 12.09 service which arrived two minutes early. After further consumer research, I travelled to London Bridge on the 14.14 train which arrived on time. I returned from London Bridge on the 18.28 service which departed four minutes late.I had good value for money from my Travelcard today, six bus journeys in addition to the rail travel!
Friday 29 November – My destination is Dudley today. The 07.52 train from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks arrived there one minute early. I travelled to London Bridge on the 08.03 service which arrived there two minutes late. After transferring to Euston on the Northern line I boarded the 09.23 Virgin trains departure to Birmingham New Street where it arrived five minutes late. I changed on to the 11.07 train to Dudley Port where it arrived on time. A Plusbus ticket was used to travel into Dudley town centre. I returned to London Euston on the 18.30 Virgin trains service which was a Super Voyager train rather than a Pendolino. Bat & Ball to Dudley Port and return is approximately three hundred and thirty-four miles. Advance Single tickets cost me £18.15 in both directions.