Senior Railcard Moments – January 2020

Inspection cover, platform 6A,
Derby station.

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 2020 to 31 January 2020 inclusive = £2.30
(Southeastern £2.30, Thameslink £0). One claim outstanding.

This month’s delays: total 113 minutes, Southeastern 109, Thameslink 4

Thursday 2 January – My first journey of the year. My Day Travelcard has increased to £11.55 from £11.20, 3.125%.

Wednesday 15 January – For a two-week period East Midlands Railway were offering a £15 return fare to anywhere they serve from London, therefore today my destination is Derby. The 09.29 from Sevenoaks to London Bridge was delayed due to a lineside fire in the New Cross area earlier in the day. Arrival at London Bridge was thirty-six minutes late. My first Delay Repay claim of the year. I continued my journey to St Pancras International on a late running Thameslink train, arriving there thirty-five minutes later than I should have, with only seven minutes to board the 11.02 service to Sheffield which I was travelling on to Derby. I made it and boarded the first coach then walked through the train to my reserved seat. Bat & Ball to Derby and return is about 306 miles. The fare paid was £9.05 from Bat & Ball to St Pancras and return, plus the £15 special promotional East Midlands Railway fare.

Friday 17 January – My destination is St James Park, Exeter, today. The 09.37 Paddington to Exeter St David’s departed on time and arrived eight minutes late. I quickly transferred to the 12.15 service to St James Park which arrived on time. However, no announcements were made to advise passengers that St James Park has a very short platform, only about one and a half coach lengths! Bat & Ball to St James Park and return is approximately 397 miles, the fare paid was £36.30 for two Advance Singles, outward £16.50, return £19.80.

Thursday 23 January – I am heading to Manchester today. The 09.00 Euston to Manchester Piccadilly departed on time and arrived there two minutes late. I used the Metrolink trams in Manchester to my ultimate city centre destination. However, at Piccadilly station it was not clear as to where a ticket could be purchased. There were many machines near the tram platforms selling railway tickets but not tram tickets! I asked member of staff and was advised that they were on the platform, but no signs to direct people towards them. The person I spoke to commented that the signs would be helpful – I agree! Whilst travelling back to London one of the staff announced, “welcome to the Vir..Avanti West Coast service to London Euston”. Obviously, they had forgotten that the franchise had changed hands! Bat & Ball to Manchester and return is approximately 440 miles. Advance Single tickets cost me £31.00 in each direction.

Wednesday 29 January – With Passport in my pocket, I am venturing over to the dark side, heading for Colchester today. I wanted to arrive in Colchester before 12.00, departing at 09.21. The fare quoted was £61.50 for an Anytime Return. However, an Off-Peak Travelcard at £11.55, plus an Off-Peak Return from Harold Wood to Colchester Town costing £15.90, permitted me to travel when I wanted to and saved me £34.05! When I arrived at Bat & Ball station the ticket machine was not working therefore, I could not collect the tickets I had purchased online last night. Fortunately, at Sevenoaks the 09.29 to London Bridge was running six minutes late and I had enough time to retrieve my tickets from the machines there.

I returned for Colchester Town on the 15.12 service. I discovered that there were no working toilets on this train, (in my experience, a frequent occurrence on Greater Anglian trains).

Thursday 30 January – Putney, Feltham and Bank today. Trains one minute late, 7 minutes late, 1 minute late, 4 minutes late, 3 minutes late as far as Bank. Clearly the “Right Time Railway” is still some way off!

Then I returned home on the late running 18.50 service from London Bridge which was nine minutes late arriving at Sevenoaks, not connecting with the 19.22 to Bat & Ball. The next service at 19.52 to Bat & Ball was on time. Another Delay Repay claim submitted.

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