Senior Railcard Moments – February 2020

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 29 February 2020 inclusive = £10.70 (Southeastern £10.70, Thameslink £0)

This month’s delays: total 74 minutes, Southeastern 65, Thameslink 9

Some news:

  • I have received updates from Southeastern concerning the faulty footbridge lights at Bat & Ball station. The work was to be undertaken on the 10 February. However, on the 20 February 2020, one light was once again not working on the footbridge. A further update advised that the installation of LED lights might be necessary to provide a permanent solution.
  • Southeastern have launched a train tracker app. This shows you exactly where your train is on your journey and if it is running to time. I tried it on a journey from Hastings to Sevenoaks as far as Tonbridge. It appears to work well and was for the most reporting the same information as that on the Realtime Trains site which I was using beside Southeastern’s Train Tracker for comparison purposes. The only problem I observed was that whilst the train was at West St Leonards it was advising that it was on time at Crowhurst!

Wednesday 5 February– My first journey this month is to Birmingham. The 09.29 from Sevenoaks to London Bridge was six minutes late. I transferred to Euston on the Northern line and boarded the 10.43 service to Birmingham New Street where it arrived five minutes late. I used a £2.25 Plusbus ticket to reach my ultimate destination in Birmingham. The fares paid today were £11.55 for an Off-Peak Day Travelcard for the return journey from Bat & Ball to London Euston, plus two Advance Single tickets to travel to and from Birmingham at £5.60 each.

Thursday 6 February – I am heading for Norwood Junction today. I departed Bat & Ball at 10.22 and arrived at Sevenoaks on time. The 10.29 to London Bridge was two minutes late. The Thameslink train I was expecting to travel to Norwood Junction on was not shown on the departures board, probably due to the overhead power lines problem that was disrupting Thameslink services this morning. However, a Southern service departing at 11.17 was calling additionally at Norwood Junction. The off-peak return fare paid was £9.70.

Friday 7 February – My destination is Dover Priory today. The off-peak return fare paid was £20.15.

Wednesday 12 February – I am heading to Eastbourne today. The 09.50 service to St Leonards Warrior Square was shown on time when I arrived at Sevenoaks but soon changed to expected at 10.01. This was due to earlier overrunning engineering work in the Hastings area. It did depart at 10.01 and arrived St Leonards Warrior Square eleven minutes late missing the connection with the 11.01 to Eastbourne. Accordingly, I had to travel on the 11.10 service to Eastbourne where it arrived on time. However, my journey was delayed by fifteen minutes therefore another Delay Repay claim has been submitted. The Cheap Day Return fare for this journey was £11.30. Bat & Ball to Eastbourne and return is approximately one hundred and five miles.

Thursday 20 February – My destination is Derby today. I departed Bat & Ball at 08.23 and arrived at Sevenoaks one minute early. Southeastern were having problems due to a trespass incident in the Tonbridge area and many trains were cancelled, including the 08.31 to London Bridge that I wanted to travel on. The 08.47 was shown as running on time but due to the number of London bound cancellations and the amount of people waiting on platform one at Sevenoaks, I decided to travel on the 08.37 slow service. This departed two minutes late but arrived one minute early at London Bridge, However, my journey was delayed by twenty-one minutes, another Delay Repay claim submitted. I transferred to St Pancras International on a Thameslink service. I travelled on the 10.02 service to Sheffield which arrived in Derby eight minutes late. Bat & Ball to Derby and return is about three hundred and six miles. I purchased two Advance Singles for this journey, costing £15.85 outwards and £20.80 for the return leg.

Wednesday 26 February – I am meeting up with my former colleagues today. However, I will be undertaking some consumer research in Surbiton, New Maldon and Raynes Park beforehand. I departed Bat & Ball at 09.21 and arrived on time at Sevenoaks. The 9.29 to Waterloo East was also on time. Departing Waterloo at 10.23 I arrived at Surbiton one minute early. I had not been there before, on exiting the station the first thing I noticed was a Fuller’s pub called the “Surbiton Flyer”. However, the pub sign was not appropriate, the train pictured was hauled by an LNER Gresley A4 pacific steam locomotive!

Thursday 27 February – I am heading for Leicester today. I intended to travel on the 07.23 from Bat & Ball to Sevenoaks changing there for London Bridge. However, the media were reporting major problems with Southeastern services due to signal failure between London Bridge and Charing Cross. This resulted in many cancellations and some trains being diverted to Victoria. Accordingly, I decided to travel to Blackfriars on the 07.21 service. This departed four minutes late and was two minutes late arriving in Blackfriars at 08.31. I boarded the late running 08.27 departure to St Pancras International where it arrived seven minutes late. The 09.02 from St Pancras International arrived in Leicester two minutes late.The 17.52 to Bat & Ball was on time. Bat & Ball to Leicester and return is approximately 222.8 miles, the fare paid for two Advance Single tickets was outwards £12.20, return £14.50.

Friday 28 February – My destination is Chappell & Wakes Colne in darkest Essex today. I departed Bat & Ball at 09.21 arriving on time at Sevenoaks. The 09.29 to London Bridge was running late and departed at 09.33, arrival in London was five minutes late. I used the Jubilee line to transfer to Stratford. The 10.41 to Marks Tey departed two minutes late and arrived two minutes early at 11.28. A long wait for the 12.02 departure to Chappell & Wakes Colne. This departed and arrived one minute late. It was formed of one of Greater Anglia’s new trains, a Stadler “FLIRT”, (Fast Light Intercity & Regional Train). The version I travelled on was a bimodal one, basically an AC electric train with a short diesel generator car inserted between the first and second coach of the three-coach train. This can generate electricity when operating away from the overhead power supply. It seems strange to be able to walk through a corridor on a train between diesel generators! Bat & Ball to Chappell & Wakes Colne and return is approximately one hundred and forty-six miles. Departing at 09.21 the fare offered is an Anytime Return at £61.50. I purchased an Off-Peak Day Travelcard, (£11.55), plus a Super Off-Peak Day Return from Harold Wood to Chappell & Wakes Colne, (£14.15), saving £35.80.

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