26/11/2011

Another London Adventure 21/11/11

On Monday 21st November 2011 I had another fantastic trip to London using one of my complimentary First Capital Connect train tickets, it was a very dull and foggy day but stayed dry, here is the story of my second trip around London by bus, DLR and tube...

I started my day with Optare Solo YN03NCY on the 0648 Norfolk Green FairsteadOne to King's Lynn Railway Station, after the 10 minute journey it was then onto First Capital Connect 365507 for the 0718 1 hour and 52 minute journey to London Kings Cross via Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Waterbeach, Cambridge (where we joined to 365541), Royston and Letchworth Garden City.

We arrived at London Kings Cross bang on time at 0910 when a rather dirty 365541 was photographed next to an East Coast HST as seen below...

365541

It was then down to the Kings Cross Underground Station Ticket Hall to top up my Oystercard with £7.30 to cover me for my days travel before boarding a Victoria Line train to its southern terminus point at Brixton.

At Brixton I boarded my first bus of the day Stagecoach London Transbus Pointer Dart LX53LGO on local route P4 to Lewisham, this is a quiet route travelling through the back streets over countless speed bumps, a photograph of the bus I travelled on is shown below loading up at Brixton...

SC LX53LGO

At Lewisham, also visited on my last London trip, there was a large number of vehicles laying over in the bus station, this was just an interchange for me so I didn't stay long before boarding the DLR, departing Lewisham I once again had a front seat view but remembered to sit on the right hand side just incase the train had to be manually operated like last time and low and behold I am pleased I did as the Customer Service Agent had to once again take control of the train in the Mudchute area - I presume this must be an ongoing issue.

After changing trains at Canery Wharf I continued my DLR journey through to Stratford, approaching Stratford stunning (although foggy) views of the Olympic Park were seen, DLR 147 is pictured below at the Stratford terminus...

DLR 147

At Stratford it was a quick and easier than expected change onto the Central Line for the 35 minute journey through to White City, it was my first journey on the Central Line and trying not to sound like a wimp it was a mildly frightening one due to the fact that only around 25% of the lights in my carriage worked for the first 15 minutes of the journey - a very blurry photo below illustrates the darkness in the end of the carriage I was sitting in...

Dark train

Thankfully after around 15 minutes in near darkness much to the delight of myself and my fellow passengers the lights suddenly came on and remained on for the rest of the journey.

Upon arrival at White City I walked down past BBC Television Centre to Westfield Shopping Centre and White City Bus Station where after a spot of lunch it was time for my first ever (and last ever) "bendybus" trip on the 207, this route is now the last articulated bus route running in London and I have to say probably ended up being my favourite London "bendybus" route thanks to the sections of fast running which allows the full power of the Mercedes Benz engine to be unleashed!

First London LK05FBY is pictured below at White City Bus Station on the journey before the one I caught...

LK05FBY

To my suprise I ended up with BX54UDH - one of the ex Go Ahead London General Mercedes Benz Citaro G's that are currently residing with First London, the 207 travels between White City Bus Station and Hayes By Pass however I opted to disembark at Ealing Hospital (around 45 minutes into the journey) for ease of onward connections, a rear end shot of BX54UDH at Ealing Hospital is shown below

BX54UDH

At Ealing Hospital I boarded the waiting First London Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 LK59CXF for the long 90 minute journey to Golders Green...

LK59CXF

I was expecting the journey on the 83 to be pretty run-of-the-mill but enjoyable, however a totally unexpected, in fact three totally unexpected things occured... not one, not two, but three ticket checks were carried out by TfL inspectors along the line of the route (one at Ealing Broadway, one at Wembley Central and one at Hendon) of course I had no problem with this as I had a valid ticket, it was just a suprise after all the stories you read about the illusive ticket inspector and also the fact I had never encountered one on a London bus before! Speaking to the last ticket inspector she said there was a team out blitzing the route as they had been having problems on it - although nobody on the bus I was on was caught out I sure some on other buses were.

Anyway after that interesting journey on the 83 I arrived at Golders Green where after two Toffee Nut Latte's at Starbucks (it was buy one get one free happy hour!) I headed back to Kings Cross on the Northern Line.

I then boarded the train I came on 365507 at 1815 for the 1 hour and 37 minute fast 12 carriage service to King's Lynn via Royston (where the rear four coaches detatch), Cambridge, Ely and Downham Market, after reaching King's Lynn on time I headed to the bus station to catch Norfolk Green Optare Solo MX54WMJ home on the FairsteadOne having had a thoroghly enjoyable day in London.