Sunday 29 October 2017

Blog Trip To London Part 3

Welcome to the final part of Tim and I's excellent adventure to London. So far we have ventured from East Suffolk to our parking space in Upminster, from where we have traversed across London, taking in various forms of transport via places such as Charing Cross, Heathrow, Croydon, Three Bridges and St Pancras International. You join us at Waterloo, where I had a treat in store for Tim. No transport enthusiast should go to London and not taste the future. The future in this case being an electric milk float cunningly disguised as a bus, the BYD E200MMC bodied electric bus. Readers will know my views on them so I'll let Tim give his verdict!

T. Well what can I say, as I was a milkman in a previous life this should have been a piece of cake....ummmm no. I can honestly say I did not like this at all. The seating arrangement all up the back over the battery pod I assume felt weird and I likened it to being in a modern artic very high up. I know in cities and larger urban areas this will be the ultimate zero future but needs work and I can't see one of these liking the Beccles Southwold road much. Anyway it was an experience with hopefully no repeat soon......"sorry love did you want a yoghurt today,,,,,?"

Seems like neither of us could bring ourselves to take a full pic of the BYD so here is Tim's best effort!

2 pints or 3/                           pic TM
S. We arrived at Victoria in need of a stiff coke after that, and so one of the most pleasantly located Wetherspoons in the land beckoned. Sited on Victoria Station's Western concourse you can relax while taking in the hustle and bustle of a very busy station without needing to take out a loan to be able to afford a drink.

T. I can't say this is a first well not for about 50 years maybe. Last time I was here was indeed around 1967/68 but it all seemed so different and smaller ,and now it's a big open place that looks modern and functional with of course the addition of various eating places affording us as Steve said the time to people watch which is a great pastime! I am still amazed at the amount of people travelling as if you read the papers(I don't) and listen to the news(sometimes) the Railway is terrible and not to be trusted but I see it as still the best form of mass transportation there is and we invented it !

victoria Western concourse with 'Spoons top left                          pic TM

The view from said 'Spoons                             pic TM
S. It was time to tick another of Tim's boxes, Victoria Coach Station. We strolled down Buckingham Palace Rd as I wanted Tim to see the coach terminus with those famous water jets which serve no purpose whatsoever except to deter pedestrians. The departure terminal was the quietest I've ever seen it, without the usual crush, but enough to show Tim it's really not fit for purpose as a 21st century transport hub. However the highlight was certainly seeing one of National Express' new double deck Levantes. Very nice!

T. Having seen films of coach travel from the very early days and listened to lots of stories. this was the first time I had seen it up close. Felt a bit disappointed as you can't really see much like it used to be and if you like Levante's fine but it still is a busy place with the amount of in and out there is. I can't see how or where they could ever relocate it. But saying that I probably would do a trip into there just to say I had and the chance to get on the decker Levante if I could as yes it did look good!

National Express Levante decker                         pic TM
                                                                                           pic TM
S. It was time to start the journey back to Upminster, but of course we wouldn't do it direct. A trip on the 11, another Borismaster to Aldwych was required for a bit of sightseeing.

T. So a second Boris but not quite as quiet as the first. Ok the ride was as smooth but there were a few rattles a la Gemini ("ducks") plus having seen some sights I was able to get a look at a few others even with the diversions. One day I want to see the Eye but only to do the Dr Who bit lol. And the great thing about being upstairs on a bus is that you can see loads.

One of the iconic views from a bus!                                         pic TM

A colourful Boorismaster at Aldwych                          pic SW
 S. A transfer to a 15 at Aldwych to Tower Hill and we were back on DLR with an extremely friendly Train Captain, a transfer at Poplar to Bow Church, walk to Bow Rd for an entertaining District Line ride back to Upminster due to antics of fellow passengers! A superb day which I feel could be the first of many. I love sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm of London with others, and seeing Tim's "first time" reactions were just as enjoyable for me as I hope they were for him - he's already planning the next one!

T. Walking up Tower Hill did bring back a memory of a school trip a long time ago and friends not seen for a very long time. The blue Boris was cool too.

I am grateful to Steve for agreeing to do this as I reckon I would not have seen and experienced as much. Looking at the list it seems a lot but you don't notice the amount whilst you are taking in everything else. The list of firsts was great, the sights were great and yes I have planned another sort of, all written out until someone said..." did you know......" So I started again. If I had to pick a down point it would only be the blanket fog from Ipswich to casa del Steve (actually bloody scary - SW) after the obligatory kebab of course, but that really didn't phase us...much ("where's the white lines....oh we're in the country now")
So when the warmer weather resumes....Blog on Tour it is!

So to conclude this epic trilogy here is a list of each individual journey. When you look at this, £12.30 doesn't seem bad. in fact outstanding value, but if you're not an insane transport enthusiast I still think it very pricey. Remember we stopped for at least an hour at 4 locations too!

East Suffolk - Upminster   Car
Upminster - Bow Rd    District Line
Bow Rd - Canary Wharf    DLR
Canary Wharf - Lewisham  DLR
Lewisham - Charing Cross  Southeastern Class 465
Charing Cross - Hammersmith   Borismaster
Hammersmith - Hatton Cross  Piccadilly Line
Hatton Cross - Feltham  B9H
Feltham - Clapham Jct  SWR Class 458
Clapham Jct - Wimbledon  SWR Class 455
Wimbledon - East Croydon   Tram
East Croydon - Croydon High St   Tram
Croydon High St - East Croydon   Tram
East Croydon - Three Bridges   Thameslink Class 700
Three Bridges - Blackfriars    Thameslink Class 700
Blackfriars - St Pancras Int   Thameslink Class 700
St Pancras Int - Kentish Town  Thameslink Class 700
Kentish Town - Waterloo   Northern Line
Waterloo - Victoria   BYD electric bus
Victoria Coach Stn - Aldwych  Borismaster
Aldwych - Tower Hill   Borismaster
Tower Hill - Poplar   DLR
Poplar - Bow Church   DLR
Bow Rd  - Upminster  District Line
Upminster - East Suffolk  Car


  1. Kings Cross would have been a pretty good location for the Coach station but all that old surplus railway land has now been built on

    The current coach station is totally inadequate but where you can sensibly put one now I don't know

  2. It would be interesting to know how many people actually change from one coach to another at Victoria - I suspect that it's not many. If that's the case, then most folk continue their journey by tube, bus or local train - few f which are convenient at Victoria anyway. That in turn means that it doesn't much matter where the coach station is - indeed there could be several stations near the ends of motorways, well-linked to central London by other forms of transport. Hence, if land was available, you could have coach terminals at (say) Brent Cross, Hammersmith, Stratford and New Cross ...