Sunday, November 7, 2021

UK - part 2

I'm on my second UK trip this year - not my favorite destination for several reasons, but now I'm combining business with pleasure.
This time I'm entering Britain by train, by taking the Eurostar from Lille. British border control is done before boarding the train
Actually, I could take the train from other places, but as I'm going with Interrail the only seat reservation left was from Lille. Yes, the number of Interrail seats is very much limited when traveling with Interrail. This is very inconvenient, as there are no alternatives and the whole idea of Interrail is based on spontaneous trips.
Britain is just around the corner, or actually around the English channel
Lille Europe station
Velaro e320 train is arriving
Breakfast is served in Standard Premier class
It's very strange to say that Interrail seats are sold out when there are plenty of seats here
Hello London

COP26 is taking place in Glasgow this year. Unfortunately, that's the place where I have to go too
After taking my 2nd day Covid test at the station, I'm ready to go
No time for delay? There were huge delays today at Euston station, unfortunately, my train to Glasgow was canceled like many others from this station
But I have Interrail, so I'm heading to King's Kross station, to find a train to Edinburgh
I found a seat
Unfortunately, this train was also delayed, as there was a recent storm. It seems that the overhead wires are not well adapted to heavy wind and falling objects.

To make a long story short, a trip that would have to take 5 hours, took almost 12 hours for me today

I will be spending some days here in Scotland, and I will be taking more trains, including the Caledonian Sleeper 
The calm after the storm, in all senses

Actually, I had a plan at the beginning of 2020 to make a trip with 3-night trains from Sicily to Scotland. Everything was booked and paid and then came Corona. The trip to Sicily was done later in the summer 2020, but the trip to Scotland was postponed to an indefinite time. Now I'm here.

My plan was to see both the southern Mediterranean sea and the north Atlantic in 3 nights trip by train. Here is the North channel, the strait between north-eastern Northern Ireland and south-western Scotland.

Time to travel by train again, here Irvine station
ScotRail is the company operating most of trains in Scotland. Abellio is the company that was awarded the franchise since 2015. Abellio is part of the Dutch NS.

British Rail Class 380 Desiro
Arriving at Glasgow Central
Caledonian Sleeper - tonight I will be taking it to London
TransPennine Express train to Manchester, CAF Civity 397 Nova 2

As I'm continuing further west, I have to change to another train station here in Glasgow

Electric bus to COP26

Environmental activists en Marche

Statue of the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone in front of the museum of Modern art

Nice livery, but maybe not so nice for passengers trying to view the scenery
Glasgow Queen Street station
Everybody is on the way to Glasgow, but I'm leaving
ScotRail Express train Glasgow-Edinburgh
First Class is available
At Edinburgh station, I can spot LNER train 

I have some time before taking the next train 

Edinburgh trams re-opened in 2014
CAF Urbos 3

National instrument of Scotland - bagpipes
Princess street gardens

Edinburgh castle


Taking the train over the Forth bridge

Dundee-Aberdeen line offers some scenic views

British Rail Class 170, ADtranz/Bombardier Turbostar

Stonehaven station

British Rail Class 158 Express Sprinter

Montrose station

My next train
From October 2018, Abellio ScotRail introduced former Great Western Railway HSTs on services between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness, branded as "Inter7City" in reference to Scotland's seven main cities. (Wikipedia)

This train is much more comfortable than Class 158 (both are used for Inter7city services)

These locomotives were manufactured by British Rail Engineering Limited in 1976
 British Rail Mark 3 passenger carriage
I'm at the station of Perth where I will change trains once again

Perth is junction station connecting the railways to Dundee and to Inverness/Edinburgh (Highland main line)

Visiting the town of Perth

Inter7City to Inverness

Caledonian sleeper office in Inverness

Fish and chips
LNER (to the left) and Caledonian Sleeper
British Rail Mark 5 coaches were introduced in 2019, so they are still "brand new"
Class 66 locomotive

Mark 5 were built by Spanish manufacturer CAF for operation with Caledonian Sleeper.

The train looks very fresh, this must be the newest night train type in Europe at the moment

I have my own private compartment
I have my own private compartment, there are two beds here

Just like in the Nightjet, there is a choice for breakfast

There is a private WC and shower
The restaurant car

Breakfast in the morning

Arriving at Euston station

Class 92

New ABBA album is here
I'm on my way to Plymouth, so I'm taking the underground to Paddington station

I've already tested LNER and Avanti, now it's time for Great Western
Complimentary drink and snack in 1st class

GWR train at Exeter

I'm visiting Dewlish station, which is located just the English channel

The railway here is located just next to the coast

On the way to Plymouth more complimentary snacks
On the way back to London, I've got a sandwich and a Prosecco

Tea of course
Back in London
One week later I'm in Euston station again, this time much less crowded. In the lounge I've a coffee and a biscuit
I'm on my way to Birmingham
Breakfast in Avanti train
Avanti West Coast is owned by FirstGroup (70%) and Trenitalia (30%)

I'm also visiting some stations nearby Birmingham, here is Nuneaton station

Atherstone station

Anti-trespass panel

Avanti Pride version

Annatomix at Tamworth station
My hotel in Birmingham offers a real British experience

Birmingham Christmas market

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