Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas journey

Okay, so the journey I'm making today may not be a new one, but it is still venturing from home. At least now that the concept of home has swung round to being Sheffield rather than Lowestoft, today's destination.

I was at the train station pretty early, even for me. Because of the weather the buses have been a bit erratic, so I thought I'd better off trying to get out early. I was cursing having such an early train, if I'd been early for a train later in the day, I'd have simply made for the Sheffield Tap and had a half of ale.

After a fairly chilly hour on platform 5, watching the comings and goings of the station it was time for the train to arrive. In the last 5 minutes the expected time displayed on the board kept flip flopping backward and forward. In the end it was only a minute or two delayed, which is easily made up on the journey.

And what a journey. Travelling by train in the aftermath of the recent cold snap is a wonderful thing. Provided the trains are running on your chosen route of course. The landscape streaming past was beautiful and White, with bold and stark skeletal trees dotted around the fields. Slowing through stations brought massive icicles hanging down from bridges and arches into focus.

Some small flurries of snow started whilst we were waiting for signals to change and let us into Peterborough. A few miles outside Peterborough though, we got stuck behind a queue of trains backed up by a broken down train at it's head. The faces of people when we started up again lit up only to become downcast again when we slowed and stopped briefly. The conductor announced that the train ahead had been moved but that we were likely to be stopping and starting because of the queue of trains ahead. Not a problem for me really, as I have all day and this is minor compared to rail chaos I have endured in the past. Maybe a little more worrying for those having to change at Ely for Stansted and flights onward.

As it happens it seems the times of the train to Lowestoft have been altered by a few minutes, allowing me to walk straight off one train and on to the next with exactly a minute to spare. So the delays did me a favour in preventing me having to stand on a chilly Norwich station for ages. Bonus.

Unfortunately their was only a light dusting of snow between Norwich and Lowestoft, making the journey not quite as pretty as it otherwise may have been. No amount of snow could ever make the giant sugar beet processing plant at Cantley pretty, however. Or not stinky for that matter!