My train from Norwich to Hull involved four train journeys, (i) Norwich to Ely with Greater Anglia, (ii) Ely to Peterborough with EMR, (iii) Peterborough to Doncaster with LNER and (iv) Doncaster to Hull with Northern. This trip cost just £12 and was a bit precarious, as if I missed any connection then I would have missed the last train operating into Hull. Anyway, all was well and I ended up in Hull on time and without any delays.
The first journey was with Greater Anglia and the conductor was exceptional, and I partly know this as he sat down opposite me to read the Metro newspaper and he was conversational and humorous. His train announcements also amused me, I’ve never heard Ely described as something like the “effervescent and glowing beauty of Ely, which also has a big church”. Marvellous. The train was also the new Stadler service, which is growing on me after my initial scepticism (my favourite eight-year old boy has sold it to me).
Not much to report on the second journey, which was just the short hop from Ely to Peterborough with the new EMR set-up. It’s an older train which doesn’t have the facilities of the Stadler, but everything ran to time although I didn’t see a conductor on the journey. I did see the Flying Dustman though…..
The only train that I had which was timed was the Peterborough to Doncaster one, so I got on a train from Norwich which got into Peterborough giving me around an hour’s connection. This gave me chance to go to the nearby Wetherspoons and get a chicken wrap, as well as to moan about their quiz. And then complain about the LNER seating at Peterborough railway station…..
LNER’s Azuma train pulls into Peterborough railway station. This is a beautiful and sleek train and it was easy to identify which seats on board were reserved. They have a red light by each seat for reserved, a green light for free to use and an orange light for currently clear to use, but is reserved later on. I’m surprised it has taken rail companies so long to come up with such an easy system, but it’s very logical. No staff checked tickets and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit of fare evasion going on along this route.
Doncaster railway station, a solid traditional building which I got to see for around 15 minutes.
LNER and Doncaster railway station are clearly, and rightly, proud of their Azuma trains.
I didn’t get a service operated by Hull trains, but this is an innovative open access operator which is now owned by First Group. They operate on the Hull to London route and I like the idea of this set-up, something similar is happening in Germany and hopefully it’ll expand throughout the European Union.
And safely into Hull railway station on the train which is on the right hand-side of the above photo. My ticket was checked by a friendly conductor and once again, for the fourth time out of four, I got a table seat so that I could type away on my laptop without having it perched on some dodgy tray table.
For the money, this was an amazing value fare given that I used four different rail services from four companies. Two of the trains were state of the art and the other two were perfectly adequate. It’s easy to be excited about railway services in other parts of Europe, and indeed around the world, but the UK network is still one of the best in the world that I’ve ever experienced for trips such as this.