I’m really hoping that this isn’t a poxy April Fool’s thing, because (as I’ve written before) it’s actually needed far more than HS2 is.

Network Rail have published a development plan which includes an East/West route connecting Bedford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Oxford.

Phase 1 will deliver the infrastructure required for Chiltern Railways services between Oxford and London via Bicester as well as the works required for the later introduction of East West Rail services west of Bicester.

Phase 2, which is at an earlier stage of development, will deliver the EWR works east of Bicester to Bletchley and Bedford, including the Aylesbury to Claydon Junction line within this five-year period ending March 2019

So – still a long way to go, but it looks like it might just be a plan.

Pedantic Thoughts

As my train arrived this morning, the platform announcement said “This is a 12-carriage train for London Euston. Please use all doors to get on this train

Being a pedantic twat, my first thought was “Really? All of them? Can’t I just use the one in front of me?

I need to get out more.


This week I’ve been working in London, near to Farringdon station.

I’ve been commuting in by train from Milton Keynes, which is fine in general, although it’s a pretty busy route.

However, today (i.e. after the main bulk of the work has been done) I’ve had a look, and it turns out I could have actually been going from a more-local station, and getting in direct to Farringdon. It’s nearly £10 cheaper too – which is a bit of a bummer, even though I get the travel costs back anyway.

The actual travel time isn’t much different, interestingly. I assume this route stops at more stations, thus negating the speed of the MK to London express route, and then use of Underground etc. However, if it’s direct it’s a lot easier.

It’s something I’ll remember for future contracts, I think.


Over the years, one thing I’ve said many times is that in some ways I’m lazy. (And it’s true – plus I’m almost certainly lazy in many, many ways)  However, in some circumstances my laziness actually results in extra effort/work.

Technically and pedantically I know it’s not laziness per se, it’s more a “can’t be arsed to wait” aspect which probably also matches up to something else I’ll be writing this week.

Anyway, as an example of this, I say I’m lazy when I can’t be bothered to wait for a bus or a tram/train (particularly when I lived in Manchester) on short journeys, so I’d rather walk. I simply don’t get why people would wait for a tram from Piccadilly station down to Piccadilly Gardens (or indeed really any tram stop in Manchester) when you can walk it in the time it takes for the bus/tram to arrive.

When I go shopping, I can’t be arsed to wait for a parking space right next to the shops. I’ll park further away in the car park, walk in, get what I need, and leave. If it’s been a quick shop, I’m sometimes in and out while the same damn car waits for a space right next to the store.

Indeed in general I can’t be arsed with hunting for parking spaces right next to where I’m going. I’m just as happy parking further away where there’s plenty of spaces and just, you know, walking a bit further.

But then, I’m lazy like that.

New Job, New Commute

Today I start my new contract, over in Cambridge.  The commute is kind of weird, I’m going in the opposite direction to last time I travelled that route.

As long-time readers of D4D know, I’m not averse to the odd idiot commute. This one is actually pretty sane in comparison, although I suspect I’ll have to spend some time finding the ideal route. There’s a couple of sections – primarily from St Neots to Caxton – that are vile, although honestly I suspect all the routes are much the same when it comes to heavy traffic.

As it is, I’ve gone from the 20 mile journey to Previous Place (well, Previous Long-Term Place) to a 40 mile journey to the new one, so my commute has doubled. Although, weirdly, it’s pretty much the exact same distance as the drive to the office of the short-term contract – just in the opposite direction.

Apparently for a lot of people a 40-mile journey to work is too much, but for me it’s nothing – it’s still less than half of what I was doing when I was living in Norfolk and Suffolk, and working in London. And it’s nowhere near my record commutes – although they were by train rather than driving – of  Bath->London (115 miles each way, each day) and Manchester->London (200 miles each way, each day)  although I will never do a journey/commute/contract like that again. It pretty much killed me when I did it fifteen years ago, I can’t see it would be any different now.

Still, in that context, a 40-mile journey is absolutely nothing. I’ll spend some time figuring out best routes, best times and the like, and settling into the new schedule. But really that’s all just part of a new contract for me.

I’ll write more about it once I’m more settled into the routine, and know more about what I’m actually doing.

Lack of Service

While out in the car today, I heard the weekend’s local travel news.

Among other things, it appears that there are no trains at all running between Milton Keynes and London all weekend, due to “Planned Maintenance”. On a Bank Holiday weekend, with things like Notting Hill Carnival, Leeds and Reading festivals, and many other things. So yeah, let’s cancel (or at least disrupt) all the public transport to get there.

Even London Underground is prone to it…

Lots of Closures

I know that the thinking on this is all that the long weekend means that work can be done without needing to think about the penalties and reimbursements that need to be made to season-ticket holders (which is why none of the planned work takes place on weekdays) but it still sucks balls for those of us who want to visit London (or even just go through it) on a weekend.


What on earth is going on with public transport in Europe this week?

In the last week we’ve had…

There’ve been other things too – the bus in Manchester ripping it’s roof off going under a bridge, for example – but it just seems like public transport is having a really bad time of it at the moment.