UK rail trip – 2022
Day 55 – 27th May, 2022
This evening, I’ll be flying back to Sydney. But I still had the bulk of the day to wander around. I checked out of the hostel, but was able to leave my belongings in the luggage room. I’ll be back in the afternoon for them. This morning, I’m off to Perivale, where parts of the final serial of classic Doctor Who, Survival, was set and filmed. I wanted to see whether, according to Ace, it really was the “Boredom capital of the universe”. I walked to Aldgate East station and caught a Hammersmith & City line train to Liverpool Street, then a Central Line train to Perivale.
I exited the station and started walking along Horsenden Lane, towards Horsenden Hill. First impressions, not a very exciting place. Maybe Ace was correct! I crossed over the Grand Union Canal and up the steep hill via the shared pedestrian/cycle path. At times, it was much steeper than the road. Glad I didn’t have my suitcase in tow! After reaching the top of the hill, I crossed over to Horsenden Hill. Apart from playing fields, there’s not much to see. I decided to walk along the perimeter path of the parkland. I came across a footbridge which crossed the Grand Union Canal.
I continued along the path until it finished not too far from Greenfield London Underground station. I caught a Central Line train to South Ruislip, so I could pick up the Chiltern Mainline to London Marylebone.
After arriving at London Marylebone, I decided it was time to get some lunch. I dropped into the Sports Bar & Grill, which was just off the main entrance to the station. I treated myself to a steak and a pint of cider. At every table, there is a TV set showing sports of some kind. Mine had a live game of AFL on it. After lunch, I made my way back to The Queen’s Walk at Tower Bridge. What better way to spend my last few hours in London than sitting by the river?
After spending a few hours bey the river, it was time to go. I walked back to the hostel, picked up my luggage, and made my way to Aldgate East station and caught a train to Whitechapel. From there, I walked through to the Elizabeth Line platforms.
I exited the Elizabeth Line platforms and made my way to the mainline station. Since I’m too stingy to catch the expensive Heathrow Express, I opted for the more reasonably priced Elizabeth Line service. As it was rush hour, it was fairly full. Thankfully, there was still enough room for me and my suitcase.
The Heathrow services that operate via the Elizabeth Line are stopping services. They call at all stations through to Hayes & Harlington, where it branches off the mainline to London Heathrow. As this would be my last train in the UK for quite some time, I just sat and looked out the window – again casting my mind back to the last 8 weeks. What a great time it’s been! Even though I had originally planned to cycle through the UK, I had a wonderful time nonetheless. Just after the train left the Great Western mainline, it descended into a tunnel that would take it under London Heathrow. My British railway journey had come to an end.
My flight wouldn’t be leaving until around 21:00, but I chose to get to the airport early just in case there were very long queues. In the end, they weren’t too bad. A quick check in and also a quick pass through security. There were still a couple of hours until boarding. So I wandered around the terminal watching airport traffic outside the window. Since I didn’t want to wait another few hours for the evening meal on the flight, I went to one of the eating establishments. Unfortunately, there weren’t all that many open. Still, I had a burger and a pint of cider (what else?). After eating and drinking, I went back to the gate lounge. I could see my aeroplane outside the window.
After what seemed like a while, it was finally time for boarding. It was quite a full flight, so boarding took a while. There was a further delay, also. Something about operational reasons. As usual, I found my way to my preferred seating which is by the window. Windows may have their disadvantages, where you may have to climb over people to get to the lavatory, but at least you don’t have to have people climbing over you for the same reason. 🙂 Also, I just like looking out the window. it was time for depature.
It was going to be a long flight. It’s actually two segments – LHR-DRW then DRW-SYD. Not long after takeoff, the trolley soon started being wheeled down the aisle. I asked for the chicken dish (as you can’t usually go wrong with that) and a small bottle of red. Not long after eating, I dropped off for the night. Several hours later, I woke up. It should have almost been light outside by now, but it was still pretty dark. Then I realised that the windows were tinted down. Normally, on these 787s, the tint can be controlled by a button below the window. For some reason, it was restricted this time. However, I could make out some features. Particularly flying over Mout Everest – the first time I’ve ever seen it! One day, I’d love to see it from the ground. I listened to some music, as there was no wi-fi Internet access on this flight. I don’t think many airlines offer it on international flights.
Eventually, the plane landed in Darwin. This was a refuelling stop and to let some passengers get off. Unfortunately, as the plane was to be cleaned, we all had to get off and wait in the lounge. Once again, the lounge was quite overcrowded, as another international flight came in shortly after. At least there were a few more gate staff on duty this time, compared to last. I wandered over to a shop and bought a bag of crisps and a bottle of Coke. After an hour, it was time to board again.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, my flight left Darwin enroute to Sydney. It was going to be a short segment compared to the one from London to Darwin. I settled back and slept the remaining hours. I woke an hour before landing. As this was the end of May, it would be a few hours before daylight. Normally, flights don’t land at Sydney Airport until after 06:00, due to the curfew. However, there is an hour’s leeway if it’s due to daylight saving changes for international flights. Just before 05:00, my plane touched down. I had mixed feelings being back, as I’ll miss hopping on trains on a whim and watching narrowboats on a canal. But I still had another two weeks off work, so it’s not too bad. Enough time to settle back in. After passing through immigration, collecting my luggage, then passing through customs, I made my way to the station and boarded a train to Central.
And here ends my trip. To those who have been reading along, I hope you’ve found it interesting!