UK rail trip – 2022
Day 31 – 3rd May, 2022
Today I’m off to Lowestoft, the easternmost settlement in the United Kingdom. I hopped onto the London Underground and made my way to London Liverpool Street. To get to Lowestoft, I will have to catch two trains (with the change at Ipswich). I found my Greater Anglia class 745/1 waiting for me at platform 11.
It was mostly an overcast kind of day, as the train sped its way to Ipswich. The hour’s trip seemed to pass fairly quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to get off.
With a quick platform change, I was on the move again in a matter of ten minutes.
Leaving Ipwich on a Greater Anglia class 755/4 was noticeably slower being in diesel mode. Much of the track was also not up to the same standards as you’d expect on the mainline. Lots of jointed rail, giving that now less common clickety-clack sound. But this also makes it a less smooth ride. But that was ok by me. I actually liked the clickety-clack!
I walked out of the station and tried to get my bearings. What would we do without Google Maps, in this day and age? It was about a 20-minute walk to the most eastern point in the United Kingdom. Bit of a warm day, though, now that the sun had been revealed by the clouds. To get to where I needed to go, I had to pass through a rather industrial-looking area. When I reached my destination, it wasn’t what I expected it to be. Sure, there was a big circle in the concrete ground which displayed cities and the distances from Lowestoft. However, that was about it. No kiosk, no information centre. Just a sea wall.
What I did see was an old fishing smack named Excelsior. It was out on a jaunt.
After deciding I’d spent enough time at the most easterly point, I made my way back to the station. There was plenty of time until the next train, so I popped into a chippy and grabbed fish and chips for lunch. And the fish was not bad at all. Now, as you all know, I prefer taking a different route back. So, I caught the train onwards to Norwich.
Another half an hour of clickety-clack track and I was at Norwich.
Norwich is the starting point of one of the more out of place routes in the country. The Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street route, currently operated by East Midlands Railway, kind of wiggles its way through the country. For a number of years, now, it’s been proposed that it would split, which would require a change – probably at Nottingham. Now operated mostly by class 158s, in the past it was mostly class 170s. I hopped on the next service and headed for Nottingham.
In a way, I’m glad the route has reverted to class 158s. The seats are generally more comfortable than a class 170. And the interiors aren’t as bright, either. It made for a relaxing journey. I chose to sit backwards from Norwich to Ely. Because, once arriving at Ely, it would reverse to carry on to Nottingham, Manchester and Liverpool. This meant I wouldn’t have to try fighting for different seat later in the journey.
It was time to head back to London, as it was already after 19:00. I hopped on an East Midlands Railway class 222/0. It was not a very full train, so I could stretch out.
Again, no catering facilities were on this service. But being at just over an hour and a half, that didn’t really matter. I was going to grab some dinner once I got back to London. Probably at a pub. Thinking of a steak!
Arriving back in London, I caught the London Underground to Angel station and dropped into a pub. I ordered a steak, but my card was declined. This has happened a couple of times on this trip, due to my being overseas – despite notifying the bank I would be travelling around the UK. I gave them a call, confirmed recent transactions, and the sale went through. The guy on the phone said that it’s automatic and there’s nothing that could be done to stop it from possibly happening again. Strange, because I’ve never had this kind of problem with any other bank I’ve dealt with. I decided that I’d be changing banks once I got back to Australia. Having had to deal with this hassle, I decided that it called for a pint of cider.
The steak was delicious, by the way!