If you miss this one, you’re in for a long wait!

Today, I caught the first train of the day to Heysham Port. Funnily enough, I also caught the last train of the day to Heysham Port. Yes, you’ve guessed it, they are one and the same, just one train a day creeps along that line from Morecambe. Though alright, it actually creeps along that line, having come all the way from Leeds, which is why I was on it.

In recent years, West Yorkshire Metro has run a special offer each winter, for all Metro cardholders, and the Seniors card as well, the opportunity to travel between Leeds, and either Carlisle (over the famous Settle & Carlisle line), or Morecambe (over a far less famous line!). This year, the return fare is £11, an absolute bargain compared to the full fare, believe me.

So, back in November, Eric and I headed off for our trip to Carlisle and back. Eric loves train journeys, his other half doesnt, so I take him with me on these trips. Me, I dont mind train journeys, especially ones not related to work, so it is quite a pleasure. Today, we set off on the other trip, the one to Morecambe…and beyond!

After a brief tactical visit to the buffet at Lancaster to get our lunch, we scampered back to the train, thankfully about 10 yards away, just as well really, as Eric cant walk that far, and certainly not fast. We should have had 9 minutes, but ended up with about 6, and made it with about 1 to spare! So, on to Morecambe. We actually went there last year, but no further, waiting there for the train to return from Heysham, while eating our lunch. As anyone who knows Morecambe station will tell you, there isnt a lot there, or nearby! And given its January, not August, well, lets say it wasnt a great thing to contemplate repeating.

So, we stayed on board, paid £2.90 return each, and travelled on to Heysham. Its a single track line, and there really is nothing at the other end, except for the port, and the ferry. And yes, thats why there is only 1 train a day, to connect with the ferry. It pulls in at 12.50, leaves about 1.15, and if you miss it, there will be a 24 hour delay to your journey lol! Well, I guess you could get a taxi to Morecambe, or Lancaster, but you get my drift, no more trains!

Now, before you think thats a pretty poor service, hear me out. Closer to home, there is a line between Stockport and Stalybridge, that has 1 train a week…in one direction only! On a Friday morning, at 10.13 it pulls out of Stockport, calling at 3 stations en route, before arriving at Stalybridge 22 minutes later. For 2 of those intermediate stations, its the only train of the week! Basically, its cheaper to run 1 train a week like that, than go through the formality of closing the line to passengers! Even more so nowadays, as it is popular with train fans, because of the lack of services!

Funnily enough, many railway lines in the US have just 1 train a day, but then you are talking very long journeys, like Seattle to Chicago, for example. The reason for that, with all the budget airlines nowadays, its as cheap to fly between those cities in 4 hours, than do it by train in 40! Not as scenic, but in these days of getting everywhere quickly…glad I did it the slow way though, in both directions.

The video, sort of a clue in the title. This song is SO old, I had no chance of finding a live version, so here’s a few trains instead

5 responses

  1. Seattle to Chicago is actually a two-day trip by train. (Though there is still a train every day.) DC to Chicago is a one-day trip, with one train a day. (Actually, it’s basically timed to be the same line that goes to Seattle…)

    And the train is *much* more comfortable. (Plus, in some cases, it can actually be faster – If you live a few hours away from an airport, and figure in the time to go through security and the rest, a one-day trip by train can easily be as fast as the equivalent trip by plane.) It’s usually not cheaper – unless you take just a seat. (For one of those longer trips you usually want a room as well, which will cost as much as a plane ticket. Of course, you get meals, a bed, a shower, and the rest included…)

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  2. Yes, I said its one train a day in each direction lol! My estimate of time was a bit under, current timetable suggests it more like 45-46 hours in all, memory is clearly going! I did do Philly to Seattle and back, by seat, all I could afford at the time! But I did get to see a room, and they did look nice, I must admit.
    I loved it, and would repeat given the chance, but would have to try to get a room if I did!

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  3. Which type of room did you see? (They have three: A two-person, a three-four person, and a ‘family’. My guess is that you saw the three-four person: Two bunk beds on the side, plus a chair, and an in-suite bath.)

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  4. My guess in that case, would be it was a 2 person one. Mind, it was 11 years ago, so I don’t actually remember that clearly…

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  5. Two person is face-to-face seats on the side of the hallway. The two seats fold together to form one bunk, and another folds down from above. It’s what I take on family trips to Chicago, given the chance. 😉

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