Category Archives: Trans Pennine Express

If you want to know how girls talk?

Yes, I know, shock horror, this old lady is contemplating doing something disgustingly modern, and getting herself a mobile phone! No, dont panic, its not going to be one of those ghastly smart phone things that does everything but launch nuclear missiles, its going to be the most simple thing I can find, but even so, me, and a mobile phone, gasp!

Equally, no, its not something I’m looking forward to doing with joy, only with pure practicality, believe me. But given I will, in 3 weeks time (starting 31st), be starting to work hours where 4 days a week, I will finish at 8.00, or just before, so in a security sense, I think a phone is a wise move. I know, I worked in Leeds until 10.00, and never bothered with one, but that was in the city centre, and well, this place is a little way outside of there. Its still a main(ish) road, and well lit, but there arent going to be a lot of people about at that time of night, so… Funnily enough, I know what that area was like 40, or 50 years ago, and believe me, you wouldnt have got me going anywhere near it then. But yes, its changed for the better, a lot!

Also, as I’ve discovered, though First buses are more reliable than Trans Pennine Express, thats not hard, and they arent perfect, so, being able to let work, or home know, if I have issues…

To be truthful, I have seen one in an Asda across the road from work, that costs £5, makes calls, presumably sends text messages, and beyond that, I really dont care! But yes, I will be putting the minimum amount on it, as rarely as I can get away with it, and…I certainly wont tell anyone that doesnt need to know, what the number is! I know, but I dont want my life controlled by my phone. Might enjoy being controlled, but not in that way lol!

Believe me, I certainly wont be glued to it, as the vast majority of people seem to be nowadays! Equally, believe me, if it wasnt for security, and safety, I wouldnt be getting one anyway!

Right, video time. Double treat tonight. Firstly, the original video, featuring the brilliant group, Rockpile, though for complex contract reasons, it was released as by Dave Edmunds. If you want the details, type the group name into Wikipedia lol!

But OK, to prove he can still do it (or could 8 years ago at least), here’s Dave sounding great live!

Advertisements

Stepping Off The Train Again

OK, lets try looking ahead, instead of backwards for once. Next week, for the first time in about 15 months (apart from a fortnight I’d rather forget), I will get back to the delights of commuting to work again. Yes, the word, delight, is being facetious, believe me. Its been clear to see that the ‘new’ Trans Pennine Express is no more efficient than the old one was, but hey, at least I know what I’m in for.

The main thing I know I’m going to miss, and in truth, the only thing I will probably miss, is my extended internet time, which I’m certainly not going to get, after next week, at least 5 days a week. I’m guessing I’m going to have to cut back on some things, possibly even cut out others, but I will see how it goes, before I make too many cuts. However, it has to be said, the amount I do now, will not be possible in the much reduced hours I will have, as from this time next week.

Equally, I must admit, having more money again will be nice, though I’ve got so used to not spending any, its going to be weird being able to do so again. But fine, thats at least a month away, possibly 2, before finances reach any sort of level where that will be possible. But it will come, I’m sure. The main blessing will be having the funds to get another chest of drawers, and maybe another small portable wardrobe, and sort my clothing out a bit more than at present.

I’m told the dress wear will be smart casual, so I have no problems on that front, and in truth, many of my tops, and blouses havent seen much action (other than those worn in LA, last year) since I left work, so all should be fine. First day, I need to wear the dress, but pretty sure that will be that, for posh clothing! No, pretty certain I will not be wearing high heels, before you ask!

It would be nice if I could do something fun this week, before I get back to the grind, but in truth, I cant afford it! I will get out tomorrow, to get my hair colored, but thats the biggest, and only excitement at present! With luck, the hair dryer will turn into a brainwashing unit, but…no, fine, I couldnt be that lucky! If anyone wants to treat me (ha ha), then feel free to offer, it would probably do me good!

But yes, this time next week, I should be on my way home, after my first day back at work! Yes, after 15 months, actually getting to say that, quite precious. Funny thing, it will be my first job where everyone has only known me as a woman, wow! Something to think about, for sure.

OK, the video. Well, yes, there is a clue in the title, though its a line from the song, not the name. Given that I used the original before (nearly 5 years ago, mind), I’ve found a rare bird, a live version.

Hey, who knows? At some point I might even get to meet the legendary station cat at Huddersfield, Felix!

What kind of fool?

Yes, I planned to write this blog last night, but simply ran out of time. As most will have noticed, yesterday was April Fools Day, which brings out all the pranksters, with stories that on any other day, you might think could be true, but on that one day of the year, no chance!

The first one I saw yesterday morning, actually featured a famous local celebrity, and a surprise transfer out of town. Even in these days of social media (and yes, she’s on Facebook), I’m not sure how many know about the famous Huddersfield Station cat, Felix. And yes, despite the name, Felix is a she! I’m yet to see her at the station, because I hardly use it nowadays, and on the rare occasion I have been, nowhere to be seen, probably sleeping!

But the big story, she’d been poached by a larger station in the area, Leeds, and was going to move there. It seemed from comments on her Facebook page, that some people hadnt spotted the date before commenting! Anyway, many of us did realise, and commented accordingly. In the end, a hasty denial that Felix was truly going nowhere, beyond Platform 8, was posted up on her page!

The other related story, that wasnt actually an April Fool, was the transfer of the Rail Franchises around here. Well, on paper, its transfers, in practice, its more of the same. The people who were running Trans Pennine Express, and Northern Rail changed their image, made lots of wild promises about improving journeys, both on punctuality, and quality of train services were provided, but I wont be holding my breath. We were promised a much better service by TPE a few years back, and nothing really happened! Maybe it will this time, but…I suspect it will turn into another April Fool, given the date it happened!

Oh, me, post up an April Fool, of course I wouldnt! Well, maybe…Yes, fine, I did. I claimed I would no longer need to use public transport, because I’d laid my hands on one of these.

CJ and Todd

Nice, isnt it? Yes, I wish, could certainly get to LA a lot quicker in one of those, for sure. And probably fly at a higher altitude than 38,000 feet too! Faster than 500 mph, or so, as well, I should think. But yes, sadly, I only own it in my dreams, ah well…

The video. Well you’d have to be a fool to believe some of the things posted yesterday, so I selected this

I’m beginning to remember how bad my local train company is

During the 8 months or so of job hunting, I’ve had a couple of “fun” moments with Trans Pennine Express, but thankfully not very often, and nothing catastrophic. Of course, for part of that time, (nearly a quarter) I havent concerned myself with their incompetences, because I havent been in the country. But then, this weekend, when attempting to get between here, and Leeds, I’ve been reminded how awful they really are.

It might be harsh blaming them for a couple of events this week, but in the end with a bit of diligence, and an effort to make things easier for passengers, they could have done more. But TPE, and doing things efficiently arent terms that go together.

Earlier this week (Thursday), I struck lucky. I managed to get the last train they managed to run through from Manchester for several hours, due to problems with a rail. Yes, it was a few minutes late, but all was fine, I had allowed enough time, got there fine. And the tailback hadnt occurred going the other way when I was coming back (agency registration), so I got back before their whole system collapsed. And it did!

Yesterday morning, I planned to get the 8.21 train to Leeds, for the start of the training session. I actually got the 8.13, which finally turned up at 8.27! So despite getting an earlier train than planned, I was running pretty close to being late! In fact, strictly, I was, because no one had told us how to get into the building, so it was only when someone else came along, that 3 of us got in.

We finished the course for the day about 4.00, and I headed back for the station. Remarkably, the 4.20 arrived more or less on time, and did leave on time. It then crawled slowly to Huddersfield (no other train in way, previous one was over 10 minutes before), arriving about 6 minutes late.

Then, today! I got to the station just before 9.00, the 9.18 train (first of day) was showing on time. Remarkable for a Sunday, and yes, you’re right, they didnt live up to claim. It got later, and later, finally turning up at 9.25. Got on, got a seat, only to hear that we were going to be slightly delayed by a signalling problem. Fine, I had about 10 minutes margin, so with luck…

It never left Huddersfield, well, not in the direction of Leeds, anyway. At 10.00, it was announced that the train had been cancelled, and they would be attempting to arrange some coaches, to get people to Leeds. Thing is, there were about 250-300 people on that train, another one had pulled in with similar numbers, and coaches can hold 40-50 people. Not good maths, and besides, its 50 minutes to Leeds by coach when it does arrive, not the 20 by train. So I gave up, and came home. When I got here, I found out they “hoped” to have replacement coaches running by about 11.30. When they did start running, no idea, as they never made the live running list.

I rang the company when I got home, and explained the situation. Whether they believed me or not, no idea! Got to go in, in the morning, so we will see. I dont know how much, or what training was done today that I’d have to catch up on, but we will see. So I might yet get to be a clinical research guinea pig after all! Fine, I’d prefer that, assuming I’m selected, but, its not the point!

And yes, as I say, indirectly, today’s problems dont really lay at the hands of TPE. As it was the first train of the morning on the line, it may be that it was only when they tried to set them, to let us go, that they found out. But at the same time, they have a reputation for being one of the worst companies for over crowding, for delayed trains, and pricey fares! So all in all…Yes, I’d discreetly forgotten how awful they are, until the last few days.

Hopefully, in the morning, the 7.55 train will have 6 coaches, will run on time, and my evening journey will be smooth too. Oh, and pigs fly!

The video, what I did this morning, about the most incompetent train company I’ve had the misfortune to know.

Waiting for the train that never comes!

Honestly, if I never travel with Trans Pennine Express again, after 3 weeks time, it will still be too soon. Though to be fair to them, it would be right to say that today they were only 50% to blame, the other half falling firmly on the shoulders of National Rail.

But, if TPE had been honest on the situation a little earlier, instead of 30 minutes after the train was due, I might have been able to rescue matters. Of course, if I had, you wouldnt be getting this bonus blog rant, so…

So, the story of my morning was as follows…

I left here at 8.30 this morning, to walk across (just under 10 minutes) to where I have to get the bus, when I make an early start on a Sunday morning, as the first bus from the estate is 9.08. As it happens, I could have got the 9.38, but more on that shortly.

The train was due at 9.18. At 9.12, it was showing as on time, quite a rare sight with TPE. But then, it started showing as later, and later, until…at 9.42 an announcement was made. Seemingly, there was a ‘slight’ over run on the engineering works between Manchester and Huddersfield, and to quote the announcer, they had no idea when a train might turn up, but they would let us know later, if, and when one would.

So, I did a rapid dash to a nearby Hills shop, rang work to let them know I wasnt going to be in by 10.00, funnily enough. I went back to the station, nothing had changed. So I gave up the fight, got a bus home, and gave up on the day, and a days wages. I might, even then have got to work very late, with a lift, but blamelessly (not knowing what a joke TPE was today) Nicole had made other plans, so that was that!

I know, I cant blame TPE for over running engineering works, and I dont. But what I can blame them for, is the lack of useful information. All they were doing on the departure board, was every minute, adding another minute to the expected arrival time. In the end, seemingly, the train arrived 61 minutes late! I expect it was ‘slightly crowded’ by then, rolls eyes!

So, TPE, please, just let us passengers, who you rip off so regularly know whats really happening with their trains.

No, given their utter incompetence, its not going to happen!

Yes, the video is dedicated to what I was doing today, waiting for the train that never came!

Merry Christmas Everybody

Yes, right song, but not the artist you’re probably expecting! 😛

So fine, what can I say about the 2 days of Christmas so far? Yesterday was a fine example of Trans Pennine Express at their worst, though with a surprising twist to events. To be fair, before I left home, I knew the 7.17 train was cancelled, just because they felt like it, season of no goodwill with them, and all that. But, if the bus had turned up on time here (it is a First bus, mind), I might have got the 6.56 train, and all would have been fine. No, it turned up 5 minutes late, and the rest was history. I actually got to work with about a minute to spare to log in, but certainly wasnt ready for calls at 8.00.

The day was fine, the odd busy patch, but then, towards the end, when there really wasnt anything to bet on, things did calm down slightly. Then, getting home for Christmas. Unlike Chris Rea, I wasnt driving, but relying on TPE to get me home. Shock horror, the trains were running late. But, in a body blow for TPE, the late running train (only 10 minutes late at Huddersfield) was just about in time for me to run, and catch the bus before the one I was expecting to get. So I got home early with them, there’s an irony!

And so to today. When everyone finally got here, (part of Nicole’s family, staying at a hotel in town), it was time to open presents. A eide collection of items, including curling tongs (to do those Harlow curls), slippers (needed, my current pair are more than on their last legs), and numerous other things too, including a lovely brooch.

Oh, a picture of me on the day, oh fine, there is one.

me, at Christmas

Definitely a fine cleavage there lol!

You can guess the rest, a very good Christmas dinner, a quiet (of sorts) period since then recovering from over eating. And then…back to work tomorrow! Taxi to and from work, so was considering being saucy, and wearing a dress, but given the possible weather forecast, maybe not, gone for a warmer option! Besides which, might be a bit contro when I go out to get lunch in Sainsbury’s! Mind, there might be a bit of turkey around here, for a sandwich tomorrow, so…lol.

The video, yes, its the Slade song, so famous at this time of year, but not the Slade version. In fact, this guy was around, and having hits at the time it first came out, and comes from Yorkshire. I suppose you could say this is the moment when glam rock met big band, and this was the result

Hope you’ve all had a good day too.

Railways and holidays

Here in the UK, in theory we get a new railway timetable every 6 months or so. Thing is, I’ve lived in Huddersfield since 2005, and as far as Trans Pennine Express is concerned at least, I dont think the times of the trains have changed in all that time…until now! Indeed the only change I remember between Huddersfield and Leeds, was when the 2nd stopping train an hour was switched away from us, to provide Brighouse with a better service.

But this Sunday, everything changes in a big way. From now on, we get an extra train per hour during the day en route, and more carriages too, not before time! Though the cynic in me does wonder if that just means one extra set of train delays per hour, or cancellations through them not having enough staff for the new service! But lets give them a chance…

The only irony with all this, because the stopping trains have also had to be tweaked, it means that when I finish at 8.00 or later (up to 9.15, due to getting a taxi on a 10.00 finish), I will lose out! My last race for the 8.13, or 9.13 stopper is done! That will now leave at 26 minutes past the hour, and assuming the .41 TPE train is on time, will be passed by it. Please note, I did say assuming! So now, not only will the .50 bus be impossible to get (always a piece of challenging fun), getting the o’clock one will be very tight, unless the train is bang on time. Yes, stop laughing back there, I know!

But during the day, it should, should be better, lets wait and see.

So today, I made my last journey on the old timetable, and yes, you guessed it, we were late! 6 minutes late leaving Huddersfield, increased to 15 by the time we reached Manchester Piccadilly. A hasty turn around, and with their lenient scheduling, we were about 10 late by the time we reached the Airport station.

Yes, Manchester Airport, as tomorrow I fly back to Jersey, after over 30 years. Yes, its fair to say it will have changed, and fine, I barely remember what it looked like anyway! So…but given people I knew back then, its still going to be sort of funny going back, especially as the hotel I stayed at is no longer there.

But yes, for the next week or so, you can get blogs from Jersey, if you’re good. What its like now, my reaction to returning, and other things too, I’m sure. So watch this space.

The video, perhaps the most famous song inspired by waiting at a rail station, something I was doing earlier today

City to City

As some on here at least know, my regular commute is from my current home town, Huddersfield, to the place I work, Leeds. Today, I was fortunate enough to be finishing early, because of a sporting event tonight. Rugby league, the proper rugby, as we Yorkshire folk would call it, has a super league match between those 2 cities, and I should imagine the early evening trains, as well as being full of commuters, were full of rugby fans too.

No, I dont have any real problems with either (well, if commuters dont allow me to get a seat lol, but otherwise…) but the trains are overcrowded enough, thanks to Trans Pennine Express’s incompetence, without even more people trying to force their way on to the trains.

City to city, in this case, should take just under 20 minutes. I say, should, because we’re talking TPE here, and their timekeeping is about as good as their provision of carriages for passengers! To be honest, apart from the trains betweem them, the 2 stations have little in common. Huddersfield’s station is still pretty much the original look, which makes it well over 150 years old. The internal offices are a bit more modern, but the building has a generally old fashioned look. Oh, and despite have platforms numbered up to 8, there are only 6, no platform 3, or 7. I presume both disappeared with the mass line closures of the 60’s, but dont quote me on that!

Leeds station, is very modern, less than 20 years old, and it shows! It does its job, but in terms of atmosphere, there’s only one winner! At least Leeds actually has platforms all the way from 1 to 17 lol!

Shopping wise, Leeds has never grown on me, over all the years of my life, not just since I moved back up here. Probably just a personal thing, I guess? Huddersfield is nicer, but as regular readers know, Wakefield is my favourite around here.

Yes, as some might point out, both places are also in the same division in football, but as I dont care for that sport, lets leave it there! 😛

No prizes for which team I want to win tonight, though neither are of course the team I support, thats Keighley! But, one is my home town, so…

2 videos for the price of one tonight, so take your pick. The first is the genius who wrote this song, and sang it originally, but is clearly mimed

This is the Proclaimers live, from the Gerry Rafferty tribute concert

Yes, Huddersfield to Leeds, isnt 400 miles, more like 15, but who’s counting?

Everything changes…maybe not?

So alright, what changed after my week away, err, lets see, nothing really!

Yes, I still wore trousers to work, though I’m sure nobody would object if I wore a skirt, but…yes, I’m a wimp that way. Though it must be said, if I get much joint trouble, the temptation to switch to skirts might just become too tempting! I might just do so anyway at some point, just to see if there is any reaction 😀

It has been done once before , but that was Boxing Day, so only literally had to cross the road wearing it. Whereas going all the way to and from work in one might be seen as more of a challenge. Have got a couple of dresses that could be described as day dresses, but dont think I’ll go quite that far yet. Skirt wearing though, hmm… 😉 watch this space!

Work hadnt changed, was as crazy, and understaffed as ever. Seriously, and they wonder why people keep leaving, but…rolls eyes!

Train service hadnt changed either, still as lousy as before. Train was 5 minutes late in the morning, both arrival at Huddersfield, and at Leeds. Coming home, the train left Leeds on time, but clearly the driver was shaken by this fact, and we were 6 minutes late by Dewsbury, which is only 10 minutes or so down the line. He even managed to turn that into 8 by Huddersfield, only a further 8 minutes on from there. Seriously, they should change their name to Trans Pennine Woefully Slow, at least then they couldnt be done under the Trade description act!

So all in all, the only thing that really changed, was the colour of my skin, yes, I’ve got a bit of a tan, after a week in the sun! Oh, and it was about 20 degrees cooler yesterday than Richmond last week, ouch!

Oh, and something else thats changed, Robbie Williams looks a lot older than this now lol!

The annual joke

Yes, a subject tonight that very much relates to me, without being a transgender issue, the announcement of the increase in train fares as from January next year. Seriously, I wouldnt mind the rise being slightly above inflation if it meant we were going to get a more punctual, and reliable service, more coaches on the trains (so its less like playing sardines in a can), or anything like that, but it wont. We keep getting told that the above inflation rise over the last 6 years (and for the next 2 at least) is meant to do that, but so far there is absolutely no evidence of it happening, at least with First Transpennine Express, thats for sure.

I’m not saying Northern Rail are perfect (they arent, btw), but they are a lot more reliable than TPE, but thats hardly the greatest challenge under the sun. But given they play second fiddle for me, or should do at least, I’m happy with what I get. To be honest, most of their delays on the Huddersfield line are related to late running TPE trains anyway!

Having said that, TPE dont seem to have the worst record running through Leeds, though thats hard to believe. That unenviable record goes to a company called Cross Country, who barely seem to run any trains on time, to be honest. But still, despite their awfulness, their fares will go up by an average of 4.1% next January, whereas if I’m lucky, I might get a 2% rise!

I’d love to say the government are to blame, and to some degree they are, as Labour politicians are happy to tell us. What they conveniently forget is that this whole above inflation rise issue was bought in by them, and it was they who got us into our current financial mess in the first place. Ah well…

In more cheerful news, I just got my first royalty statement as an author, from Draft2Digital, seems I earned a whole $23.69 from Amazon in July, which I will try not to spend all at once, especially as I wont get paid until October. Sales from August so far have been dreadful, so looks unlikely that I will be giving up the day job at least. Does mean I dont have to find time to write something new though, so may be mixed blessings?

Beyond that, I now have a full set of silver nails (fingers and toes) again after today, and my hair is more of a length that Brooksie would approve of again. Next week will see a much needed massage, my knees are starting to object loudly to all the walking I do, even if the back seems relatively calm at present. Still, 39 days from now, I will be a Virginia Belle, in location at least, if nothing else!

Lastly, can someone explain shoe sizes to me? I have a pair of 9 pumps, that are a tight fit, equally I have a pair of low/medium heels, that are a 7.5, and are a bit loose! Aargh!

Right, video. Back to the original rant. I went looking for Metroland, by OMD, and found this, even more apt. We are the robots…bleep…bleep…bleep