UK rail trip – 2022
Day 26 – 28th April, 2022
Today, I’m off to Cambridge, back on the Doctor Who trail. Cambridge was used for location filming for the unfinished Doctor Who story ‘Shada‘, written by Douglas Adams. Despite never being completed, due to a BBC TV strike, it was eventually released on to DVD (with linking narration by Tom Baker, who played the 4th Doctor). I checked out of the hostel and caught the London Underground to London King’s Cross. A Great Northern class 387 awaited me.
Cambridge was just over 45 minutes by train from London King’s Cross. As I’ve never travelled to Cambridge before, I was always under the impression it was on the East Coast Main Line. However, it branched off not too far north of Stevenage and joined the West Anglia Main Line just south of Cambridge itself.
After consulting Google Maps, trying to work out which way to go, I started walking away from the station down towards the university precinct. On the way, I stopped off at a cafe called Old Bicycle Shop and ordered a coffee. I then relaxed in one of their nice armchairs! After about half an hour, I continued walking. By chance, I came across Emmanuel College. The college was used for the external location shots for Professor Chronotis‘ (Salyavin’s) college room.
After taking several photographs, I continued walking down the street. Time for a litre of orange juice! I dropped into a nearby Tesco. I then walked on to King’s College. I couldn’t enter the college itself, as it was ‘quiet period’ due to exams. Entry wouldn’t have been possible until the end of May. So, I walked around and down to the river.
I was starting to run out of time, so decided to go back to the station. As always, I like returning via a different route. So, instead of catching a direct train back to London King’s Cross, I decided to go via Ipswich istead. This gave me the opportunity to try out one of Greater Anglia‘s new class 755s. These are a bi-modal type train, running on either 25 kV AC overhead or by diesel by means of a diesel ‘power pack’ located between the two centre coaches. This means less noise due to no underfloor diesel engines.
The class 755 was quite comfortable and quiet. Only one gripe, however. the frame the seats sit on have a diagonal strut. This very much interferes with legroom.
A quick change at Ipswich, I was on to one of Greater Anglia‘s class 745s. It’s very similar to the class 755, but it’s all-electric.
Even though I’ve never travelled to or from Ipswich before, I recognised the crossing over the River Stour, from Michael Palin’s travel documentary Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin. A book of the series can be freely read on his Palin’s Travels website.
After arriving at London Liverpool Street, it was time for me to find out where my hostel was. Tonight I would be staying at St. Christopher’s Inn, not too far from London Bridge. I walked past a pub called St. Christopher’s Inn and thought that couldn’t be it. So, I walked further down Borough High Street, until I came to St. Christopher’s Inn. After waiting in line to check in, I was asked to the counter. They couldn’t find me registered as a guest. Another look up on their computer and they found that I was staying at the pub I’d just walked past. It was also a hostel. Two hostels with almost exact names. Very confusing. So, I walked back and checked into St. Christopher’s Inn Pub. First appearances didn’t leave much to be desired. But sometimes they can be misleading. I checked in and found my room. Suffice to say, the noise down below was very, very loud and kept up until just after midnight. Note to self: Make sure I book the correct hostel next time!