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The 21st century is when everything changes.

UK rail trip – 2022

Day 6 – 8th April, 2022

The Caledonian Sleeper arrived at London Euston just before 08:00. 11 hours by train from Inverness. There was a different locomotive on the front, compared to the two that pulled the train out of Inverness. This change takes place at Edinburgh.

Class 92, number 92020 (Billy Stirling), at London Euston.

I hadn’t yet decided what I’d do today, or where I’d be staying tonight. So, after wandering around to get something to eat, I decided to board a train to Manchester – a city I lived for four years, from the beginning of 2003 until the beginning of 2007. Once I got there, I figured that I would have decided what to do.

London Euston (08:56)
Avanti West Coast
2:11 (26:42)
Manchester Piccadilly (11:07)
295.4 km (2441.1 km)
On board for Manchester Piccadilly!

It was nice to be back on board a class 390. These trains were first introduced back in 2003, to replace locomotive hauled Mk. 3 coaching stock introduced almost 30 years earlier. They were probably some of the most comfortable trains to ride in. The class 390s, though, were definitely a leap forward in comfort and speed. Equipped with tilting mechanisms, they were much more comfortable passing through curves.

Speeding towards Manchester Piccadilly.
Crossing the Stockport Viaduct.

Two hours later, I was crossing the Stockport Viaduct. It felt like I was coming home. When I left Manchester at the beginning of 2007, I guess I left a part of me behind. It felt good to be back. Shortly after, I arrived at Manchester Piccadilly.

After hopping off the train, I walked out through the barriers to the station concourse. I looked at the departure screens. A train to Cardiff caught my eye. I decided that I’d catch it – it was leaving in about 20 minutes! I’d actually seen it in the platform adjacent to the one I came in on. A class 175, operated by Transport for Wales.

Manchester Piccadilly (11:31)
Transport for Wales
3:11 (29:53)
Cardiff Central (14:42)
273.1 km (2714.2 km)

My train took just over three hours to get to Cardiff. I’ve never been there, before, so this is the first time I’ve travelled along this line. Cardiff was another place I’d been wanting to visit for quite some time. It was, after all, the location of the fictional Torchwood Hub. It also served as location filming for the revived Doctor Who, from 2005 up until a few years ago (when Sheffield started to be used for location filming).

Cardiff Central.

The first thing I had to do was to find the hostel I was staying at: BunkHouse. This is not connected to the Islander Bunkhouse in Kyle of Lochalsh. It’s located above a restaurant in St. Mary Street. Upon checking in, I received a wristband. This was to operate the door lock to my room as well as the street door. Pretty cool! I wish more hostels did this. Much more convenient than a magnetic card.

St. Mary Street, Cardiff City Centre.

After checking in, I walked down to Cardiff Bay – a fairly decent walk of about 25 minutes.

Roald Dahl Plass, on a gloomy afternoon. Underneath the water tower to the left is where the Torchwood hub is supposed to be!
Ianto’s Shrine.
An hour later, much better weather!
Roald Dahl Plass.

After a bite to eat at a local restaurant, I made my way back to the BunkHouse and decided to call it a night. Tomorrow morning, it’s off to Devil’s End!

Torchwood Series 1 opening narration: Torchwood: outside the government, beyond the police. Tracking down alien life on Earth, arming the human race against the future. The twenty-first century is when everything changes. And you’ve got to be ready.


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