Blog Post · Rail Journeys - Southampton Airport (Parkway) to Guildford and back
Posted On Sunday 8 December 2013 by Murray Colpman (Muzer)
Yesterday was the first ever Student Robotics Guildford tech day, and a few of us from Southampton wanted to help out, so what better way to visit than by train?
So, the four of us met at Swaythling [SWG] Station at 0705 - despite not visiting this station by train today, it's a useful meeting place where our walking routes home fork, and also allows us to buy tickets from SWG from the Ticket Vending Machine [TVM] in case we get more lucky on the way back.
Speaking of tickets, I was using a particularly good anomaly to get to Guildford [GLD]. I won't reveal it here, but people who know me probably know which one it is. Three of us got this with Groupsave-3 [GPS-3], and the final person buying a full-price ticket because he wasn't coming back with us and needed to use the ticket to go further along the route.
In order to avoid hassle at the ticket barriers at GLD, we also bought GPS-4 London Road (Guildford) to GLD returns. We did not actually use these tickets for travel, but just to avoid explaining why tickets are valid to barrier staff.
Before leaving SWG we spotted a large Freightliner train pass, but were unable to identify the loco class.
So, we walked to Southampton Airport (Parkway) [SOA] in good time to catch the 0738 South West Trains [SW] service towards London Waterloo - calling at Winchester, Woking [WOK] and London Waterloo; headcode 1W92. After watching the anticlockwise SW "Salisbury 6" local service (formed of a 158) depart and a CrossCountry Empty Coaching Stock [ECS] move (formed of a 220), our train, formed of 444005 and 444016, arrived on platform 1.
The train was empty enough for us to get a table for the four of us, with plenty of free seats, but not exactly quiet either - surprisingly busy for me, but then again, I never understand train usage at weekends ;). The train left on time, and the journey was comfortable - exactly what I expect from a 444. After a brief stop at Winchester, we continued on non-stop to WOK, with a hassle-free ticket check shortly before the stop, even gaining a minute somewhere along the line - arriving into WOK platform 2 one minute early, at 0820 compared to the scheduled 0821.
We crossed via the footbridge from Platform 2 to 5, in time to catch the invalid connection of the 0825½ (public timetable 0825) SW service towards Portsmouth Harbour - calling at GLD, Haslemere, Petersfield, Havant, Fratton, Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour; headcode 1P17. The train arrived into the platform mere minutes after we did, formed of 450105 and 450101.
This train was significantly more empty than the previous one - we easily found a group of six seats facing each other to sit in, with enough room to be comfortable despite the 3+2 seating layout of the 450s due to the quietness of the train. We left on time, and though the journey was short, I can say once again that it was comfortable, as I can expect with a 450. We arrived at GLD platform 4 at 0832½, on time (public timetable 0833).
We exited the station via the West exit, it being closest to the university. The barriers accepted (and ate) our GPS-4 London Road (Guildford) to GLD tickets without hassle.
The tech day itself went rather well.
After finishing the tech day, three of us made our way back to the West entrance of the station, and entered through the barriers with the London Road (Guildford) to GLD tickets, again without fuss. After spending a while getting realtime trains to load (my phone's fault, not the site's!), we made our way to platform 5 for our train home, the 1934½ (public timetable 1934) SW service to London Waterloo, calling at Worplesdon, WOK, Clapham Junction and London Waterloo; headcode 2P66. After watching many 450s and a 455 pass through the station, our train, formed of 450544 and 450039, arrived.
The train was even more empty than the previous one, and again we found six seats facing each other to sit in. We left one minute late, and only just making up that one minute, arriving into WOK platform 2 at 1944, on time. The train was once again comfortable but the journey really too brief to appreciate.
We remained on the island platform but moved over to platform 4, watching a SW service towards Exeter St. David's and Bristol Temple Meads, formed of 3×159, leave. After once again watching multiple trains arrive and depart, including a rather fast 444 from Weymouth passing through without stopping, our train, formed of 444031, arrived. It was the 2000 SW service to Weymouth, calling at Winchester, SOA, Southampton Central, Brockenhurst, Bournemouth, Branksome, Parkstone, Poole, Hamworthy, Wareham, Wool, Moreton, Dorchester South, Upwey and Weymouth; headcode 1W81. We found a block of four seats in the front coach, unfortunately not facing each other, and sat down. After leaving on time, the guard came around almost instantly and again checked tickets without hassle. The train was again comfortable, though unusually rattly for a Desiro (but not nearly as rattly as the average Turbostar, for example). The journey was comfortable, although the Rail Gourmet-run trolley service had run out of Coke which I was planning on buying.
We gained a minute in the run to Winchester, but departed on time so arrived at SOA on time exactly at 2040½ (public timetable 2041), on platform 2. Unfortunately this did not time nicely with a local service to Swaythling, so we walked back.
Shortly after leaving SOA, we spotted a light loco running from West Ealing Plasser Sdgs to Totton Yard, again being unable to identify the class.
So, as can usually be expected from SW, an almost perfect journey. This is a good start to this blog...
EDITED 20131214 - added platform numbers where not explicit; added public timetable.