Rule of Threes

28/6/15

Lincoln – Newark – Kings Cross – Hammersmith – Richmond

Having had two previous hopeless trips I wasn’t sure whether it’s ‘third time’s a charm’ or ‘bad luck comes in threes’. Either way today I was going to find out.

It didn’t start well. Being a Sunday there was inevitably engineering work, in this case cutting off Richmond from both Underground and Overground services, but knowing about problems lets you plan around them. It’s also unbelievably awkward to get out of Lincoln by train on a Sunday, or any day for that matter. It’s hard to comprehend how a major County town can have such poor rail connections. But as we all know from motivational posters, obstacles are simply opportunities for solutions.

I decided to simplify the trip by taking a taxi to Newark. The first stumbling block was the lack of accessible cabs. With only one working my choice of departure time was limited to 2pm or 2pm, i.e. no choice at all. There was also a small traffic problem. A large cycle race had closed many roads in the city causing near gridlock on anything that remained. Not what you expect on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The upshot was it took over half an hour to get out of Lincoln, something that should have taken around five minutes.

I was a bit concerned that the delay meant I arrived at Newark just five minutes before the 14:59 train was due. Given recent form I was resigned to missing it and waiting for the next one. How wrong I was. The guys at Newark recognised me, which is an achievement given how little I go through there, and calmly but efficiently arranged a ramp and got me on board.

The efficiency at Kings Cross continued with a wrangler there waiting for me as the train arrived. Seeing how it can be done right just makes me wonder all the more why Euston manage to get it so consistently wrong.

Knowing my usual route home was FUBARed I opted to try the Hammersmith & City line for the first time. It was quite a trek through the labyrinth of tunnels and walkways but easy enough in a powered chair. I thought it was step free but checked with the gate guard who was extremely helpful, reassuring and, as it turned out, correct. Getting on and off the (new, air conditioned!) trains was a doddle. In fact most stations had level access to the platform. What a shame so few have step free access to the street.

At Hammersmith I downgraded to a rather battered and old bus. Although it served it’s purpose, the ramp was extremely step with quite a step at the top. For me this is mildly uncomfortable, but for others it’s certainly enough to stop them travelling. The sooner these aged buses are cycled out of the fleet the better.

And so I made it home, relatively drama free. It seems third time is a charm. I only hope the counter doesn’t reset now.

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About Alan

I'm an Economist, Geek, Campaigner & wheelchair user who's been using all forms of public transport for 20+ years.
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