England has a Beautiful train system, and in spite of its many different companies, it works as smoothly as a well greased machine. I’ve used Great Western, Cross Country, London Northern, and maybe one other line. Most offer wifi, for a fee, but the first train from London offered the first fifteen minutes free.
Every car I’ve been in has been clean and appeared to be quite new. Right. Ow I’m on a Cross Country headed to Bath. Originally, I was going to Hidcote Gardens, but I started out much too late in the morning to make the bus connections and the steep walk that will require. I’m considering that tomorrow, in place of my last walk on the Cotswold Way.
Visiting the Roman baths in Bath will add to my Romans in England experience, as they are said to be the best preserved in England.
Like so many other signs, the exits here are different–they say “Way Out” and every time I read one it makes me chuckle, because in my head, I hear something that sound more like “far out man.”
These trains have much more leg room than an airplane, probably because they are molded plastic and they are higher in the back, but not as deep.
I’ve learned that it’s important to know the final destination of the train you are on, because the marquees list that rather than the intermediate stops. Once you determine which platform, it’s marquee lists all the intermediate stops. This makes close connections (and most are) a real gut crunching challenge. You not only have to figure out which platform, you have to get there. This often involves stairways and tunnels. Like everything else, this has been well thought out, and there are lifts as an alternate to the stairs.
All stations have information desks where you can also get a ticket, but this may be a long way and different direction from your platform. Luckily
for me, an informed official opened the locked door at Bristol (it was break
time) and knew the time and platform.number. I had just enough time to walk there and snap one picture as the train pulled in.
I’m not alone in the dilemma of not knowing the final destination. A thin wan in a hand knit lavender sweater asked me in a British accent if this was the train for Salisbury. It was.
At remote platforms and large city stations there are emergency call and help kiosks that connect to a human via large call buttons. I’ve seen several
people using them.
Another great thing here is that everyone uses the same symbol for train stations, all maps and road signs have it clearly designated in the same red zigzag you see on this sign at Cheltenham Spa Station. They also use a universal symbol for bus stops on all the maps–very easy on the tired or foreign speaking visitor.