Sunday 11 June 2023

Day Trip in the East Midlands

Not Quite the Hogwarts Express

A recent need to attend a convention near Nottingham gave me the chance to try a route I'd never used before, the "Robin Hood Line" in Nottingham. The line goes all the way to Worksop where it reaches the route between Sheffield and Lincoln, but I only needed to travel one stop to Bulwell, where the station was just around the corner from the church where my meeting was being held.

The overall journey from my home in Stamford was not a particularly quick one, involving a change at Leicester where the online journey planner specified a 59-minute wait - a potential connection an hour earlier was clearly missed here by the timetable - as well as a more reasonable change at Nottingham. When I arrived, though, and heard everyone else complaining about an enormous queue on the M1 motorway and trying devise routes home to avoid it I was glad that I had come by train! Again, as I have said before, the time taken travelling by train is not really that important, because it is time that can be used, whereas driving requires concentration on the driving itself.

In the event my train from Stamford arrived at Leicester a couple of minutes early and I was able to take an earlier train to Nottingham than planned, a whole hour earlier! This was fine: I was planning a coffee-and-croissant break and would now have it at Nottingham rather than Leicester ... Eventually the time came to take the train to Bulwell, and I found it a very comfortable and convenient train for a local journey. Had I been needing to travel further, I'd happily have used this train right to the end of the line.

When I left the train at Bulwell I realised that as well as a Train Manager on board there were two security guards in each coach. I wondered why, never having seen that anywhere else. I still wonder why! 

Bulwell station is an interchange with the city's tram system and with a number of bus routes, too, and I was surprised to see that there was quite a thriving town centre right by the station.

After my day conference at the nearby church I returned to the station for my ride home and this time there were also two police officers on board! I asked why this line needed their presence and they said that it was simply a routine patrol; they go out every day on a number of train services simply to deter and reassure. They seemed unaware of the security guards. Very odd.

And so to another change at Nottingham and at Leicester and back home, not an especially quick way to undertake this particular journey, but quick enough and I had been able to use the time to catch up and various little jobs.

The allusion to Harry Potter in my heading arises from the reason for my travel: the day included a lecture and some exercises on the psychology of illusion and our speaker was a member of the Magic Circle whose lecture was entitled "Defence Against the Dark Arts"!

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