Thursday, August 27, 2009

London to Scotland in 2 Hours

The route of a high speed rail link between London and Scotland has been unveiled by Network Rail. The proposed £34bn line will run from central London, via Birmingham, Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool and Preston to Glasgow and Edinburgh and could slash the journey time between London and Scotland to a little over 2 hours. But don’t expect it any time soon… the high-speed line hasn’t been given the go-ahead just yet and, even if it does happen, it will be 10 years in the making. Read more at The Telegraph.

My own humble experiences traveling between London and Edinburgh took about 8 hours, so a high speed train would be a nice alternative. Of course, the reason I rode the bus was that it was cheap. The Wife and I stumbled off a British Airways flight that last about 9 hours, rode the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station and then hopped on a bus for the 8 hour trek to Scotland. We went to Scotland to see Loch Ness and had a grand time, even though we did not spot Nessy.

I love the sci fi look of high speed trains, and I have always had a personal preference for the ones that use MagLev. There is that whole Disneyland feel to them and I like the idea of zipping along at 200 miles per hour.

The bus ride up to Scotland was pretty nice, we had most of the bus to ourselves and the view out the windows was amazing. Lots of yellow flowers we were told was rapeseed and lots of villages with lovely high streets. We were dead tired, but it was still not a bad trip.

Since we had scheduled something for every minute of the trip, we decided to take the last bus out of Scotland-which was at midnight. This would get back into London around 8 a.m. We sat in a Pub and waited for our bus to arrive, with The Wife looking out the window. As the time grew near and the Pub was about to close anyway, we headed out to have a look at the bus parking area. There were two or three buses sitting there, that we could not see from the Pub just across the parking lot. So we ran up to the one for London.

We handed the man our bags, which he promptly tossed into the storage area and told us to get on board quickly. We did. The bus was full-save for two seats. We asked a nice man to move so we could sit together. Then we sat there for a few minutes while less fortunate travelers went up and down the aisle looking in vain for somewhere to sit.

The trip back to London offered little chance for rest and nothing to see in the darkness. We stopped at about 3 in the morning at a gas station with a KFC, which was closed. I will never forgive the bus line and KFC for getting our hopes up. We did find a couple of sandwiches, but that was not the same.

So I would like to think that traveling by high speed rail would be a little more organized. That's what I'd like to think anyway. Of course, then I wouldn't have this story of the midnight not so express to London.

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