Today it was time to move on to my final destination in this adventure, London. Unfortunately I didn't plan today's journey very well. I purchased the train tickets first back in March in order to secure advance first class tickets at a good price. I purposely chose trains towards the end of the day so I could maximise my stay in the Lake District by doing an activity this morning. However, when it came to booking a car I found myself having to return the car before 1:00pm because it's a Saturday. That was nearly 3 hours ahead of my train departure.
As there was very little point in returning the car earlier, I took my time getting ready this morning, aiming to check out close to 11:00am. Packing was the usual challenge and one holiday experience I won't miss.
I headed back to Carlisle shortly before 11:00am. I decided that I would take the route with major roads this time following the A66 and then the M6. This provided a very easy and pleasant driving experience.
After returning the car I headed to the train station. I decided to enquire whether I could exchange my tickets for an earlier service. Unfortunately, because I had managed to get such cheap advance tickets in the first place, to change them now would have been ridiculously expensive. Also unfortunately, Carlisle railway station doesn't have any facility for leaving your luggage so you can head off for a bit. My only choice was to wait it out at the station. But at least that was a nice opportunity to read over the notes I've been keeping for this trip and skim through some of the books I've purchased.
This weekend there is maintenance on the west coast line which seemed to cause some chaos at Carlisle with bus services and announcements going off all over the place. When I first purchased my tickets there had been a note that the service might be affected by maintenance, but luckily for me the east cost line I had selected escaped the works.
The first train from Carlisle to Leeds departed at 3:49pm. The train arrived in Leeds on time despite having to stop for a fallen branch across the line. At Leeds I transferred to the 6:45pm Virgin Trains service to London Kings Cross. All up, that's nearly 5 1/2 hours of train travel.
Funnily, the first train, which was a Northern service, was a very ordinary train but smooth ride. The second train, which was the much swisher Virgin Trains service, was really bumpy. Of course, I think it was a much faster train, but surprising all the same.