Thursday, 5 September 2019

It's a Long Tyne Since I Posted... Wear Have I Been??

That's a terrible pun...

Had a fun trip to Newcastle on Monday, courtesy of Northern's 10p advance ticket promotion.  I honestly couldn't remember the last time I was in Newcastle, but it might well have been when I was still living in Edinburgh, so probably at least ten years ago.  Therefore when it turned up that I could get tickets from Carlisle to Newcastle for 10p each way, I figured it was an overdue opportunity for a bimble around the Tyne and Wear Metro.

10p advance single ticket from Carlisle to Newcastle.
Last month Northern launched an offer of 10p advance singles across their network on selected trains as an apology for the delayed withdrawal of their old Pacers.
I had to get down to Carlisle first of all, but that was fairly reasonable at just over £5 each way on advance singles, and for once my booked "Window Seat" on a Pendolino southbound actually had a window as opposed to one of those seats that perfectly misaligns with the windows to leave you with absolutely no view whatsoever.  Considering Northern's promotion was meant to be as an apology for their delayed withdrawal of their Pacers, I sort of assumed the trains the 10p tickets had been available for would all be operated by said Pacers.  However, the train that turned up for the 1023 service to Newcastle was in fact an unrefurbished 156, still wearing the remains of First Scotrail's livery...

A Northern 156 'Super Sprinter' in the remains of First Scotrail livery at Carlisle station.

Interior of Northern's ex-First Scotrail 156.

Seats on Northern's ex-First Scotrail 156 still with the old First moquette.

Still, I wasn't complaining, it made for an acceptably comfortable 90 minute crossing over to Newcastle on what Northern now seems to be marketing as the "Hadrian's Wall Country Line", as remained pretty quiet throughout despite being only a 2-carriage service.

On arrival into Newcastle, I went straight down into the Tyne and Wear Metro station underneath the mainline station, and went out first to Whitley Bay and Monkseaton, then back through Newcastle and down to Sunderland, then finally back up and out to South Shields, taking in most of the network.

Adult DaySaver ticket for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

View of the beach at Whitley Bay.
Sadly it was still raining a bit at Whitley Bay, but it cleared up later on!

Monkseaton metro station.

Tyne and Wear Metro train at Monkseaton.

Interior of a Tyne and Wear Metro train.

I had been hoping for a Pacer on the way over to Newcastle, but thankfully the return journey didn't disappoint with a classic 142 even still with the original bus seating forming my return journey to Carlisle.  It was considerably less comfortable than the 156 out, but I was glad to get one last journey in on this class.  Even with the end of 2019 withdrawal now expected to be delayed until around mid-2020, these trains will be getting steadily withdrawn from service as the new class 195s arrive, and it's unlikely there will be many left by the time I next travel with Northern.

Northern "Pacer" 142 012 at Newcastle station.
Hooray, a Pacer!

Bike storage/luggage area on a Northern "Pacer" 142.
I actually quite like the bike storage/luggage rack layout here, it makes good use of the space...

Bus-style seating on a Northern 142 "Pacer".
Bus seating with limited legroom for a 90 minute journey, less hooray...

Interior control buttons for passenger door on Northern 142 "Pacer".
Definitely not compliant with modern DDA standards for visibility!
After that it was a quick ride with Transpennine Express (my first ever on one of their Desiros!) back to Glasgow and home.  This was my first time in years going off to visit a city just for the sake of exploring, and I'd definitely be up for it again soon!