The Train and the River

Well, here I am back in Cardiff after my little trip to Merseyside. The weather behaved itself and so did the trains in both directions, so it was quite a pleasant travelling experience. In fact, going there yesterday I managed to make a technically impossible connection at Crewe, owing to the train from Cardiff being a minute or two early and the train to Liverpool being a minute late.

I stayed last night at the Jury’s Inn at Albert Dock, shown on the left here. There’s a sort of Ferris Wheel thing next to it. These contraptions seem to be popping up all over the place. Next thing you know there’ll be one in London! The hotel was of its type, generic but reasonably comfortable. Brings back memories of STFC panel meeting; the Jury’s Inn there is a standard place to stay in Swindon when sentenced to hard labour. Unfortunately the one I stayed in was booked up by multiple stag and hen parties and was ridiculously noisy all night. I didn’t really get any sleep until well after 4am. Grump.

Anyway, last night we had a very nice dinner at the Clove Hitch restaurant/bistro (which I definitely recommend) preceded by a pint at the famous Philharmonic Pub. Thanks to Phil and Sue for looking after us so nicely.

My talk opened the proceedings at the Merseyside Astronomy Day, which was held at Spaceport on the Birkenhead side of the Mersey. Here’s a view of Liverpool’s impressive skyline taken from there, with a nice sailing barge on the Mersey.

The small auditorium – usually used for Planetarium shows – was pretty full and I think my talk went quite well, although it’s not really for me to say. They did actually record everything so if I can get hold of a copy I might post it. Anyway, after my turn there was a fascinating lecture by Prof. Peter Read of Oxford University about the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn.

After a quick lunch we used Liverpool’s excellent public transport to zip back to Liverpool Lime Street and I had a relaxing and punctual journey back to Cardiff, albeit with no miracle change at Crewe this time. Dozing on the train I quite startled to wake up near Shrewsbury to find a vintage steam locomotive in sight:

No doubt there’ll be someone out there in internetshire who will tell me all about this train through the comments box but for now I’m going to make some dinner and take it easy as I’m rather knackered.

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4 Responses to “The Train and the River”

  1. Simon Kemp Says:

    Well, my parents in Llandovery did mention on the phone last week that they were expecting a steam train to pass through the town one day this week, and they were going to see it…and as Llandovery is on a direct line from Shrewsbury (the Central Wales line) it may well be the same one…I’ll ask them tomorrow if they know any details.

  2. Sue Percival Says:

    Glad you enjoyed your visit to Poorville, here in the Midlands. And thanks for getting MAD off to a great start with a very enjoyable talk!

  3. Huw Clayton Says:

    There’s also an annual steam excursion from Birmingham to Aberystwyth. Not sure whether it’s this month or next month, but it looks like the engine they generally use, but as it’s a charter and is presumably fairly widely used, that’s hardly conclusive.

    The Llandovery explanation seems more likely if it was flagged up in advance. Imagine travelling over the Central Wales by steam train…what a thrill that would be!

  4. Mark Enderby Says:

    OK – here’s the anoraky comment šŸ™‚ Am afraid, what you saw wasn’t vintage. 60163 Tornado was actually completed in 2008 – it’s a replica of an A1 class express passenger loco. More details at

    http://www.a1steam.com/

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