18 June 2006

When is the next train?

Well we started off with good intentions of exploring the Tamar Valley Line today but all did not go to plan!
We decided against the Dartmoor Explorer ticket as we didnt think our son was up to long bus journeys just yet. Instead we purchased standard return tickets from St Budeaux Station to Gunnislake which came to just under £7 for three adults and gave us unlimited travel on the line between these two points. The Dartmoor ticker would have worked out at £15 - itself a bargain!

We got off at Bere Alston first and had a walk about for about 40 mins and then caught the return train to Bere ferrers where we decided on a longer break of about an hour. Long walk down into the village and a quick picnic by the river and then the long walk up the hill. After waiting a good ten mins past the time the train was due someone phoned through and was told the train had been cancelled due to a small land slip on the line. The train had returned to Plymouth. We were promised a taxi would be dispatched - but up to an hours wait. There are no toilets at Bere Ferrers station! After a while searching a local was found who allowed the ladies to use their facillities. then after almost exactly one hour the taxi arrived and 5 of us set of the Calstock.
A good few hours were spent at Calstock including an excellent Fathers Day pub lunch. Quite a bit of exploring and many photos taken. Then the long walk up the hill to see if the trains were running again.
We tried the message point and got a really confusing message to say that the the 16:18 train to Plymouth had been cancelled. The next train at Calstock would be the 16:18 train to Plymouth! I have recorded the message which you can here on the link below.
Click here to hear the message 'Train-Message' [Link no longer works!]
Just after 16:20 a taxi arrived to pick up Plymouth passengers - there were about 8 of us. He then said he would pick us up from down the path - when a bus arrived and said he was picking us up instead. Confusion all round for a few mins but we all piled into the bus and set off on the long journey home - via all stations on route - but picking up no more passengers. The driver wasnt really sure of the way but didn't get lost although it was a real squeeze with his big Mercedes 'bread van' down some very narrow country lanes - he managed some impressive reversing when we met some large tractors in small spaces.
We arrived back about an hour behind schedule and my son managed brilliantly and really enjoyed the bus journey - he was very disappointed not to get another train ride though.
Great day out for £7! Must have cost the train company a lot more than that though.

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