Author Topic: LONDON in June?  (Read 905 times)

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Cajonpassfan

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LONDON in June?
« on: January 07, 2019, 07:28:50 PM »
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My mostly understanding wife and I are contemplating a trip to London. Never been before (Heathrow doesn't count).
What are the "must see" railroady (railway-ish?) things to do, see and experience? Any steam adventures? I'd love to see hear and smell the Tornado in action :o
I WILL go see St.Pancras and King's Cross for sure, and maybe take an out-and-back day trip on the BR....what would be a good destination? (considering my wife will be along).
Model railroads or clubs to see, museums, hobby shops??? Any  :ashat: 's around?
Ideas and advice much appreciated!
Otto K.


robert3985

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 08:06:07 PM »
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Otto @Cajonpassfan , I'm not too much into British railroading, but I wouldn't visit London without seeing two of the world's most famous sailing ships....the Cutty Sark in London and the HMS Victory south at Portsmouth.  If you're not into the world's fastest tea clipper or Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar...then what can I say????????  The Cutty Sark is in permanent dry dock and you can actually walk completely under it and look up at the thousands of copper plates riveted to the wooden hull.  It's fully rigged, with a recent complete historically correct restoration, and I've got a cut-away drawing I bought there hanging nicely framed in my living room.  The HMS Victory is undergoing continuous restoration, and I don't believe she's masted above the tops at this point.  I didn't get to see her when I was there, and I regret the tight schedule that kept me too busy to have some fun.  However, I believe her decks, cabins and cannons are all restored and in place, showing her as she would have been at Trafalgar, when Lord Nelson was killed by a French Marine's ball.

Anyway...have a great time! 

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

garethashenden

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 08:19:11 PM »
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I’d recommend visiting The Model Railway Club, just up the road from Kings Cross. They meet on Thursday evenings, from 7 or 7:30. If I still lived in London I’d offer to show you around, but unfortunately I don’t. There aren’t many model shops in London anymore, the rent is too high. One possibility is Ian Allen, just by Waterloo station. It’s a bookshop, but they specialise in transport books and have a few models for sale.
There are two places outside of London that I would recommend. One is the National Railway Museum. It’s in York, about 2 hours by train. They have a large collection including A4 Pacific Mallard, still the record holder for fastest steam engine. It’s also free to enter, although they take donations. York itself is a lovely medieval city, still surrounded by walls, and quite unlike anything in America.
The second place is the Bluebell Railway. It’s a preserved railway close to London. There’s more happening on the weekends, but they’ve got a good collection of steam engines in various states of restoration.

GhengisKong

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 08:20:24 PM »
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http://www.uksteam.info/tours/trs19.htm

This is my go to site for all of the UK's yearly mainline steam runs.

ncbqguy

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 10:14:38 PM »
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Otto
Line up a few LHS to look for scenic and structure kits you can't get in North America.  There is a company in England that will do a 3D scan of You and make an N Scale version....if you're really lucky to catch one of the shows they set up at....
If recall properly when you get home you'll be able to look for a 1/160 kit for the Cutty Sark....one of the small number of plastic ships where the box size scale worked out to N Scale.  Maybe for a TTrak British theme dock scene?
Charlie Vlk

wes_sutton

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 10:53:47 PM »
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As previously mentioned the National Railway Museum in York is definitely worth a visit. If you're not afraid of a long day out you can get there and back in a day from Kings Cross using the relatively high speed LNER rail service. If you book ahead you can get some pretty good fare deals, if you leave it until the last minute the fares can get pretty expensive. Of course, as also pointed out, York is a very nice city to visit so a two day up and back trip with an overnight in York would allow you (and your wife) to get more out of a visit.

Again as mentioned, the nearest preserved steam railway to London of a reasonable size and service frequency is the Bluebell railway (there are others, but not as well set up). London Victoria station to East Grinstead takes one hour and trains run at a half hourly frequency during the day (more frequent in peak hours). The run down there is over a highly intensive 750V DC third rail network for the first half of the journey which would be interesting in itself.

If you have time there are plenty of other preserved steam railways around the country - look out for gala weekends and visiting 'guest' locomotives. These lines are everywhere, but some of the major ones where you will see more than just one or two locos in steam include:

Severn Valley Railway
Great Central Railway (double track!)
North Yorkshire Moors Railways
West Somerset Railway
Bluebell Railway
Mid Hants Railway (also in an easy days reach of London)
East Lancs Railway

All the above have their own detailed web sites.

Here's a few pics of mine form the Bluebell Railway https://www.flickr.com/photos/markcarter/albums/72157679556320402

and Severn Valley Railway https://www.flickr.com/photos/markcarter/albums/72157682031650065

If you just want to watch regular trains go by, then some locations very close to central London such as Clapham Junction and Stratford see constant activity.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 10:58:38 PM by wes_sutton »

Point353

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 01:31:01 AM »
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My mostly understanding wife and I are contemplating a trip to London. Never been before (Heathrow doesn't count).
What are the "must see" railroady (railway-ish?) things to do, see and experience?
Day trip to Paris on the Eurostar.

Santa Fe Guy

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 06:35:51 PM »
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Otto, you must go to the Tower bridge and Tower of London just to see the history, not railroady but.
Rod.
Santafesd40.blogspot.com

Bobster

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 07:00:08 PM »
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Otto,

First let me say wise of you to plan in advance.  Check some of the rail lines to places you want to go.  Reservations made early can save you money.  London is quite expensive.  By planning in advance you can also get discounts to different places you might like to see.  I hopped a double decked red bus (The Original Tour London Sightseeing) right outside Victoria Station and scouted out some of the places I wanted to see.  Also now is the time to get familiar with the tube (subway)  It is a good way to get places.  If you must see the changing of the guard get there early!  It is crowded.  I came in on the train just after rush hour and the fare for the train was a little lower.   The UK is much more train oriented than the US so, again, study the tube and rail maps and schedules.   A Thames Cruise takes up a lot of time.  It may be part of the bus ticket price.  If you do want to cruise the Thames I'd say Parliament to the Tower of London This way you Tower bridge from the water and from the bus.  I would recommend the London Eye - Giant Ferris Wheel for lack of a better description.  Take the tube if you must go to Greenwich and stand on the prime meridian.  In summer there is 5 hours difference between the UK and US Eastern time.  This time of year it is 6 hours.  As I was staying  southwest of London I took the Southern.   Part way on my trip in to London my train was joined to another.  There was also a hallway in Victoria that I turned down for a quicker exit from the crowds.  Always be ready for rain.  I was blessed I got a sunny day.

I flew US Airways from Charlotte, NC to Gatwick, just South of London.  Then Flybe from Gatwick to Inverness Scotland.  I had more foot room on Flybe's EMB 195 than USAirways A330.

Please forgive me  I don't know what you know about a few terms.  Mind the gap means watch the distance between your car and rail station platform so you don't trip.  Some trains I got on you pushed a button to open the car door to enter.  "Take away" means take out food.  Car for hire = rental car.   And of course fish and chips which basically means fried fish and fries.  Malt vinegar instead of ketchup.  Bangers and mash = sausage and mashed potatoes.  BA means British Airways. 

Check the rules on tipping for various things you may need.  Some places charge more to eat , for example, but they pay their help a better wage than here in the states.

VISITLONDON.COM would be worth visiting.

When I went in 2010 5 pounds equaled around $7.50.   Notify your credit card company you are traveling or you card might get declined.   I got some cash through my bank before I left.  Make sure they do the conversion math correctly.  Picking up was fine.  Returning some of the extra cash the lady at my bank got it backwards and I had to have her call someone to explain to her the error of her ways.   

The rail bridge from the Harry Potter moves is in Scotland.  I believe it is the Glen Finnan Viaduct just west of Fort William Northwest of Glasgow.  Beside my trips Angmering-London in the morning and the reverse in the evening I took a couple other train rides.  I went from Nairn to Inverness.  Then Inverness down to Edinburgh Waverly Station on Scotrail.  Made reservations in advance and got a discount.  Had my name on the shoulder of the chair.  Great views of snow on the mountains and more,  including crossing the Forth Rail Bridge over the Firth of Forth.

Well I've gone long so I'll close with I hope you have a great trip.
Bobster
 
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 07:08:52 PM by Bobster »

Cajonpassfan

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 09:14:48 PM »
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Wow guys, you are awesome, a BIG thank you to all who responded! Very useful!
Of course, leave it to the Railwire to ask about trains and get instant info about ships :facepalm:
Sorry Bob, couldn't help it, I think I willgo see the Cutty Sark, in your honor :D

York is a bit far for a day trip I think, and I'm sorry, because I would just love to see the railway museum there. British steam has always fascinated me and in photos, the  engines at the museum look like restored Bentleys. If I were alone, it would be different, but we are coming back from a "Greek wedding" ; London is a stopover between Santorini and Los Angeles, and I need to make sure my wife enjoys the trip as well. And there are so many things to see in London, thanks Rod!
Bobster,  thanks for the lesson in Queens English, and the tips, much appreciated the write up. I may print it and stick it in the boot for reference! Just kidding, there's no way I'm driving on the wrong side of the road! I think we'll get around fine, said who that the US and Brittain were two countries divided by the same language? And mind the gap? Don't let Peteski in on that :D
Point 353: Paris, not so much, and we don't have time anyway, not on this trip. Besides, I'd rather deal with the dreaded Brexit, and the (selfishly) beneficial pound/dollar rate than Les Gilets Jaunes and associated craziness in France. One little strike and we miss our prepaid, non-refundable fare from Gatwick  :|
Wes, thanks for the link, I'll make sure to see some steam in action!
Anyways, thank you all for the suggestions. We still have several months to plan, but have rooms in Kensington paid for...London is a popular destination and several of the places  to us by friends are already booked and full.
Looking forward to it!
Otto K.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 09:41:37 PM »
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http://www.uksteam.info/tours/trs19.htm

This is my go to site for all of the UK's yearly mainline steam runs.

Thank you!

prbharris

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 06:03:59 AM »
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My mostly understanding wife and I are contemplating a trip to London. Never been before (Heathrow doesn't count).
.....What are the "must see" railroady (railway-ish?) things to do, ....maybe take an out-and-back day trip on the BR....what would be a good destination? (considering my wife will be along).

Otto

Travel in London by public transport is very good, but TfL [Transport for London] 's red buses do not take cash. You can use a chip-enabled card [but I am not sure if these are common in the US] or buy an Oyster card that must be topped up at a Tube station. The card is £5 deposit but lasts a lifetime - unlike many in the US! Each traveler will need a card. Download the tube map diagram and the central bus routes from the TfL website. Double deck buses from Kensington will give great views from the top deck if you can get up the steps. Most buses enter from the front - but there are some you can get in at the rear. Present your Oyster card at the yellow button!

Anther good location is get to by the 750v third rail is Brighton - lots for your wife to do there too. On the sea front is one of the worlds earliest electric train the Volks Railway.

You could also visit the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden - on the central eastern side of London. If your wife is not keen on going in [about a one - two hour visit will give you a good chance to see everything London Transport wise] there is plenty to do in the Covent Garden area - it was the vegetable and flower market that has been restored and revitalized as a fascinating shopping and eating area.

I would strongly endorse the idea of the Bluebell Railway - it is always steam, and there is a direct connection to the national rail system at East Grinstead.

All the national museums are free but can be busy in June. If you are going to the British Museum [ethnographic material from across the world [ try going in the back entrance on Montague Place] rather than the main entrance as it is always far less busy.

PM me for any particular information!

Have a good trip

Peter

Peter Harris
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www.nscalekits.com

prbharris

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2019, 06:19:15 AM »
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York is a bit far for a day trip I think, and I'm sorry, because I would just love to see the railway museum there. British steam has always fascinated me and in photos, the  engines at the museum look like restored Bentleys.

Doi not be put off York is only a two hour trip - 125mph+ electric train, and there is a lot for your wife to do there so would be worth considering. [it takes an hour to get to East Grinstead or Brighton] Be aware that you should book before hand as Advanced non refundable tickets are much, much cheaper with a reserved seat. I would suggest a post rush-hour train down [to York] and an early evening trip up [back to London]. The Museum is very close to the Station and it is only half a mile from the station into the city centre, and a very easy walk. There is a lot to do in York for both of you.

There is some great eating in York and if you want to see some interesting pubs there are a number including the spectacular York Station Bar.

Peter

Peter Harris
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www.nscalekits.com

Jon898

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2019, 08:48:59 AM »
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+1 for York for the museum and the history/architecture/shopping in that city.  Also +1 for Bluebell.

If you're in Kensington and it's raining hard, you're close by the Victorian era museum district, clustered just south of the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington.  The Science Museum (really the technology and engineering museum) is worth a visit if you can't make it to York, and the other two there (Victoria and Albert Museum full of arts, crafts, textiles, jewelry and other "spoils of empire", and the Natural History Museum...aka "Dead Zoo") are usually appreciated by the distaff side of a couple.

If you fly in and out of Gatwick, best connection is by the rail line into Victoria Station ( https://www.gatwickairport.com/to-and-from/Rail/ ). It can be a bit of a challenge with too much luggage, but fast and relatively inexpensive.

Jon

(P.S. Minor correction to Bobster, time difference to the east coast is 5 hours except for a couple of weeks in spring and (sometimes) autumn when the clocks change out of sync between the countries)

SF Chief

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Re: LONDON in June?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2019, 09:36:19 AM »
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One more vote for York.  As noted, York is only 2 hours from King's Cross through a combination of pretty countryside and English industry, the rail museum is GREAT and located basically at the station, the city center is a very short walk.  In the city center, they have a very cool Viking museum and York Castle museum.  All with a 10 minute walk of the train.  Good way to get a dose of the UK outside London and be back in time for dinner.  Just sayin'...  Rick