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Everything posted by Hermit

  1. Very sad about the demise of the Zeebrugge route. I worked in Belgium at the end of the 1980s, and for long weekends or holidays I tried to combine Munro-collecting trips to Scotland with visits to family in London. North Sea Ferries (as they then were) and Sealink (ditto) used to offer round-trip tickets at a reasonable price, combining Zeebrugge-Hull and Dover-Calais crossings, or v.v., which suited me very well. The Zeebrugge ships then were Norland (of Falklands fame) and Norstar. I still count them as the nicest ships I’ve crossed on - very comfortable, excellent catering, a civilised t
  2. One of them is apparently going to the Epping Ongar Railway, appropriately enough since that was once part of the Central Line. Even though the line served only a small rural population out in Essex, London Transport in its heyday electrified it. It boasted the only station on the underground network from which no other building could be seen (Blake Hall). I understand that the preservationists who now run the line intend to keep the ex-Island Line train operational - presumably by using batteries, since the electric rail has long been lifted.
  3. I’d never realised that it was red below the waterline - is that new?
  4. I believe there were a couple of pinch points, one of which was one of the Ryde bridges, but the track has now been moved or lowered in these places during a couple of recent weekend possessions. We had always believed that it was the tight dimensions of the Ryde Tunnel that limited the railway to tube-train size stock, but this is apparently not the case and the railway are confident that the ‘new’ trains will get through all right. Let’s hope they are right. The trains will be unloaded on to the railway at Sandown, where there is a siding and the approach is easier than anything at
  5. COVID restrictions mean that railway enthusiasts hoping to have a last ride on the 1938 tube stock can’t (or at least shouldn’t) travel to the island. This webcam will be the next best thing for them.
  6. Coinciding with the major road works outside St Mary’s Hospital, this has led to huge delays on the Cowes- Newport road. The proponents of a bridge/tunnel across the Medina have resurfaced, but with about as much chance of success as those advocating a fixed link to the mainland (ie nil).
  7. Portsmouth- Fishbourne currently delayed by 1hr 45 minutes, reportedly because of an issue with the Fishbourne link span. Sounds like déja vue all over again, but particularly unfortunate at a time when the island has been absolutely rammed with staycation visitors. At least they won’t have to worry about being quarantined if the ferry is late.
  8. Thanks for the splendid pictures of Arundel - though they do prompt the sad thought that this year there’ll be no Sussex cricket match at the ground in the castle park, the most beautiful venue for first-class cricket in the country. I too am lucky enough to live in a beautiful area, and being unable to leave the IoW for over 3 months has been no real hardship. I’m very happy to keep clear of thoughtless youths - and not just them, as there also seem to be quite a few of older generations who are behaving as though the whole virus threat is a hoax. But I have a constant reminder from
  9. She needs to turn hard to starboard, or she will miss the channel.
  10. A great picture of MV Hamnavoe, seen at Stromness, from where it does the short crossing to Scrabster (so will not benefit from the promised improvements at Kirkwall). I did the trip last year, and it’s a very comfortable and attractive ship. It was however very lightly loaded, and I did wonder whether they were losing out to the competition from Pentland Ferries, whose route to Orkney is shorter, cheaper and more frequent. We had booked a repeat trip for this April, including the overnight cabin and breakfast offer for the morning sailing from Stromness. When it became clear that the holi
  11. He may not be commuting every day - as far as I know, firefighters have a shift pattern that gives them concentrated periods on duty, followed by several days off.
  12. A good point, but I imagine the thinking is that there will be so few people travelling that it will be easy to maintain social distancing at all stages.
  13. Hovercraft + Hoverbus to station won’t take much longer than the cat. And It appears that Hovertravel were chosen because they carry the mail and pharmaceuticals. I wonder anyway how many of the normal train commuters are key workers still allowed to travel?
  14. Red Eagle did the same yesterday afternoon in a strong westerly - she turned round after departing from Southampton and proceeded ‘backwards’ down Southampton Water before turning again off the Parade in Cowes. The sea was quite bumpy in the Solent but I’ve known worse. One consequence was that the North Lounge, where pets are supposed to go, was at the south end of the ship. Was this simply a means of lessening the movement of the ship or does it relate to Red Eagle’s troubles following the dropped anchor incident?
  15. Indeed, well done them. Whatever their other faults, the Wight Ryders are well-designed for their route and have only rarely been cancelled for bad weather. The fact that they’ve been able to continue while the car ferries haven’t suggests that on this occasion the determining factor has been wind speed rather than sea state.
  16. So the oldest ferry is the only one that can cope with these (admittedly exceptional) conditions. Makes you wonder what will happen when she finally retires.
  17. Definitely an attractive place for a short break - lots of stunning scenery, a great network of footpaths, some big attractions (Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle, IW Steam Railway), and some good places to eat. (Full disclosure - I live here!). But the cost of bringing a car over is a big issue. It can help if you book early or can find special offers. As to which route, you will see from this thread that Wightlink are particularly unreliable at the moment.
  18. Red Funnel have announced that their summer timetables for both car ferry and Redjet services will be introduced a week late because the refit programme is taking longer than expected. Problematic refits all round this winter!
  19. To be fair, I think most regular travellers would not have any complaint about cancellations due to fog, or indeed any other extreme weather. These are facts of life and clearly the master’s judgement on safety has to be respected. But it’s the cancellations due to mechanical breakdown, to equipment not up to the job, or (least forgiveably) unavailability of staff that rankle. All these can fairly be laid at the door of the management.
  20. I entirely agree. In theory the Fishbourne route has got a lot going for it in comparison with Red Funnel - shorter crossing, enough seating, easier escape from the mainland port, A3 better as a route to London (at least for me) - but this all goes for nothing if you cannot count on the service. The risk of spending 2 hours+ waiting after a cancellation is too great. The cancellation of the midnight ferry last Friday night was particularly shocking. This was eventually rescinded when a suitable member of staff was found, but by then some people must have felt compelled to completely rejig
  21. Apparently both - the Wightlink email says it’s due to ‘adverse weather and reduced power on Wight Light’. It’s alarming that even a moderate wind such as we have today is enough to knock out Wight Light. The resulting 2 hour interval service all day will have led to a lot of unhappy customers - really not acceptable.
  22. St Clare passing St Helens on her way to Dunkirk. St Faith still in Southampton. This leaves VoW and Wight Light to maintain the temporary (reduced) timetable by themselves. Has there ever been a time when Wightlink have offered less capacity between Portsmouth and Fishbourne, and what does that say about their market share compared with Red Funnel? The number of sailings on the cat must also be at a historically low level too, now that Wightlink do not charter a relief vessel for the refit period. This can cause difficulty in the rush hours, as happened in the storm a week ago when t
  23. They’re certainly not doing well at the moment. But, as a multi link ticket holder, I’ve just received a Christmas card from Keith Greenfield with some vouchers for free hot drinks. So that’s alright then.
  24. I recall experiencing something similar with one of the Saints years ago on a very rough crossing to Fishbourne.
  25. I agree it is true that reliability has improved greatly (notwithstanding today’s breakdown). But I would treat the published reliability figures with suspicion. For instance, the prolonged absence in August of one of the two cats was hardly reflected in the figures - in such situations Wightlink presumably simply declare a new timetable rather than admit that there have been cancellations. As anyone who has been involved in setting or monitoring performance measures will know, temptations to skew results in one’s favour are hard to resist.
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