When you discover you have a free all day (off peak) ticket for Chiltern Railways what do you do?
In this case the answer was to plan a route that took in as much as possible of Chiltern’s route map while simultaneously avoiding the use of any trains which arrive in Birmingham or London before 10:00 (because that’s what off peak means). Here’s how our day went:
We arrived bright and early to catch the first train to Aylesbury (the 07:27) only to discover it had been cancelled due to ‘disruptive passengers’! We took the opportunity to grab a (very pleasant) station coffee and waited for the next train at 07:56.
We arrived with enough time to nip across the road to Morrisons to stock up on a few provisions before heading back to the station to see our next train arrive. Imagine our delight to see it was a real slam-door train and look at the British railways logo.
No time for more than a quick stroll about here before catching our next train.
We had a lovely chat here with a charming gentleman who was travelling to collect a canal boat and resisted the urge to go shopping in Bicester Village (if only the day was longer).
A lovely and surprisingly tiny station we stopped only to change trains to start our shortest journey of the day (11:06 to 11:09).
We took a break from the railway here to walk up the Hatton flight of locks. We took time to enjoy the view and to chat to a homeless chap who regaled us with his recent life story. Finally the rain drove us to retreat to the Hatton Arms (a delightful pub). At this point the timetable compelled us to walk back swiftly to the station to catch yet another train.
Birmingham Snow Hill/Moor Street
We arrived at Birmingham Snow Hill and decided to walk through the city to Moor Street station to take the Mainline train. On the way we took the time to look at Birmingham Cathedral. I was thrilled to discover that it contains some amazing Burne-Jones stained glass (he’s my favourite Pre-Raphaelite artist).
After the longest journey of the day we took a break to grab some supper before regretfully taking our last train home.
Stoke Mandeville Again
Just after midnight we arrived back where we started having been travelling for over sixteen hours and having had an amazing day out. Thanks must go to Chiltern Railways for making it possible.