Whilst on holiday in Cornwall recently, I thought I would take the train to Penzance having found that it was just £6.90 for a day return. Whilst waiting for my own train, I got excited when the station annoucement said that the next train heading in the opposite direction would be the "Cornish Riviera". When I was a nipper, one of the more famous trains in the UK was the "Cornish Rivieria Express" (similar in concept to "The Fying Scotsman") and implied glamour and luxury. It had a dining car, too. Of course then the train was hauled by a powerful Great Western Railway steam locomotive (not my photo).
So I was rather disappointed to find that today's "Cornish Riviera" has had the word "Express" dropped and looked just like any other High Speed Train (HST); no name board or any visual indication to indicate that this was something slightly special. That said, it is two hours quicker to do the journey from Penzance to London than it was when steam-hauled. The HSTs were built between 1975 and 1982 in Crewe and, apparently, are the fastest diesel locomotives in the world with a top speed of 148 mph (238 km/h) and a regular service speed of 125 mph (201 km/h). They are due to be phased out from January next year; the replacements will save 14 minutes on the journey to London.
My return trip from Penzance was on a similar train; this was named as "The Royal Duchy" but again nothing to indicate that on the train.
Please excuse me for not commenting today; I'm doing something else on my list of Things to do before I grow up". I'm off to the Wildfowl and Wetland's Trust Centre at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, hoping to see lots of over-wintering birds from other countries as well as the UK species. It's somewhere I've wanted to go to a great number of years, probably since I saw BBC TV's first live wildlife series from the Centre back I guess in the early 1960s. I'm going with a friend who knows the difference between an Osterich and an Oystercatcher so I'm hoping to learn something, too. I especially looking forward to seeing those big white birds with long necks - Long Handled Ducks? I've hired a big lens for the camera so hopefully I can get close shots of waterfowl.
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