Clyde coast day out
Boat trains
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2023
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
11 August 2023
The worst value journey of the day by far!). On arrival, I found I had nearly an hour to wait for the next train back to Glasgow - ideal for some photography of this truly stunning station, and a quick snack in the excellent café. Soon I’m heading eastwards again, with glimpses of the Clyde for much of the journey. From Central I would walk to Queen St. to catch one of the frequent and fast trains via Falkirk High to Waverley. Checking the timetables, I’d be there in good time for a Kings Cross-bound train - another LNER Azuma. But it could be busy - and both trains would call at Haymarket. I’ll change there instead, for some new photo opportunities I needn’t have worried about getting a seat - the train was well- filled but not full. I had to pity those poor passengers travelling further. I wouldn’t have wanted to sit on that uncomfortably- hard seat for more than the 20-odd minutes back to Dunbar, and as for the noise! No, not the passengers (despite their best efforts with their phones and “personal” audio), but the train itself! Whenever (so it seemed) power was applied, there was a high-pitched electronic screaming sound coming from somewhere. I could hear it clearly from the platform at Dunbar as the train pulled away. Terminal tinnitus! Dreadful! Noisy train notwithstanding, what a great day out this had been! Every train had been on time to the minute, every train well-used but not full, and every train had been clean, comfortable (apart from the last leg) and spacious. Even the weather had been good. Clyde coast? Who needs the Med!
We’re staying in Dunbar for a few days, and today, with fine weather forecast, I’m allowed a day out… A day return to Glasgow gets me started. First, an LNER ‘Azuma’. At Waverley, the next westbound train is at the nearby platform face - it’s for Glasgow Central via Shotts, which was one of today’s objectives. Not a fast journey, but much more comfortable than it would have been when I watched such services depart Waverley, formed of elderly first-generation DMUs (see Afternoon at Waverley, 8 August 1991) My plans were fairly loose, I have to say. I bought a ticket to Largs, then realised I’d have a long wait at Central - until I found a train running half-an-hour earlier to Ardrossan Harbour (serving the ferry to Arran). I could go through to the terminus there (a single platform), then ride back to Ardrossan South Beach and await the Largs train… At Largs, after a few quick station photos, I walked down to the pier, where the Loch Riddon was loading. “Day return to Great Cumbrae, please”. Just £3.60 lighter, I was on the water within minutes for the short crossing. I’d have had plenty of time to take the short island bus ride to Millport, but being unsure of time scales, I set foot on the island then, minutes later, rejoined the Loch Riddon for the return crossing. I needn’t have worried. I waited half-an-hour for the 15 minute interval bus service to Wemyss Bay (£5.50 for about 6 miles.
Start here! Dunbar Waverley arrival Central arrival Glasgow Central Two of a kind MacBrayne's MV Caledonian Isles 380 105 at Ardrossan Harbour 380 105 leaves Ardrossan South Beach At the junction: 380 111 arrives from Largs Largs: 380 115 Largs slip: Loch Riddon MV Bute at Wemyss Bay Entrance Ticket hall This way to the ferry 385 038 arrives at Wemyss Bay Ready to depart Queen Street: 156 453 385 023 arrives at Haymarket 170471 passes 158 730, Haymarket At Margadh an Fheòir Azuma arrival: Haymarket Azuma departure: Dunbar