Road versus rail: which is the winner?

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Given that I don’t follow soccer these days, my trips to Blackburn are now a once in a blue moon experience, instead of a weekly event.

Last week was, for differing reasons, my third trip in two weeks. Nothing unusual in that, but using my third mode of transport to get there, some interesting comparisons came to mind.

Anyone who knows me realises I prefer rail transport to the archaic roads around the area, so here goes.

I paid for my fare – a snip at £4.40 return, only to sit for three minutes after the timetabled departure time before setting off. As a result, the path into Blackburn was lost, so we sat for another three minutes, awaiting a green light.

Despite the lost minutes, a near on-time arrival shows an almost five-minute reduction on the 20-minute Blackburn to Clitheroe service can be achieved.

This beats driving into town hands down, at around 30 minutes by car, or the journey I did a couple of weeks ago, by bus and using my pass at 40 minutes.

Exiting the railway station through the new and bragged-about foyer (an excellent concept of old station scenes is projected on the walls, sadly utilising a drab grey background instead of perhaps, say, a warmer beige, which lets it down), I was faced with a lump of growing concrete which I believe to be a hotel. Eventually, an excellent view of Blackburn’s best-looking building, the cathedral, is now gone. Tragic.

With my business done, I was back to the station, where non-regular railway passengers like myself, have, I believe, fallen foul of the recent platform changes.

I didn’t realise my mistake until we veered towards Accrington at the Daisyfield Junction. After alighting in Accrington, to return to Blackburn, two things sprang to mind: 1. No toilet facility at the station and 2. The impressive mosque built on the old Northrop area, showing that large, quality builds can still be achieved without masses of concrete. A pity the church/cathedral didn’t put their hands deeper into their pockets. Who wants to stay in Blackburn anyway?

On returning to Blackburn, I whined about the platform changes to be told to “check destination screens”. Good job I’m not blind then. Funny, when the next train came in, it was accompanied by an audio message, obviously proving someone hadn’t done their job previously, so travellers, beware.

A few weeks ago, I decided to go to a match at Ewood, so, using my bus pass, I boarded a comfortable bus only to be thrown about on terrible roads all the way there. We’d only reached Langho after 20 minutes (could’ve been in Blackburn by then if I’d been on the train).

Long gone are the days when you could board a double-decker bus in Downham to alight in Bolton town centre – progress, eh? We finally arrived at Ewood after 53 minutes. I was glad of a lift home after smashing a poor Stoke side, as my previous journey home, using the bus, in the premiership days, had resulted in the 13 mile journey home taking nearly two hours.

I can remember in the early 60s getting home to Whalley by bus after matches in around 45 minutes. So much for road transport. On finishing, needing to get around Blackburn, I used my car, which was ok up to the Petre roundabout, where sadly, The Beatles “Day in the Life” of 1967 is still adhered to, gradually getting worse nearing Blackburn. Don’t worry about Blackburn’s roads though... Last week, I drove around Huddersfield.