19th century stations with 21st Century trains.

I’m not sure if I love railway stations because I love trains or if there is something about them that I love in and of itself.

Paddington is a classical iron and glass station with brick front, but it has been expanded and reworked so it is an intriguing mix of classical and modern, upgraded for the Heathrow Express and the new High Speed (relatively speaking) Great Western trains.  We took the Great Western to Bristol.  More on those trains later.  

St. Pancras International serves the South West of England and the Eurostar train through the Channel Tunnel.  It also is the termination for high-speed trains to Kent in South East England.  It also serves commuter trains and has trains to some of London’s “other” airports.   It’s attached to the St. Pancras Hotel where we stayed.  We took the high-speed Javelin to Dover to meet the ship. 

Charring Cross has a new train shed but the waiting room is the classic brick, steel and glass, with a fine old clock.  Many commuter services run from Charring Cross.

We took the high-speed Great Western to Bristol.  The website for Great Western shows the Queen riding on one of their new trains, in First Class, we went second.  Here are some pictures from the Bristol Meads Station.  I love the flowers that grow under the tracks of the high-speed trains.

There are 50 new train sets made by Hitachi in Great Britain.  The trains travel at 125 MPH, that’s 200 KPH.  It took us a little over an hour to reach Bristol.  It would have taken 2 on the normal train.

East Coat Mainline are faster, on a track designed for the Eurostar. They travel at up to 186 MPH (300 KPH).  We originally booked on the standard train, that would take about two hours and 20 minutes but when I realized that Monday was a Bank Holiday and if I took an off-peak high speed it would cost the same.  So we made the trip in just about an hour and 10 minutes.

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