Mope-eth

Morpeth station

***BONUS STATION***

I climbed up to the upper deck of the X18 as we departed Acklington. The official best bus seats were taken up by two youths wearing baseball caps, so I took a seat a few rows behind.

The two lads were loudly discussing the criminal records of unnamed acquaintances.

“He got 18 months for manslaughter. He stabbed someone in the fuckin’ back! That’s not manslaughter! That’s murder!”

Then, a bit later: “Wounding: that’s Section 47, that’s 6 months at least.”

It didn’t help that the bus made a detour to serve the visitor centre of HMP Northumberland, which only served to make them nostalgic for old friends who were spending time there. Thankfully they got off at another village soon after and I then had the top deck to myself.

On the bus

The X18 is a double-decker, just a little bit too large for the country roads it uses. We swerved round blind bends, the journey occasionally punctuated by overhanging tree branches banging against the windows. Helpfully, we passed through both Widdrington and Pegswood, two places I would be returning to later in the day, and I did my best to memorise where the bus stops where in relation to the stations. I also spotted something at Widdrington that I thought might come in handy later.

My next destination was Morpeth. I thought it would be as good a place as any to spend the day before resuming my journey to the other stations on the line later that day.

I got off at the bus station. First order of business: some proper breakfast to replace the melted KitKats which had been my only sustenance so far.

Morpeth town centre is full of charming cafés. I, of course, went to Costa Coffee. Look, I was starving and a chain store breakfast roll is a known quantity.

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Burscough No Go

Photo of Burscough Bridge Station Sign, mentioning Martin Mere Wetland CentreRecently I found myself in Burscough with an hour to kill. While I was waiting, I wandered the mean streets. Burscough is a small but pleasant town, with a pleasant high street of independent butchers and bakers (how long they will survive the presence of a giant Tesco nearby remains to be seen).

A quirk of railway geography has resulted in Burscough being provided with two stations on different lines, and my wanderings led me to the more important of the pair: Burscough Bridge. I had heard there was a café there and thought I might be able to combine coffee with Pacer-watching.

This should be considered very much a bonus station, outside the usual blog remit. For starters, it is not in any way a “limited service” station – in fact it is blessed with a half-hourly service between Southport and Manchester for most of the day. Secondly, I did not arrive or leave by train or official rail replacement bus. Finally, I didn’t get a photo of myself under the station sign (because I forgot, to be honest).

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