Wtd: advice upcoming visit to Bletchley Park / comp museum

Peter Corlett abuse at cabal.org.uk
Sat Jul 6 07:06:12 CDT 2019

On Sat, Jul 06, 2019 at 12:54:28PM +0300, Bill Degnan via cctech wrote:
> Hi...I am arriving at Gatwick Airport this weds evening1045pm and I have a
> 17 hour layover.  I'd like to visit the national computer museum at
> bletchley park about an hour north. [...]

It's actually *two* hours north; three if you want to add a safety margin.
Remember the old saying: 200 years is a long time in the USA, and 200 miles is
a long way in the UK.

I advise against driving, especially if you're unfamiliar with British roads.
It will be both slower and more expensive than the train for this particular
route because London is in the way. Petrol works out at over $7/gal, and you
get to navigate the infamous M25 motorway-cum-car-park. It's debatable whether
it will be more convenient.

There are railway stations at both Gatwick and Bletchley. Bletchley Park is a 3
minute walk from the station.

If you do the standard tourist thing at the ticket office/machine, they'll
screw you to the tune of £42.10 for an "any permitted" return ticket, which
sends you on the Gatwick Express to the wrong side of London, the Tube back
across London, and then another train to Bletchley. More changes between more
modes of transport mean more risk of things going wrong.

A "via Ken[sington] Olympia" ticket is £28.80, which would be my preferred
route anyway. Gatwick to Clapham Junction, a quick change to the next platform,
then onward to Bletchley. You do not need to stop at or change at Olympia.

Both train routes take about two hours; the Olympia one is less frequent and
slower by a few minutes according to the optimistic routing models which think
the Tube pays any sort of attention to the timetable, but tends to be faster in
practice. You might consider buying the more expensive "any permitted" ticket
anyway as insurance to give you more flexibility if things go wrong.

Have a play with https://traintimes.org.uk/GTW/BLY, but if you don't change the
date, it won't show you Olympia routes because they've closed the West London
Line this weekend, ostensibly for maintenance, but possibly just spite. This
won't be the case on Thursday when you're travelling.

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