Dom’s 32 Hours On Trains In the UK Challenge Report – part 5 – Penzance – London Paddington

In this part, I should write about my trip that should be from Penzance* to London Paddington, but it wasn’t due to storm crippled a railway network

More about my plan for a challenge can be found here:

Table of contents for this report can be found here:


I finally arrived at Plymouth where train terminated.


At Plymouth was clear that all passengers from CrossCountry train will be able to travel to Penzance on the badly delayed train to Penzance operated by GWR. This train will, however, stay on the platform for another 60-90 minutes.

The train that should bring us to Penzance
The train that should bring us to Penzance

At the time I was already exhausted. I knew I have a few options.

  1. Carry on the trip and change somewhere in Cornwall.
  2. Wait in Plymouth for Night Rivera train.
  3. Take any train to London Paddington
  4. Go to the hotel and buy a ticket for the train the next day.

At first, I thought it is time to make a call a try to take the train to London Paddington, but then I discovered that train I just saw leaving platform was the last one. While I was considering my options, I met Chris(?)- Train station manager. Who asked me do I need help, so when I explain what I am doing (You know, usual. You are going from where? Aberdeen. ABERDEEN? and you going to? Penzance where I have a connection. Connection to where? London Paddington . PADDINGTON???). He said, he will take care of me, but he needs to fix the more urgent problems first. He brought me coffee and went somewhere.

I knew It is too risky to travel towards Cornwall if so many things went wrong but waiting on the platform wasn’t a too great idea either but give me a chance to go to a hotel if I will give up travelling.

When he back, he told me that he check the situation with Night Rivera train and good news it will run and bad news is it will be at least 2 hours late as staff is on the way there (I think some of them was on the train that should go to Penzance with all passengers from my train).

I knew I was too tired to wait extra 2 hours for night Rivera (5 in total), but then out of nowhere, there was an announcement that there is a delayed (just 167 minutes) train to London Paddington. After a quick chat, I decided to travel on this train and abandon travel on Night Rivera train because I doubt I will enjoy it a trip after a few hours of waiting on the platform after 25 hours of travelling. Purpose of this trip was to enjoy travel on the train. So use GWR train instead. As expected this trip didn’t go smoothly either, because the first driver was required by law to take a 15-minute break and then we were delayed due to the poor condition of the track but honestly? I just sit down, relax, drink coffee and beer, watch some Dennis Bunnik experience in first-class loungers and aeroplanes and enjoy the view of UK at night.


I feel a bit sad that I didn’t use Night Rivera train, but at least I enjoy a quiet ride in an almost empty train. GWR uses ancient “InterCity 125” sets. The standard class looks like one big plastic toilet for me. IT feels like travelling on premium pacer train. It is the most awful design of this type of train. Even XC’s Voyagers look much better and are much more comfortable. First class seats look much better, and there are more comfortable, but it is hard to feel comfortable. For some odd reasons, seats with tables were designed by the person who imagines average customer as a vivid fan of being anorexic. The table feels bigger than on Voyager.


However, these ancient trains have a buffet car which is excellent as they make food on board which usually much better than chemical sandwiches. The catering on this train was unique to say at least. Sadly, they didn’t have hot meals, but there was a basket of food waiting for people to take it and eat, for free. As sandwiches were for free and I was starving, so I will not say anything bad about them. However, selection of the beers and juice are very decent like for trains.

Dinner at night

Anyway back to the trip.

Our trip was slow, but we make progress, and we manage to I get to Paddington at … 2.55am. When I arrived in London Paddington, as usual, there was no stuff to help, and after I found station manager, he simply ignores few passengers at first, but GWR at London was always ghastly and shitty.  They didn’t offer any help.


Speaking of staff. My experience with customer service was usually shoddy. This time was much better in most cases. Even The Twitter staff reply once with something useful.

I must say the staff on the train is usually quite good. I can’t judge staff on the train as staff looked depressed. I can just imagine that they must have a very rough day. A staff that was with us on the second leg of the journey was excellent and honest.  Train manager said that I will be in trouble because if get Paddington staff will do everything to ensure they will not help us with anything and especially taxi due to policy ( Oh boy, he was right).

Staff in Plymouth did absolutely best they can do to help people as best as they could. I got excellent help from many of them, and I am grateful for that.

Staff in Paddington … you know what? Let ‘s try to not swear here, so let’s say that they were up to their poor reputation.

I feel so sorry for people left out at the station.

In my case, somebody got a taxi for free, and I join it. I end up in the middle of nowhere in Hillingdon.  I ask the driver if he can give me a lift to my home, and I will pay for it, but he called a company. They said he is not allowed to do it. So while I was sitting in the taxi. I downloaded the application. Request a taxi from where I was and … I got a taxi that I was in :).

Meanwhile on Night Rivera train …

Revised times for Night Rivera

From what I check train from Plymouth (that I should be on) arrived after 1.30 am in Penzance. Night Rivera train departed at 1.39 and arrived at Plymouth at almost 4am! It means, if I stay, I will wait 7 hours!  Night Rivera train didn’t arrive at London Paddington either. They terminated that train at Reading at 7.30am being 211 minutes late :).


It means 3 out of 3 trains I used on my adventure didn’t arrive at the destination. In the next part, I will share my thoughts about this trip and give some summary.





2 thoughts on “Dom’s 32 Hours On Trains In the UK Challenge Report – part 5 – Penzance – London Paddington

  1. […] I felt a bit tired after sitting for 15 hours (+ night trip ) but it was time to figure out what to do next as in theory Night Rivera should depart from Penzance in 45 minutes and I am in Plymouth. In the next blog entry, I will talk about events that happen during my last leg of my journey and no, it didn’t go smoothly.… […]


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