On Tuesday afternoon we cut loose and headed to Milton Keynes (that’s pronounced KEENS) a large suburban town about an hour’s train ride from London.
In order to get to Milton Keynes, you need to go to Euston Station, to take the Virgin Trains northbound line which terminates at Birmingham. Unlike major US cities like New York, where you have maybe 2 major rail terminals (Grand Central and Penn Station, which are connected by a shuttle subway line) London has a lot of different rail terminals that do not for the most part connect with each other. This is is a throwback to the Victorian Age where there were many terminals run by different companies that competed with each other. They did eventually consolidate somewhat, and Network Rail runs a lot of them (10 of which are in London!) but the British rail system can still be confusing.
Euston was the first inter-city railway station to be built in London, although little of the original station remains. The public outcry surrounding the demolition of the original Victorian terminal and its replacement with the modern structure that stands today is often compared with the public reaction surrounding the demolition of the Gilded Age-style Penn Station in NYC which similarly was demolished in the 1950-1960’s to make way for the Penn Station that sits below Madison Square Garden. It is ironic that NYC Grand Central Station’s preservation can be owed to legislation enacted as a result of the lessons learned by what happened to the two historic terminals.
South Park ad on a double decker. Kickass!
A particularly cool paint job on a London black cab.
Euston Station and pasties await. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Euston Station main terminal concourse
Pasty Shoppe #1
Exhibit #1. Cornish Pasties, a traditional handheld baked pie that originates from Cornwall. They come in a number of savory flavors. I opted for a Beef and Stilton Cheese.
Cornish pasty #1.
Cornish pasty #1 interior cross section.
I washed it down with a British Coke, which I will add is superior to the American version because it is made with real sugar. In the US, we can only get real Coke a few weeks a year during the Passover season, which is coming up real soon.
There is also a pasty shoppe in the courtyard area outside of Euston Station. It sits between a Krispy Kreme concession (!!!), a Starbucks stand (gah!) and a Bagel (???) shop.
Fourteen pounds ($28!!!) for two dozen donuts? You call that a deal?
Pasty Shoppe #2.
This place had a slightly different selection of pasty flavors. I went with the Lamb and Mint one.
Pasty #2 interior view.
I needed to see this heresy for myself.
HERESY!!! BEGONE YOU EVIL SPAWN!
EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!
After the delicious pasties and the traumatic bagel store, we headed down to the tracks to catch our train.
One of the older style trains.
High speed commuter trains pulling into the station.
Zipping along the English countryside at 120MPH.
The train is tight, but the seats are comfy.
Whoosh! Now this is what I call rail travel.