Well, that was brief, wasn't it? After months of being told not to bother with non-essential travel, and then a few months of generally not wanting to die, I finally got up the courage to go back on the trains. To Dudley, of all places.
It was all going so well. And then Omicron arrived and spoiled it all.
As a consequence, 2021 moved the totals on the West Midlands Railway Map project, but just a little. This year I collected a grand total of TWELVE more stations:
- Dudley Port
- Sandwell and Dudley
- Telford Central
- Bescot Stadium
- Tame Bridge Parkway
None of them, sadly, will enter the hall of fame. I'd made plans for at least one final trip in December, but life and a virus intervened, so 2021 ends with a rather disappointing haul. When I can leave the house again, I think I'll aim to do a few actually nice places, just to begin with, so I don't spend all my time in back streets and waste ground. The West Midlands aren't coming off as especially lovely in all this.
What does that mean for the totals? Actually it means a nasty surprise for me. I returned to my spreadsheet, where I simply add in the totals, and I realised that I'd been adding the numbers up wrong. I'd been keeping a correct tally of how many stations I'd visited - but I'd been comparing it to the old number of stations on the map, a couple of revisions ago. Now there were a lot more stops and so suddenly my percentage completed plummeted. I'd thought it was going surprisingly well.
Anyway, the point is there are 164 stations on the map, and I've been to 63, meaning there's 101 left. So if I had managed to get out in December I'd have knocked the number remaining to under 100, which is really, really annoying.
There's still plenty to do. There are entire branches that are untouched. Far-flung cities with uncollected stations. There's also the issue of Horden station, sitting on the Northern map, gleaming and unvisited. All I need is permission from the government and a fantastic face mask.