East Midlands Trains Class 153. Note that curiously the serial number on the side is 52319, but the number on the front 53319.
That special whine-growl of the diesel engine of the accelerating Sprinter, and we roll through the countryside. I do the cross-word puzzles—the Quick Clues is no problem, the Cryptic Clues is more of an effort, perhaps not more so than Geijerkorsordet in Dagens Nyheter, but it still nags at my language confidence.
We get delayed (a hallmark for this journey, it seems) and miss our connection in Peterborough, but it turns out trains to London run about every ten minutes, so we don't have to suffer the pouring rain for long. It feels very luxurious to just wave our Interrail tickets at the conductor.
Eventually we are at King's Cross again. I stand in an interminable queue to buy three-day travelcards for the London Underground, which for some reason can not be bought in the ticket machines, even though one-day travelcards can be. Ah, the Tube, the accumulated heat of more than a hundred years of trains and surely a milliard people. The Victoria Line, we find, has exactly two Accessible stations, none of which we will pass, so we have to carry our luggage down and up stairs. I check my map to locate the best way to continue from Victoria. We're soon by the quiet park of Vincent Square and I'm having déja vu feelings. We check in at the Grange Wellington Hotel but it's only when I visit the bathroom in the corridor that the memory clicks: This is the former Wellington Hall of King's College London, where I stayed a weekend twelve years ago. In the meantime the premises have gone from cheap to shabby. Still, they're reasonably adequate. (Googling around, I later find that King's College London started selling off their student housing in 2001, in an effort to improve their finances. This was not appreciated by the students..)
Having installed ourselves, we go out to introduce London to Honeybuns. Late lunch at an Italian diner, good food but snotty service. No tip.
Regent Street of course, where we hurry through the rain to Hamleys. We're both childishly interested in toys and spend a couple of hours going through the entire shop. They still have model kits, though set up in an interesting fashion: at one end of the floor they have the Revell kits, at the opposite end they have the Airfix kits, together with all other brands owned by Hornby, i e mostly model railway stuff. No Tamigawa kits anywhere. Hm.
We saunter down to Piccadilly Circus and meet up with an old friend of mine, find a cafe and bring each other up to date on our lives. Honeybuns patiently abides us talking shop.
My friend finally has to return to his family and we stroll past Trafalgar Square, where there is some kind of performance going on on the Fourth Plinth. We continue down to the Thames and take lots of touristy pictures of the Houses of Parliament and such. We return to our hotel room, which seems quite uninfested by cockroaches or any other kind of invertebrate life, and while the bed makes interesting squeaky noises it is more comfortable than it seems and we soon fall asleep.
Update. Of course Wikipedia has all answers. Class 153 units are originally two-car units, with a separate number for the individual car and the unit. Thus, the pictured unit is car 52319, but unit 153319.