The slow train home

Post length: 684 words, just over 3 minutes.

This train’s not going anywhere very quickly. At least not long distances – we keep stopping but we’ve yet to find out why.  The man on the other side just told someone he was supposed to be getting into Watford for 9pm, but I suspect we’re running late now.  Of course there’s no way to tell.  I’ll be ok, it doesn’t matter if this train is a little late just so long as I don’t miss the last train back from London to Aldershot, which I’d class as ‘highly unlikely’.  Still a delay doesn’t help matters, and it would be nice if they were to tell us why exactly we do keep stopping.

By ‘the man on the other side’, I mean the man sitting on the floor in front of the other door.  This is one of the reasons why I really would prefer this train not to be delayed.  It’s full.  Packed, in fact.  People are generally being quite friendly about it all, but it’s not exactly an enjoyable journey.  And we’ve stopped again.

The other thing which irritates me a little is the way in which, when we got on and following one of the other stations, the guard (or train manager as I think they call them these days) made an announcement about tickets.  Apparently there will be a full ticket inspection.  Ignoring the fact that there has, so far, not been any kind of ticket inspection, I don’t see why he feels a full ticket inspection would be beneficial to anyone on this service.  Now I’m not saying that they shouldn’t bother with it because it’s ok to not pay for the train, I’m saying it because, I’d bet, the majority of people on this service have in fact stuck to the rules and fully paid.  Given this, and the fact we are all squashed in here like sardines, it would be a major inconvenience for our train manager to actually  make his way down the train to ask us to dig out our tickets.  This is assuming he meant he actually would and wasn’t just saying that to put off any would-be fare evaders (though presumably anyone trying to do that wouldn’t be going anywhere to a strict timetable and so wouldn’t cram themselves onto this train…).

Having said that, if he were to check tickets right now I’d be able to ask him why we are still stopped.  I think it must be single line working here – a few trains passing the other way more regularly than normal and the rolling forward like we were a moment ago are both good signs.  Ah, there’s an announcement.  From the driver – the train manager obviously doesn’t want to tell us anything – saying it’s track issues and that there are a few trains ahead of us still.  Single line working it is then.  The lady across the carriage (squeezed in between the man and the suitcase) is on the phone.  It’s really quite amusing.  “I should get half my fare back for having to sit on the floor anyway.”  You don’t use trains much do you, love.  “This is the worst journey I have ever taken.”  Again, you clearly don’t use trains very much. “I’ve listened to my iPod, played some games on my phone, I’ve done everything!”  I’m sorry. Sob, sob.  Another announcement.  We don’t know anything new.

I’m being a bit unfair I think. I do long distance training all the time and it’s very rare to be held up for this long.  It happened last when I went to my brother’s wedding rehearsal.  At least that time I had a seat, it was light outside and they told us what was wrong.  If I were a journalist for one of the right-wing tabloids I’d be screaming about it not being a surprise people don’t use public transport in this country.  I’d also be doing it from my big comfy seat in first class while sipping complimentary drinks.

Someone’s smoking in the toilets.  I can smell it.  Yum.  My phone battery is dead too.  Great.

Posted on Sunday 7th October, 2007 at 7:21 pm in Obiter dicta.
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