Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ranting about trains

Ok, so I know I'm better off catching a train, and I know in the year we've been in Cardiff I've had more good journeys with First Great Western than bad. And I know the vast majority of the bad journeys have been nothing to do with First Great Western but man, why do trains just seem to add to the general SAD which the autumn and winter months promote.
We moved to Cardiff last October, but admittedly my need to be in London on a weekly basis only really came about in January, before then I was still driving a fair bit and not as regular a traveller to London... so maybe it was the same last year.

But, they got me, they lulled me into the false sense of security. Nine months of trains arriving on time, and trains reaching their destination on time.

Admittedly, one of the first trains I caught when I moved here did just go speeding past- but hey, I ended up with a new pair of shoes, I started catching trains from Cardiff rather than Bridgend, and wrote a post about it. All's well that ends well.

And there was a time earlier this year where I was heading back from Sheffield, and the train was delayed, and I would've missed my connection at Birmingham... had that train not also been delayed... irony.

I digress.
In September I had my first bad experience, my train usually gets into London 0900.
Something was supposedly wrong with the track at Chipping Sodbury. We had to wait (hours) for someone to inspect the track. It turned out the track was fine.
I had a Judging Panel, which I was meant to be running, at 1000. I arrived in time for lunch.
Rightly or wrongly, my Chair decided I should join via telephone. I have nothing but sympathy for my fellow passengers, listening to me drone on... but hey, I am 'she who must obey'.
If it hadn't been for meetings the following day I probably would have got to Paddington and boarded the next train home...

And then there's been fatalities, and that's that.

And then, more recently there's been flooding. Not only did journey times double but only half the usual number of trains were running.
But in that were hints of comradery... from those who had managed to bag seats.
And that's life... but it went on for just over a week, I celebrated on being on the first train not having to take the detour... but it still ran 20 minutes late because of signalling problems. But I was in no hurry to get to my first meeting, so hey ho.

Despite 'normal service is resumed' my return journey home still resulted in a fifteen minute delay. Which meant missing my connecting train. And having little choice but to ask Mr J to pick me up, with the three little people, two of whom should have been tucked up in bed.
But it was so lovely to be greeted at the train station by the gorgeous people who I had missed so much. With Squeaks pointing at Cardiff Central Station asking "Is this where you work mummy?"

This week I sort of found my frustration.
Monday:
The 0655 arrived into Cardiff with one carriage 'missing'.
And then, slow running trains, something or other going on in Oxford.
For no apparent reason we got into Paddington 30 minutes late.
Oh, and there is no way the heating was working- it was freezing.

I know I have rose tinted spectacles. But I can't remember any reason aside from snow creating delays on my Manchester-London journeys.
I even did that journey a few weeks ago, where I could not help but laugh at the "b*stard Frenchman" (his words not mine) commend our "trains and metro" on being so much better than those in France, and as such he spends the majority of his year in this country.
Oh, to be so positive.

Yes, I know, I get so much work done on my journeys that its infinitely better than driving. And if I don't want to work I can sleep or daydream.
But at a time when I'm disillusioned by work, and travelling in 'my own time' every little thing is just another thing to multiply to infinity in terms of frustration.

The thing I have yet to fathom is, why does it seem that when the weather is fine the trains are fine, and when it's cold, miserable and dark the trains go to pot?

Rant over, I've just booked my ticket for the 0624 tomorrow morning.... maybe the 0655 is an unlucky train?!

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