Thursday, 27 December 2007

Take the National Express when your life's in a mess...

The song is wrong. It didn't make me smile. Having spent a fruitful genealogical day at the General Register Office in Edinburgh, Didactophobe arrived at Waverley Station about 4.30 for a train to Glasgow. I knew engineering work was playing havoc with services and I was just too late for the Scotrail trains to Queen Street and to Glasgow Central which were just leaving. Like any infrequent visitor to Waverley, I have never managed to figure out the platform layout, which is peculiar to say the least.

However, there was a late running National Express East Coast Mainline service about to arrive at Platform 19, which I was able to locate. The train trundled in about 10 minutes late, which the train manager helpfully announced was due to delays at Peterborough. Fair enough. It would only stop at Motherwell and would arrive at Glasgow around 5.35.

I was jolly hungry by this point, so Didactophobe located the buffet car. "What do you have to eat?" I asked hopefully. The helpful man behind the counter indicated the two leftover sandwiches which were all the stock he had left. Chicken tikka and chicken-something-else. Not much good for a veggie. The guy had a good go - credit where it is due. He highly recommended the chicken tikka.

So Didactophobe resolved to starve. Let's be honest - I expected the train to arrive comfortably before the ETA - why should it take nearly an hour to travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow with just one stop?

The train trundled along, taking an inordinate amount of time to pass Carstairs and arrive at Motherwell. Peterborough Schmeterborough - it hadn't made up a damn second of time. At about 5.50, the train arrived at Glasgow Central - or at least I thought it had.

The train came to a halt just shy of the platform. Nothing. Then there was an announcement from the driver for the guard to contact him. Then the guard announced there was a points failure just ahead of us. An engineer would come out and change the points manually, and the train would move again in about 5 minutes.

Cobblers! A good 15 minutes later we were still stuck: the update from the guard was that there were now three engineers working on the line ahead of us. After at least 30 minutes of being stranded, we finally reached the station. An hour and three quarters to travel 50 miles.

Back on 24 September I had a rant about public transport. Much the same applies today.

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