John Walker's Electronic House

Phew, What A Torture!

by on Jul.19, 2006, under Rants

I think transport hates me.

Last night, coming back from a day in Guildford, my train to Reading was displayed on the board with the ominous claim that it would be 2 minutes late. I have detected a pattern when such short delays are displayed: they are lies. After a couple of minutes it was 3 minutes, and then 5, then 7. At one point there was a pre-recorded tannoy announcement that went, without pause:

“Passengers waiting for the ..21.13 train to ..Reading on platform ..8. We regret to announce that this service is running approximately minutes late. Passengers waiting for the ..21.13 train to ..Reading on platform ..8. We regret to announce that this service is running approximately ..eight minutes late. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The delay was building up faster than they could announce it. We were then told that there was a platform alteration, and to head to platform 6, where the much delayed train to Redhill was sat. Our train then arrived at 21.30 (I was increasingly unlikely to make my connection in Reading at this point, and increasingly frustrated), and we got on board. It didn’t move. At 21.42 we were told to get off the train and go to platform 8 and get the 21.43 to Reading instead. Waiting on platform 8 again, we were then told to get back onto the train on platform 6. I asked which would be faster. The man replied, “The 21.43 is the faster train to Reading. It will be leaving after the 21.13 though, following it to Reading.” I replied, “If the 21.43 is to go faster than the 21.13, and go behind it, then there’s going to be a terrible crash.” Another man in a white shirt with a badge glared at me and snapped, “There isn’t going to be a 21.43 OKAY? This train [he points angrily to the one on platform 6] is knackered. The other train’s going to push this one there!”

Oh, silly old me! How dare I have not known that this would be the case after being told to change platforms four times in 15 minutes?! The train eventually left about 22.00, meaning I was to be missing even the following train to Bath. Which was, of course, delayed by 7 minu… 15 minut… 23 minutes.

And it was all because: the trains were too hot. Not designed to run in snow or rain or leafy conditions, the trains are also not designed for sunny weather. I am looking forward to, “We apologise for the delay. This is due to the overly mild conditions.”

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