Grr, Argh and other such irritated sounds November 18, 2008Posted by Lauren Cooke in Uncategorized.
Tags: journeys, trains, UK
After reading SecondhandShopper’s Train Disaster last week,
I allowed myself an uncharacteristic moment of affection for the train industry in this country. I though, smugly to myself, that if trains weren’t so chaotic, then the people of Britain would be disappointed.
I now thoroughly rebuke that view, and am totally and utterly fed up with trains of all shapes and sizes. I am fed up with the warm, piped air breezing through the carriage. I am fed up of the scent of disinfectant and sweat that haunts every toilet cubicle. I am fed up with the chore of lifting your bag out of the rail, and of being elbowed in the side by a thousand different strangers.
As you may be able to tell, I had a bad (Nay, Horrific) train journey this week.
I had journeyed up to see my good friend Nommi, in lovely Manchester. This is one of my favourite cities, and I always enjoy being that far north and hence close to Lancaster again. Nommi is at uni currently, and I hoped to just have a night of girly gossiping and relaxing TV watching. This, thankfully, was the case, and we sat up until the morning watching reality TV and Wall-E (much to my shame and surprise, an excellent, touching and most enjoyable film). We did lots of gossiping, and just the right amount of reminiscing. Lovely.
The next day, however, I made my way up the light and airy Manchester platform, and onto my train. I had a seat book (organised as ever) and wasn’t at all worried or stressed about the journey that faced me. Once I reach the doors of the train, however, I realised it was going to be a different story. The train was packed – jam packed I’m-never-going-to-get-to-my-seat kind of packed. Resolutely, I joined my new friends, inhabitants of the foremost vestibule of carriage D. At each station, more people got on, and soon enough there were 30 of us in the vestibule – and 5 of us unlucky fellows crammed into the toilet compartment, perching unhygenically on toilets and handrails.
Thinking ahead is rarely my forte, but on this occasion I had a large bag of chocolate éclairs in my bag, and the 30 of us handed them round to munch on during the long and uncomfortable journey. As always happens in situations where people are forced to be in close proximity with one another, I was delighted to seed us all chatting away, exchanging life stories and agreeing wholeheartedly that this was the worst train we had ever been on.
At Leamington (having been unable to buy a ticket from Birmingham to Leam on the train, and unable to get off to buy one at Birmingham) I informed the gate controller that the train had been appalling, and that I wasn’t willing to pay for the last bit of my ticket. After al, if I went to restaurant and was stuck in a toilet for three hours without a single apology, I simply wouldn’t have paid! After threatening me with the transport police, and driving me to tears in the centre of Leamington station, I bought a ticket (had he explained this was the only option, the whole sorry mess wouldn’t have occurred).
Today I sent my letter of complaint off!
I hate British trains!