The last leg

Its bad enough that I have to change trains ONE stop before my stop, but its even worse when the connecting train is delayed.

But they don’t just tell us it’s 30 minutes late.

Oh no.

They say its 10 minutes late, and then when the 10 minutes is nearly up they add on another 5 minutes and then another 10 minutes etc…until the train finally fucking arrives.

Annoyingly I need to pick up some provisions from ASDA tonight which is practically a stone’s throw from the station I’m stood at.

If I’d known I was going to be stuck here for 30 minutes I would’ve walked to ASDA and got my shit to carry on the train for the ONE stop to my car.

But no…now I have to drive all the way BACK here.

Thanks Friday….you just had to get the boot in before the weekend.

Another delayed journey…

This morning I had the joy of a lift to the train station as my girlfriend isn’t working today.
 
Result.
 
The downside with mentally allocating yourself more time in the morning is that you then tend to over-allocate which today resulted in us leaving much MUCH later than we should have. In fact, I was urging her to take most corners on two wheels.
 
She obliged.
 
And now I need a change of trousers.
 
Anyway, we screeched up outside the station and I jumped out of the car with true action movie prowess; running towards the platform at breakneck speed (or what my legs were capable of at 7:30am this morning) as my train was already there. 
 
Whilst I traversed the bridge over the train I thought to myself that I might even possibly maybe consider the theoretical likelihood that, if the train were to begin pulling away, I would jump off the bridge and onto its roof.  That way I could not only get into work on time, but also defy the laws of inertia by chasing and fighting some Bond-esque villain complete with limp, eye-patch and a briefcase with classified documents, microfilm and ballistic missile launch codes inside.
 
As it happens the train didn’t pull out, so I got on it with seconds to spare.  It seems those top secret codes will get into the enemy hands after all.
 
Ah, what did I care; I got a seat.
 
But hang on, something’s not right.  The train’s departure time had come and gone and we were still sat there.  It was at this point I was filled with dread as the voice of the driver came crackling over the speaker system; “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to our service this morning, but we’re being held at a red signal.”. 
 
No shit?  Really?  I hadn’t considered that.
 
He continued; “Due to a trackside fire at Preston Park there is now a backlog of trains and we’re awaiting platform space at Three Bridges station before we can continue”.
 
Ooh, now that’s a little more exciting.
 
We continued to sit there.
 
At this point I thought I heard uneven footsteps above me, but shrugged it off and decided to text work and let them know I was going to be late due to issues with the trains.  I must admit it was mostly so they knew I was actually awake and hadn’t overslept.
 
We then sat there for a further 20 minutes.
 
During this time I was within earshot of a conversation between two women who were talking at the volume intended to encourage other people to listen.  One of them was complaining that the driver should just use the ‘bypass track’ to miss out the offending station and get us on our way, whereas the other woman was saying that she’s sure they’re doing everything they can to get us on our way.
 
This pointless interaction went on for a while and reminded me of football pundits discussing a game they weren’t involved in, had no control of and ultimately speculating on what the players were actually thinking when in reality they should just shut the fuck up.
 
Soon enough the guard walked through the carriage and was stopped by Mrs Bypass-Track.  She asked why we couldn’t just ‘go around’ the other trains.  The guard tried to explain, through a forced smile that resembled a clown taking a shit, that all the platforms were in use and there were no tracks for us to use.  She still continued to ask why we couldn’t just bypass them, as if the concept of trains and tracks had eluded her.  The guard said they were doing everything they could to get us on our way which resulted in the smuggest look from the other woman who had said the exact same thing not 5 minutes earlier.
 
I knew there was nothing I could do so I sat back, relaxed and closed my eyes for an extended morning train snooze. 
 
I was woken briefly by what sounded like a faint shriek followed by a dull thud and a clatter resembling a briefcase hitting train tracks. 
 
I think the lights flickering slightly too, but then the train started moving so I shrugged it off, closed my eyes again and drifted off.

The weight of waiting.

Standing on the platform waiting for the platform number to be announced for the train we’re all waiting for, despite the fact that we all know its the train in front of us on platform 19. So here we all stand, adamant we have the right train, but unmoving until its made official in bright orange letters on the black backed information board.

And we wait.

And wait.

And we start shuffling around, checking the boards for other platforms in case we might’ve been wrong, even though we know its the one sitting at platform 19. It’s always platform 19.

It’s approaching 5 minutes late now and we’re all getting fidgety, especially as the train at platform 19 has just been vacated by a sea of people with expressions ranging from beaming smiles, to smacked arse.

And we continue to wait.

People are now starting to call friends and family to loudly announce how late they’re going to be, and to dramatically describe the inconvenience it’s causing them.

One guy in particular gets my attention, mostly because he’s stood right in front of me, but also due to the nature of the conversation I can hear at this end. He clearly has a suspicious and untrusting partner on the end of the line.

“Hi it’s me”
“Yeah I’m still here waiting for the 18:02 but its not here yet”
“Yeah I’m stood right in front of it, and it’s not here so I’m going to be late”
“Well I don’t know”
“How can I if there’s no train?”
“I’m telling you, I’m AT the station and there’s no train announced yet”
“Honestly, there really isn’t!”
“I don’t know (sighs), when I get there. I’ll text you when I leave”
“I will!”
“No idea, they haven’t told us anything”
“There’s no-one around to ask”
“I don’t know”
“I said I have no idea; we’re all waiting for the boards to say which platform”
“I AM on the platform, but we’re waiting for it to come up”
“Ok”
“Ok”
“I’m sorry”
“I said I’m sorry”
“Bye”

Jesus!

He’s got a great Friday night to look forward to.

The train is finally announced.

Platform 17.

Guilty guard

The guard on the train this fine Monday morning made an announcement explaining why we’d stopped short of Three Bridges station. He started with: “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I’m sorry about the delay in arriving at the station but we’re waiting for a platform to become available…”

All good so far. Something I hear quite regularly, although I admit I’m a bit pissed off as I’m likely to be late for work now.

He then pauses for what seems an eternity. All we can hear is the background of whichever carriage he’s nested in today, and his breathing. Yes, we’re all sat here listening to a stranger’s breath over the tannoy.

Bit weird and awkward.

A couple of commuters exchange glances that say ‘hmm, this is not only weird, but a little bit awkward too’.

Im glad I’m not the only one thinking it.

He then says ‘erm’ a few times before continuing: “this is, erm, (pause), erm, because of delays caused by, erm, a broken down train between, er, Three Bridges and East Croydon, erm, (long pause), erm….(another long pause…I think he’s going to cry) erm, I, erm, would like to apologise for the ,er, delay and for, erm, any inconvenience caused”. His voice is starting to sound shaky and trails off.

‘Odd’ I think to myself.

And as we’re sat there in silence with only the sound of the train heaters for company I swear, somewhere in the distance, I can hear gentle sobbing.

It’s going to be one of those weeks.