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Adventures in the UK

February 8th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Preface. I’m in London – going to Birmingham, then on to Coventry and up to Darlington. Can I have a ticket for this, I ask the sales person. Sorry mate he says, no way. See… Coventry is on the west coast route and Darlington’s on the east . But cant I switch from one to the other, I ask, perplexed. Of course, he says, no problem. But they are run by different companies so I cant issue you one ticket. In fact you need three different tickets. Oh well , should have guessed.

And we’re off. for another fun packed adventure away a day of Britain’s creaking rail network.

the first leg – an early morning trip form Birmingham to Coventry. Not much can go wrong surely – its not very far. And in fact in starts well? We get an earlier train than expected due to the previous train running 19 minutes late.

Beautiful morning Cold and sunny, with a bit of frost on the ground. What. Oh dear. ‘We apologise for the late running of the train, says the attendant on the loudspeaker. This is due to the cold weather freezing the points. Yes, well. But is only around zero degrees out there. But OK – we were only ten minutes or so late into Coventry.

Later in the day (about two in the afternoon, Coventry to Birmingham. Cold but beautiful sunny day. We apologise for the late running of this train, says the attendant. This is due to there being icicles in the tunnel requiring the need for restricted running. Hm, not an attack of the killer three foot icicles. Oh well ony 10 or so minutes late.

And then a spot of luck. The Glasgow east coast train which I though I had missed is twenty five  minutes late so I get it. And they even switch the platform to where I am to make it easy for me.

We apologise says the attedant for the late running of this train due to an early fatality in Leamington. When, where, who, why, we will never know. But I suppose a fatality is a fatality, even in Leamington. ‘And we apologise, he says (I think the main training for train attendants in the UK is in apologizing_ for the overcrowding on this train. This is because we are three coaches short. Um, yes.

He’s trying hard. In fact later, when repeating the apologies for the benefits of new passengers, he adds. And I’ve just heard there was a problem with the gas in Oxford earlier, which may have contributed to our delay. Despite the fact that Oxford in over 100 miles away and the train has not gone near Oxford. Oh well.But he is optimistic. Its a good stretch past York, he says. We’ll have a go at making some of the time back.

Well we are getting there., At least I’ve got a seat, unlike the poor buggers standing in a row in the aisle. And I guess if this ever gets posted on my blog I must have finally arrived somewhere!

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