Tuesday, 3 April 2007

I Heart British Rail

Once again, we apologise for the delay. This is due to a multi-storey gargantuan reptile wandering randomly causing widespread carnage and wanton destruction. An ASBO will be issued to the offending creature to prevent such future recurrences.

I take the train to work. One thing I can absolutely depend on is its tardiness. The only thing I can't depend on is how tardy it would be. Yesterday the delay was 20 minutes; last week it was one hour. The last 5 explanations I personally heard proffered for delays were:

1) There is a slow carriage ahead
2) We are currently waiting for a free platform
3) There is a problem with the tracks
4) There is a speed restriction
5) There is a signal failure
6) Sometimes there is no explanation at all. It's just normal to be late.

Last week on the sardine packed tardy carriage, I bumped into David and Claire returning home prematurely from work when I was on my merry way to work. Claire felt that the state of British Rail had improved considerably of late, as we sat in the totally stationary stifling carriage. I think my expression was somewhere between dead and pan. But yes, on reflection I think she was correct. Not so long ago British trains were seemingly delayed because of "leaves on the track"...."I don't know what the problem is, I'll just have a look" (SC on Virgin Cross Country service at Oxford, early Nov 1996)..."Deranged female on line" (SC of Leeds - King's Cross train, North of Finsbury Park, circa 1994)..."Children surfing on the side of trains"..."Waiting for the other driver" (Birmingham New Street 1994, when HSTs needed 2 drivers)..."Train is delayed due to Madonna" (at Liverpool Street, 1995 (Great Eastern decided to hold the last train of the evening to allow concert-goers to return from Wembley).

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