Train travesties.

I have commuted between Leamington Spa and Oxford for the last 3 and a half years now. I feel I should be playing some nostalgic violin music as I look back on these years of weirdness and exhaustion. I suspect I will actually miss this commute, although not the times when things got  a little too crazy.

I think I will miss it because as an introvert who sucks at mornings, I use it as my time to come into myself and to wake up. It takes me 40 minutes on the train, and then a 20 minute walk to the lab, and it really seems to take me that long just to go from zombie to functional. I don’t know what would happen if I could just go to work without an hour long commute, would my mind ever enter my body, or would it stay in dream land forever?

Anyway, apart from really scary druggie people who appear to be possesed (cannot find my post about this guy), late trains, delayed trains, no seats on trains, like, ever, the fact that trains shut down if it gets hot, cold, snows, rains, or if there are leaves on the track, or freaking cows on the track (!), clinging onto the roof because the train is so packed, sitting on the floor by the toilet, signal failure, broken down freight trains, unexplained two hour late tains – apart from all of that, the train journey is pleasant and a good way for me to zone out.

To be honest I will miss complaining about all the madness that goes on during my train journeys. I will probably make a point of trying to take the train or bus in South Africa just to fuel me with something to bitch about.

Anyway, this week has been particularly challenging in terms of commuting and I feel that as I am about to leave, the commuting genie is throwing me some gems.

On Wednesday, when my train came, I got on and it sat at Oxford station for about an hour. Some kind of signal failure was occuring. We all sat and sat… until the train driver announced that this train was going back to the South instead of going North.

Yikes! We all jumped off and milled around the platform. Then the station staff announced that all people going North would have to take a train to London, persuade the tube staff to let us travel for free to London Euston, and get a train from there.

Euuugh. This was not good news. It would add 2-3 hours to our journeys. I only live 40 minutes away from Oxford. The people trying to get further North would be travelling all night. But it was odd because usually if you just sit tight the signal failure will be fixed. In all my years of commuting, I have never been advised to do this. They usually just tell you to wait, and wait, and wait…

Sure you might have to wait an hour or even more, but it is still better than trekking to London and dealing with tube frenzies and the possiblity that the signal failure is blocking London trains too. By telling us that we needed to go to London they were indicating that Oxford station was kaput for the rest of the day with no hope of being fixed. Only then would it make sense to go to London.

Turns out it was the worst advice ever! I, along with everyone else, jumped on the next train to London and phoned the BFG to tell him the situation giggling like a mad wench at this ridiculous state of affairs.. He spoke to our local train station. They said the problem was fixed and Oxford trains were running again.

So 5 minutes after they told us that it was the end of all Oxford trains and we needed to go to London, the problem was fixed. If we had just waited like they normally made us do, everything would have been fine, bar the minor one hour delay (ha. Relatively minor). The idiocy of this just astounds me.

No train person announced this fact to us. I cunningly jumped off the train at the next stop and missioned back to Oxford. But all the other people who had been misguided into that harebrained mission probably went to London for no reason. If I had had a loud hailer, perhaps I could have been of use.If it wasn’t for my BFG, who is a star, and went and asked for me, I would have been home very late and very miserable. What were the Oxford platform managers smoking?

What a train smash of a day, so to speak.

The next morning my train could not leave Leamington Spa because a man was causing trouble, apparently removed his pants, and would not get off the train. Unfortunately I missed all the exciting clothing removal and just got to hear the boring and repeated requests for the guy to get off the damn train so we could all get to work.

However, compared to the day before, this was a pretty normal train journey.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cybersass
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 08:05:11

    that train journey sounds like a circus! when are you back in SA po?


  2. poseamonkey
    Jul 10, 2012 @ 09:44:49

    Hiya Sass, we will be there in the beginning of September!


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