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Railroad Blues

Travelled back from Norfolk yesterday and had one of those miserable journeys that give public travel a bad reputation. I was supposed to change once, at Ely, and be home by half four. It went fine on the Wymondham to Ely leg. At Ely, I was supposed to have ten minutes or so between trains. There was no sign of the 12:52 on the board, or indeed for any train heading north. The woman at the ticket office told me the 12:52 had been cancelled, and I'd have to take the 13:52 instead. Now I didn't mind the delay too much, as it gave me a chance to buy coffee and have the sandwiches and mince pie I'd brought with me.

My ticket was only valid for that particular train, but as it was the company who had cancelled it, the ticket seller printed out the time of the new train and wrote on it that this was valid for the altered journey. She also gave me a claim form for the Delay Repay scheme. The 13:52 showed up in spite of not appearing on the station's destination boards. and unsurprisingly, was hideously pacled. A baby buggy and large rucksack was shoved out onto the platform to let the passengers out, and nearly got left behind. I realized that none of the departing passengers had claimed them, and that they must belong to someone sitting further along the carriage. Buggy and ruckack were safely hauled in, much to the relief of the owners who were sitting further along the carriage.

Two young men who couldn't get seats obligingly played luggage tetris as passengers got off at subsequent stops and needed help unearthing their stuff from the baggage piled in the wheelchair spaces and luggage shelves. A fair few got off at Peterborough, which gave me hope of finding a seat other than my suitcase. However, the last person to leave at my end of the carriage was an inefficient women who take ages to find her bag from the pile, in spite of the help of Nice Young Man. I couldn't get past her as she dithered, and in the mean time, passengers were flooding in from the other end and taking all the recently vacated seats. In spite of her mithering, I did get to sit down and relax a little.

This lasted as far as Nottingham. While we were sitting at the station, there was an announcement about passengers for Sheffield (and Sheffield only), changing at Derby at platform 1. After a minute, I realized they meant I needed to change from this train to one at platform 1, and then change at Derby. So I had to grab everything in a hurry before the train set off with me still aboard.  The train at platform 1 was confusingly heading for Cardiff, and it took a couple of minutes to establish that it did in fact stop at Derby. It was at least less busy, and I could get a seat straight away. All this in spite of the fact I was supposed to be on a direct train from Ely to Sheffield.

At Derby, I couldn't find a lift, and had to lug a suitcase full of books up a flight of stairs. A helpful man did catch up when I was only a couple of steps from the top, and helped with the last bit. After some faffing, I found out when and where the Sheffield train was departing from, and passed the time with a sit-down and the last sausage roll Mum had packed. I'd have preferred a long lie-down somewhere, but railway stations aren't equipped for that.
  I should have changed trains once, and arrived at 4:30. Instead of which, I changed three times and arrived in Sheffield at 6:50.

Quite apart from being rubber-legged and floppy all day today, when I woke up, the muscles at the back of my neck and shoulders have been stiff and painful all day. I think I strained them somewhat lugging my case on and off trains and up stairs. Bah, humbug..


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
29th Dec, 2007 09:17 (UTC)
Go via London. That line is a dead loss, and not likely to get any better.
29th Dec, 2007 13:34 (UTC)
I've never had trouble like this before. Well, the carriages are often overcrowded around Xmas, but generally the whole Sheffield-Wymondham trip goes without a hitch.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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