Trains cannot travel through puddles!

December 15, 2008 at 10:59 pm (General chat) (, , , , , )

WAKING up with a hangover wishing you hadn’t thought 4am was a good time to leave central London is painful enough. Waking up in this state and knowing you have to get on a train is heart breaking. However, when on this morning the journey that should take 2 hours takes 6 because trains in England do not have flotation devices; now that really hurts.

Imagine this, its 8am Saturday morning and Newton Faulkner rudely awakes your three hour slumber by singing out of your phone. After hitting snooze a record 5 times you reluctantly drag yourself out of your warm bed and go about preparing for your journey to Devon. After 30 minutes in a taxi and lightening your wallet by £20 you are confronted by herds of people looking very un-satisfied. Looking up at the departure board you soon realise why:

11.00 – Plymouth – Cancelled

11.30 – Exeter St David’s – Cancelled

12.00 – Penzance – Cancelled


Every train heading towards the South-West of England is cancelled. So your head banging and your stomach churning over that third bottle of wine you should not have drank, you join a queue longer than the wall of China at customer services. You wait for 40 minutes to see a man who’s only answer to your query is to wait a few hours or travel for 25mins to Waterloo and get a train which you could probably beat walking. Great!! So having departed with another £6 for a travel card, pushed your way onto a packed tube, finally embarked on a delayed train, made two unnecessary changes and not even had a seat to park your tired and toxin ridden body on whilst all the time concentrating on not letting your head explode, you arrive at your destination 6 hours later than planned. A fabulous way to spend a Saturday I’m sure you’ll agree.

The reason for this inconvenience? Water on the tracks! Apparently England cannot run an effective train service when the drizzle turns to real rain drops. Those large sodden drops of liquid that keep the world ticking over were the culprits keeping Londoners prisoner in the capital this weekend. England’s answer to this issue, send the drivers home and point wannabe passengers towards Waterloo to get the two existing morning trains travelling south. I’ll let you in on a secret Mr ‘your best bet is to go to Waterloo’, one thousand people cannot fit on two trains!

Of course it is understandable that when lakes engulf train tracks, Thomas, Henry and friends cannot travel. However, it baffles me that in a country where the umbrella is its trade mark there are not more measures in place to prevent such occurrences.

What’s worse, it appears that its not only the rain that our vulnerable trains cannot cope with. It seems that come rain or shine Englands railways experience delays and cancellations. The wind in the Autumn causes leaves to block the tracks, the sun causes the railway lines to expand and the snow…well that’s just a no go.

It does make you wonder if countries who experience extreme climates have the same problems. Do trains run in California during their heat wave months? And if so are the tracks made out of a different material? Do the Canadians become house bound in the Winter? The mind boggles.

On the bright side, the train companies were understanding and refunds were given. Just remember travellers, next time it rains, book a ferry!


Sarah Butt ©


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First class annoyance!

December 4, 2008 at 9:24 pm (General chat) (, , , , )

tube3EVERDAY, thousands of people cram themselves on and off the London underground; those tightly packed trains designed to allow Londoners to travel around London with COMFORT and EASE!!!  So you’re standing on one leg, holding your breath, making room for that extra person to wedge themselves in, not the most stylish way to travel but doable. What makes the tube a miserable way to travel is those passengers who insist on making it their mission to irritate you in any way possible. 

Firstly, if you’re lucky enough to park your derriere on one of the carpet coated seats there is always someone who seems set to disturb you’re quiet journey by moaning about the awful British weather, the price of tickets or the crowded streets of Oxford Street.

You would think that after living in the country for 20 years, you may have gotten used to the wind and the rain. We are in England, the capital of drizzle, get an umbrella and a waterproof and deal with it. Or better still, follow the trend and move to Spain!

London is expensive, it comes with the territory, if it bothers you that much walk the 5minute stretch and save your pennies.

 It’s a Saturday, what do you expect? The main shopping street in central London is a tourists haven. Travel to the suburbs, bag a bargain without the discomfort of someone’s elbow in your chest.

Secondly, when tightly packed like sardines into a narrow carriage there is always someone who thinks their balancing skills are such that the handrail is dissolute. If your a circus tight rope walker then fine, but for the rest of you want to be clowns, swallow your pride and hold the rail, that way you wont bruise the toes of your innocent comrades who would appreciate not being disabled on their journey home.

Thirdly, cover your mouth when coughing. Tis the season of giving but some things are best kept to oneself in an only child like manner, i.e your germs.  The feel of someone’s groin tightly rammed against me, the occasional knock as people squeeze off the train, even the occasional paper cut from a misplaced book can all be dealt with however, the feel of saliva on the back of my neck is a no no. Ask your grandma for a hanky for Christmas.

Fourthly, 8am on a Monday morning crammed on a train is not the time to pick up women. You can give me a free doughnut, tell me I look hot in a suit, but you are still unlikely to get my number.  And under no circumstances should you chase me off a train when it’s not your stop. Telling me you work on Warren Street when you have followed me off the train and Kings cross is likely to scare me not flatter. “Turn around, you’re going the wrong direction you weirdo”.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the convenience of our faithful underground system, the streets of London were not made for 6inch heels. And of course you do get days where you can indulge in decent conversation with a complete stranger, no one is auditioning for clown school, people raise their hands to stop the spread of disease and men quietly eye up talent.  You can travel from A to B or A to B via C and D without the added obstacles and arrive at your destination satisfied that your journey required little more effort than folding the newspaper into a fan to prevent dehydration.  Have a good trip!

Sarah Butt ©

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