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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