About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Are they trying to annoy me?

I like traveling on trains, but the last few days have left me a bit cheesed off!

Virgin West Coast
On Thursday I was due to catch the 1903 VWC service from Birmingham - Glasgow. This was advertised as a Voyager

Upon arriving at Birmingham station at 1840 (my London Midland connection had been 15 minutes late) I went to the indicated platform (5), to see a Pendelino standing their. I tried to find a member of staff to check that this was the correct train, since the door LCD displays were not showing anything. The member of Network Rail staff just pointed to the TV screen, so hoping for the best, I got on board.

The train was a dump - empty bottles, cans, crisp bags and paper on all the tables, and most seats in standard, and crisps / bits of sandwiches under the seats and tables. The bins were overflowing.

The Train Manager came on at about 1858 to say this was the Virgin West Coast service to Glasgow, anyone not intending to travel should go to the platform etc. About 5 minutes out from Birmingham, she then announced that she would be serving complimentary tea/coffee as the shop would not be open before Preston as they had no trained staff.

Come Preston, there was a crew change, and the shop did open - albeit with no change. However, from no staff, we suddenly had 4 people sat round a table next to the shop, chatting and talking, all in VT uniforms - I assume one crew was traveling off duty to Glasgow (which is where they all got off). The Train Manager made one pass through the train, and when a passenger asked about the rubbish, she offered to get him a bin bag so he could clear it up.

First Scotrail
On Friday I went through to Edinburgh, and due to the engineering work, they are only running every half hour each way. However, my train instead of being 6-carriages (twice the normal) was only 3 and we were all squashed in at 3pm, by the time of my return at 11pm, they were running a 6 carriage train which was mostly empty.

On Saturday I had to go to Edinburgh again, and this time they canceled one train and then the following one was packed and the journey was slower than normal. then the return trip was delayed by 10 minutes due to "the number of trains trying to leave the station". Honestly, sometimes I think you couldn't make it up.

I'm starting to believe my sister when she says that once you have a car, you view trains as an annoyance, not an alternative.


the little medic said...

Cars have their uses, don't get me wrong, but when you're driving 80 miles a day, every day. It can become a bore and trains become a heavenly dose of relaxation in comparison. I've only used the train for one (maybe 2) journey the last 2 years and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

If I had to get the train every day, like I used to for college, I imagine i'd soon grow to hate them. In fact - I once got thrown out a train station for complaining.

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