Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of The Train Journey South!

I am writing this little ditty of my train journey south.
It should`ve been easy, with advance tickets booked.
But no one could have foretold the weather and Ash cloud and that everything would be turned on its head!
Still, it was a mini adventure, that could be said!

The Good:

On my return from Lairg I was due to catch the 18:30 to Inverness.
18:30 came and went and I began to get nervous, I confess.
I hadn`t thought that the trains might not be running,
With 90 mile an hour winds and driving rain, I didn`t think the train would be coming. 
Nervously I waited with my bike in tow
Would the signal lights change, I didn`t know.
At last I phoned, when the voice on the other end said:
Yes madam and it is the only train running north of Newcastle!
Oh my God, the journey was a battle!
Indeed the train did come, half an hour late but what a relief!
My Journey south began in earnest and belief.
The train was not full, and the ride pleasant.
We stopped and started with the wind and rain still buffeting the windows,
As darkness quickly fell and  the towns and lights in full glow
We ambled along stopping and starting, but finally reaching our destination,
We were all relieved then found out why we had managed to get to our destination.......
Our driver, from Scot Rail, at every point we stopped at, got out and changed the points himself and went above and beyond what was asked of him, to which we are truly grateful.

The Bad:

I`d had my tickets booked far in advance, to save myself stress and money and a good deal was enhanced!
But alas, it was to be to no avail, and my bike would not return, my annoyance was brief, this was an adventure one I could not curtail! 
The 07:55 I was due to catch, was cancelled, could I get on the next one with my bike?
Yes, was the reply, the 10:58 via Aberdeen, what a hike!
5 minutes later, that got cancelled!
What was I to do now? There was not a hope in hell of me and my bike heading home, but I had to be back, drastic action would be called for.........
The lady at the B&B I had stayed would look after my bike until a later date, a good excuse to return, but a poor state of affairs, not enough room on the train to take my bike!
And so it came to pass, I would return home without my trusted bike and have to use the cumbersum, heavy clod I was hoping never to use again!

The Ugly:

At 10:47 we boarded, bounded for Edinburgh, York and finally Peterborough. 
With only four carriages, we all clambered aboard, suitcases and people squashed and packed, this was no way for a journey to begin.
With all the buses commandeered for the airports as the Volcanic Ash from Iceland spread to Scotland and the North of England, the trains that did not run yesterday were now full to capicity, bulging a health and safety risk! 

And so, packed like sardines we hurried along, thankful of just being able to get home, but there were other people who were travelling abroad who, for them, they could not get home via airports, they were cancelled, I hope they would be able to get home ok.
We changed at Edinburgh, after the train driver called ahead to arrange for the train to be delayed by a few minutes so passengers could board - thankyou!

The Forfar bridge that yesterday was closed and dogged by cloud, driving rain and buffeted by heavy winds.
The ugliness of a journey fraught by delays, cancellations and busy ways, were slowly getting back to normal and people could once more travel with confidence, but the power of nature shows us how vulnerable we truly are and the things we take for granted are just that, taken for granted.
We expect to get somewhere and on time, and when things don`t we see how the ugly side of human nature and fraught tensions, not necessary, just enjoy it, laugh and treat, as I did, as a mini adventure, you`ll get there in the end!
Now to get my bike back....................


  1. Wow, I'm kinda thinking I would have named this post, 'The bad, the worse, and the worst.' LOL And you are certainly right - we do take a lot for granted and don't realize how fragile all our plans are. Sure hope you get your bike back. As for the first portion of your post, it sounds like a setting for Murder on the Orient Express or something! And someday, you will be able to look back on this 'adventure' and smile (mostly because you survived it).

  2. Some days are bad on the railway but none worse than this. It sounds like some of your Scottish activities were simpler than this. I had a minor problem recently when a major signal problem north of York station meant that all northbound trains were stuck in and around York station. I was in Glasgow and was told that there was only one train marooned in the Glasgow -Newcastle section doing an afternoon shuttle. Luckily, I was fortunate with it's location and only 45 minutes late.
    The first shot has a lot of meaning to me as it is the first view I see going south or from the end of platform 4 !! I've never seen so many tickets for travel before all at once.

  3. Hi There, I'm from Inverness and the driver you are talking about (that changed the points) is my Dad! He found out about this post from work, so I looked it up for him (he's not the best at technology!) he says thank you very much, but really he just wanted to get home too! Also, you have a very cute dog :)