Yesterday’s trip to Birmingham was always going to be a long day... I left the house at something before six and caught the 06:54 from Darlington without any problems... The work bit of the day went well and New Street beckoned for the 16:03 home... and a reserved seat.
“We regret to advise that the 16:03 cross-country service to Glasgow is currently delayed by twenty-seven minutes...”
This meant the 16:30 actually arrived first, but there were no seats and it was like a sauna... so it was back to plan A and the 16:03... now running 45 minutes behind schedule.
“This is a platform alteration... the late-running 16:03 to Glasgow will now arrive at platform 8a... Platform 8a for the 16:03 to Glasgow...”
Best start running then...
Anyway, the cut a short story long... The train eventually arrived... reserved seats beckoned and it was all aboard for Tamworth, Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds, York, Darlington... and after that I didn’t really care.
By the time we chugged into Tamworth, the delay had reached one hour. “We will do all we can to catch up some time...” came the announcement. Fat chance since the on-time 16:30 was just ahead of us and last time I looked, overtaking wasn’t a common (or probably very safe) manoeuvre on a railway track...
“We apologise again for the delay. This was caused by vandalism at Cheltenham...”
We managed to speed up to the extent that we didn’t lose any more time... presumably this was courtesy of Casey Jones taking over the controls at Tamworth... By the time we arrived in Sheffield (see pic), we’d been well and truly steamin’ and a rollin’ and there was much tootin’ of the whistle
and we continued northwards... although strangely, the cause of the delay was now supposedly due to “vandalism at Chesterfield...”
You should see what they’ve done to the church spire.
I’m presuming that by Newcastle, the guard would have come on the tannoy and tried to suggest the late arrival was down to “vandalism in Ch...Ch... Chorley, that’s it... Chorley”
In the background there would have been a whispered: “Psst... this train doesn’t pass through Chorley... it doesn’t actually go anywhere near Chorley...”
“Look it begins with ‘Ch’... the passengers will never know the bloody difference... shit is this microphone still on..? Ahhh yes... hello... er nice passengers... welcome to erm... Newcastle... isn’t it a lovely day... goodbye...”
Actually on one journey home from Birmingham... three or four years ago now, the train was held up at Derby... and this is for real... “because the driver needs his tea break...”
I sat and looked forlornly out of the window as this bloke happily sauntered over to the kiosk and ordered himself a sandwich... I can’t lip read, but he did seem to mouth something along the lines of “how f***ing much?!!!” Ha...That’ll teach you...
Anyway, it was a very tired passenger that finally clambered off the train in Darlington and drove the twenty-or-so miles home... I was expecting a long day... I got a long day, but thanks to Casey for being at the throttle of the Cannonball Express; at least for part of the trip... better late than Friday...
All my own work... almost.