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Quiet Zone

Today I am commuting in from my Dads house. This puts me on a different line going to a different station using different rolling stock which means I’m completely clueless as to the layout of the train. As a result I appear to be in the quiet coach surrounded by signs telling me that I should not use laptops, personal stereos, mobile phones, etc. ‘in this peaceful area’. This leaves me with a conundrum. Do I follow the letter or the spirit of the sign?

My headphones are in ear ones with, as far as I’m aware, zero sound leaking out. Still, it’s possible that people could hear something and be disturbed so I’ve turned off my music.

My phone is on silent. Obviously I won’t take calls but what about everything else? Email, texting, blogging can all be done silently. It’s a touch screen phone so there is no clicking of buttons, no beep on each key press and it’s on silent so no beeps when I get a text.

Sitting here, quietly writing this I am making less noise than people who are reading newspapers and rustling the pages. I make less noise than turning a page in a book. Yet while keeping to the spirit of the quiet zone I contravine the letter of it. I prefer NXEA where customers are asked not to use electronic equipment that will make a noise and to take calls in the vestibules. Not that I ever sit in it. I know where it is to avoid it.

NXEAWLTAFTD

I’m beginning to think my train company has been renamed over the new year taking their previously stupidly long name to great heights with:

National Express East Anglia Would Like To Appologise For The Delay

I could be wrong, bit Im hearing it so often these day.

Surprise!

Right! The odds of London getting no snowfall in any given year are roughly 350/1. I know. I checked. I paid money to get that bit of information. Now, armed as I am with the facts, I can ask the much more important and ultimately unanswerable question: why does it always cause problems? Other countries cope. Other countries get meters of the bloody stuff falling from the sky and yet their public transport systems don’t miss a beat. It shouldn’t take us by surprise. Is it going to snow this year? Yes! It bloody well is! You should be more surprised if there isn’t any snow. Stop delaying my trains. Oh, and while you’re at it turn the lights and the heating on.

Winter Timetable?

I hate it when train companies go and frig around with things. In the past I’ve got the 06:03 from Cromer, missed the 06:50 to London be seconds every morning but not really cared as I can take a more leisurely route via a purveyors of breakfast and not have to rush.

This morning I discovered that the train waiting for me was not the 07:05. No, it was the 06:55. It was 06:53 and quite a few seconds and I still needed to get on the damn thing via the people wanting to check my ticket whilst my hands were full with bags, suit cases and breakfast. I made it, just.

Turns out they’ve moved the times from 06:50 and 07:05 to 06:55 and 07:10. OK, so it means I’ll usually be able to get an earlier train and I have more leeway for delays on my inbound train, but I do wish they’d have warned me rather than just leaving me to be all flustered and discombobulated while trying to work out what was going on.

Ticket Tout

This morning there were two (2) people on the train. I decided to use this to my advantage and engage the conductor in conversation regarding the cheapest way to purchase my tickets for my weekend commutes. Buying tickets online I can only get singles. On top of that, if I want to get the cheap ones I need to book some millennia in advance. If I buy on the intercity going to Norwich I can get a return from Colchester to Cromer. If I buy on the metro train going from Cromer to Norwich I can’t buy a return to Colchester. I can get a day return. I can get an open return from Sherringham to Colchester. But I can’t get one from Cromer to Colchester. Now, admittedly it’s been a while since I got a return on the intercity so maybe they can’t do them any more either, but the bloke on the train this morning seemed convinced that I should be able to just get an open return. In the end I just had to buy a single like I normally do. This must be the new simplified ticketing scheme reducing the plethora of confusing and often overpriced ticket to just one, hideously over priced ticket. Joy.

Lies and idiots

The 18:45 is not On Time. You can say it’s On Time all you like on the little display, it’s 18:45 already and the train is Not Here. Further more there is No Sign Of It. That makes it late in my book. Still, at least they’ve told us it’s leaving from platform 5a and will be the second train to arrive at platform 5. Most people have not beleived this and are desperately trying to get on the train that’s just pulled into platform 5b. The fact that it’s not opening it’s doors, is at platform 5b and not 5a and it’s about to get hemmed in by the second train arriving at platform 5 tells me all the untrusting idiots are about to make a mad dash over here in about 20 seconds time.

Decoupling

The 06:03 Norwich and the 06:05 Sherringham arrive at Cromer at about 06:00 having travelled from the depot coupled together. Once at Cromer the front carriage (sometime 2 as I’m sure they just sling together the first couple of units they find and call it a train) decouples and the two halves go on their merry way. The decoupling bit always seems to cause a problem though with much pressing of button, trying to back the train out a little, more pressing of buttons, more backing out. This manouver must happen at least 5 times a week (no idea what happens on weekends) so you’d think they’d be pretty good at it by now. Still, gives me some amusement while I stand there freezing my butt off.

Rail prices

It’s taken me less than 3 years to give £10,000 to the rail companies (including the tube, although that’s a tiny fraction of the spending). 10 grand. And what do I get? I get to sit on the floor in the vestabules of intercity trains that should have been replaced decades ago running on a infrastructure that is rapidly falling apart and fails regularly. And I get to arrive late. Not late enough to get compensation, just late enough for it to be annoying. To make things worse it looks like things are going to get 6% more annoying when my fare goes up. How I wish I could find a well paid job doing stuff I enjoy somewhere where I didn’t have to use the trains to get there.

They appologise for the delay

Apparently it’s due to an incident leading to difficulties at Manningtree. The service on this line, especially once you get north of Colchester has got so bad that I’ve started taking the train before the timetable says to make a connection so I’ve got an extra half hour for things to go wrong. Even that’s not enough sometimes. Wonder if I’ll make my connection tonight.

Straight lines

How hard is it to walk in a straight line? Seriously. Why must you all dawdle along in the middle of the pavement so I can’t get past you? As to the moron in the lift this morning and his complete inability to realise that the doors wouldn’t close because his bag was sticking out of the lift shootings just too good for him.