It has been many a year since I ventured into the world of the public transport commuter; so long indeed that I actually forgot why I now drive EVERYWHERE!
Today is one of my works Christmas dos and naively I thought that it might be an idea to have a bit of a Christmas ‘tipple,’ tis the season and all that merriment. Sadly, being a responsible gentlemen and a pillar of the community I thought it best I leave my Hog… VW Passat estate, that my mum gave me.. cough, at my palatial manor and get a local cab to the train station with my beloved.
We exited the taxi and stood at the train station, in the crisp winter morning with all the rest of our middle class working chums and waited for our transportation into town.
Current time: 0759
Train Due: 0801
Train arrived: 0802
“Happy days” I thought, “no wait” Up until this point I had dreaded the idea of standing at a station for hours, so getting there and one turning up within a few minutes was a welcome change from my past experiences; unluckily for me and my other half, this was the only “plus” point about our journey into town. Faces of joy over the efficiency of the British Railway system soon evaporated into ones of pure horror when, what I can only describe as a 50 year old ‘converted’ cattle cart, came lumbering into the station filled to the brim with mooing commuters…. I do not exaggerate, this thing made trains we have back home in N.Ireland look positively futuristic and made me long for the wide open spaces of the people carts you see in old war movies, shipping off prisoners from the front… Take me to stalag luft iv!
Thinking about it, I don’t know why I was so surprised? What was I expecting really? A brand new, Virgin bullet train; with seats for all and a smiling hostess handing out complimentary newspapers, nuts and hot, lemon fresh towels? This is what our trains look like and this is what I remember from the dark days before I had my own transport; I digress.
We entered (or were carried along by the stampede, I couldn’t be sure) the train at one of its ancient, I can only assume operated by steam, doors and looked up and down the isles for a seat. Again why was I surprised? On the 8am train to Piccadilly Manchester; finding the lost treasures of Atlantis, whilst simultaneously inventing teleportation; only using your I-phone and the lint you have in your pocket would have been easier than getting a seat. In fac
t I believe some commuters, who had been standing for some time were on the verge of a break through by the looks on their faces; either that or they had gone quite mad.
We made an attempt to move to the isles, to make space for people behind us but were blocked by some timid creatures who obviously thought moving down the train was paramount to entering the den of a rabid train beast! I honestly got a look of “I cant go down there, they all have seats” the sort of look you see a lower level ape giving the alpha male when he’s trying to sneak into his territory ( or his mate ;o) ). after finally managed to cox these people down the train a bit, I settled in for my stand to Manchester (doing a bit of people watching to make the time pass quicker). All the while: the rest of the commuters, who got on after, huddled round the door; I can only assume for protection and warmth? It was during this stand that I made some observations.
Don’t worry I’m getting to my point now……