Sunday, November 1

Stepping up the blog effort

Since everyone else seems to be signed up for NaBloPoMo I thought I would give it a go. I really do need a bit of a nudge to update this blog more often, and what better reason could there be?

You might have spotted that I have already failed on this, since I'm posting this on 3 Nov and backdating it. How naughty! But I'm going to do my best to keep up from now on, honest I am!

..I can't, this is a family show!

Today (that's Sunday, of course!) saw one of the worst train journeys I've endured for some time, courtesy of East Midlands Trains, the company which runs services between London and Sheffield. It's the worst train journey I've had since a month ago when I last used East Midlands Trains.

Every Sunday, a journey which in the week takes 1 hour 50 mins is retimed so that it takes 3h 40 mins. Yes, you read that correctly. It really does take almost twice as long for some unfathomable reason. The train does stop at more stations, but it also does a huge loop between Leicester and Corby which adds a lot of extra time.

This Sunday, when the train arrived at Leicester and the replacement crew did not show, EMT decided to cancel the train and make everyone get off it and wait for the next one. Even though the crew on the train had offered to staff it as far as London. Presumably EMT did not want to pay any overtime, they would rather make passengers suffer.

Predictably the next train was already busy when it arrived, so we had to jam in with everyone else. All those who had seat reservations on the first train had to fight for seats on the second train.

To make matters worse we were then delayed by flooding for another hour.

Luckily I had a seat - unlike the last journey with EMT when I had to stand in the aisle among suitcases (there is hardly any luggage space on these trains).

I do own a car, but I choose to take the train on long journeys because it gives me the chance to relax and also to reduce my carbon footprint, something which is important to me. After two dreadful journeys with this dreadful company I am seriously thinking about driving next time.

Just remind me again why privatisation of the railways was supposed to be a good thing? Nearly all train companies are in the position of being monopolies, there are hardly any lines where competition exists so customers are left with no choice of who to travel with, and although fares are supposedly regulated, they are ridiculously high compared with European train services. Yes, some lines do have new rolling stock but many of the new trains are unsuitable for long-distance travel, having very little luggage storage space, presumably to enable them to maximise bums on seats. And the unprofitable lines such as the Arriva trains services in rural Wales suffer from infrequent, one-carriage services using rolling stock that is older than the hills through which it runs.

Ok, rant over. I'm off to post my compensation claims.

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