Saturday, 10 January 2009

Leaves on the line.........

In a random fit of enthusiasm, that and I'm waiting on the hairdresser to open, I've decided to carry on with the train theme. As I said previously, I imagine most of my blog entries on trains to be rants about lateness. Is it particularly British to talk about the punctuality of trains? It can be an obsession for weary commuters who tut at a 3 minute late arrival. I find that when commuting often if you don't relax about the timekeeping you may well go mad. I try not to run from platform to platform when the trains are having problems. You're on the train then they tell you it's cancelled and to go to another train on another platform. Though if there is nothing wrong with the actual train you're on why move all the passengers? I try not to crush into a 3 carriage train if there is another one due in 15 minutes.
The obsession with trains runs to hanging about at the end of station platforms noting down the engine model and name of every train that comes and goes. Surely a throwback to the days of steam when trains looked different and were different. Surely dying out?

But it is perhaps our obsession as a nation with punctuality that drives our interest in trains timetables and the reasons for late running. Combining this with our other obsession, talking about the weather, is just heaven to many!

  • Frozen points or signals
Rarely are temperatures below freezing a shock up here and yet on a frosty morning this reason for lateness is sadly predictable. Can they not just tuck them in under a duvet at night?

  • Leaves on the line.
Everyone's favourite. I think it affects the train's braking system because the tracks are slippy. Sounds odd but being unable to break cant be a good thing.

  • The wrong type of snow
I personally have never heard this excuse but it does get trotted out as another favourite.

  • Landslide on the line
Too much rain, not enough trees. Can we blame the rail company for that?
  • Flooding
Act of God? Tran lines have been in place for years and years. I imagine that flooding in a particular place would have been noticed by now. In Scotland we had a Summer of tropical like downpours most days (without any other tropical benefits) and flooding on the train lies seemed more common. Particularly bad on the way in and out of the main stations of Glasgow and Edinburgh. I guess the water just heads to the lowest bit of ground it can find. There was a mad day where the water in Princes Street Gardens was above the wheels of the train. You could feel the wheels slipping and several pumps were in place. Most folk were 3 hours late that morning and late going home again too. In some ways everyone loved it. The chat on the train was full of humour (let's face it commuters dont speak to each other too often) and everyone had a great story to tell.

My favourite reason by far is not weather related and perhaps I made it up but saying the train was late because of cows on the line at Polmont and they were all wearing blue eyeshadow just makes me laugh (sorry ladies of Polmont...)

To be fair bad train days aren't that common but they seem to come in clusters and happen with regular monotony when I've left work early to go a place. Such is life. Perhaps there are some much more exciting reasons for trains being late but not round these parts.

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