To Train or not to Train

The question is directed at National Express East Anglia (NXEC). They bid for the franchise to run trains out of East Anglia. Its a shame they don’t seem capable of doing that.

We had 3” of snow on Saturday lunchtime. Its been cold since then circa  0 to 4C but no more snow. So, NXEC decided to run a reduced train service this morning cancelling 2/3 trains through Seven Kings at rush hour. Quite why, I’m not sure. I am certain that in other countries, some 40 hours after 3” of snow had fallen they would be able to run trains. Strangely other rail companies were able to run local and long distance train services into London.

This would have been bad enough, but when at Seven Kings station this morning, they were announcing random time times and then trains did not turn up- think the trains they had announced were figments of the PA chap’s mind. Eventually a train that was announced arrived at the station, but despite the station tannoy announcer telling everyone this was the train to London Liverpool St, the driver was telling everyone to get off the train as he was terminating it there. No explanation was given. however, as everyone was getting off the train, the station announcer was telling everyone to get on this train to London Liverpool Street. It was like watching the hokey cokey. You put the passengers on, you put the passengers off, on,off shake them all about….

After this train departed empty for the depot, various announcements were made about the next train, advising it was due here in 15 mins, then 17 mins, then 8 mins, then 15 mins again. Then 2 mins after the last announcement, a train arrived going to London Liverpool Street.

Dear left hand, this is your right hand……Still, tonight the trip home must be better surely…….

Well, tonight, the trip home was interesting…I arrived at Liverpool Street at rush hour, to find instead of 8 trains an hour, there were no trains in at all. There was no news on the display boards either as to when the next train would be. No worries, surely the PA system would keep us informed? There is more chance of Osama Bin Laden representing the USA in the next Olympics.

After waiting about 15-20 minutes we were told “ Passengers waiting for a Shenfield train (my train) there will be an announcement in 10-15 minutes about your train.”  no indication as to why there was a delay or what the problem was or when we could expect a train.

20 minutes later there was another announcement “ Passengers waiting for a Shenfield train (my train) there will be an announcement in 10-15 minutes about your train.” Great help NXEC, thanks for that information, it was very helpful – not.

Never mind, eventually, a train came in and as the passengers to alight, some mug tries to force his was on. I’m not sure how he expects to get on as people are still getting off! some people are so self-centred and stupid. Eventually the sardines were squeezed in. I’m not saying the train was packed, but if I got any closer to the female in front of me, I would have been facing a rape charge. There was no room to move on the train anywhere. The aisles, the doorways etc. were all packed solid.

The first stop on the train was Stratford, where normally more passengers get on. This was not possible. It was however, quite funny to hear those on the platform getting quite angry and demanding people move down the train. I’m not sure exactly where those on the platform thought all the empty space was, unless the meant in the overhead luggage rack. It certainly wasn’t doing much for their blood pressure all that ranting.

After leaving Stratford, the driver helpfully told us that the train would no longer stop at Seven Kings. Cheers NXEC, cancel most trains and then reduce the number of stops on those trains that are running.

The plan [B] then was to get off at Ilford and get the next train to Seven Kings – except checking the display board, the next train had been…….. yes, you’ve guessed it cancelled and no other train to Seven Kings was currently showing. Time for a new plan [C], I’ll walk to the bus stop and get the 86 bus home. so, i waited patiently for the 86 bus. After 20+minutes and no bus (they run every 7 mins allegedly), I checked the display indicator and there was no bus due in the next 30 minutes. By now it was snowing, so walking home was not sensible.

Plan [D] was to go back to the railway station and try to get a train. Eventually, a lesser spotted NXEC train turned up and I was able to squeeze my sylph like figure into the train and get to Seven Kings. Never mind it was about 3 1/2 hours since I left the office and only 12 miles travelled.

What else did I do today? Well, I sent the rest of my Christmas cards well there were just 3 left to send. I also posted a couple of Christmas presents (ok, cheques actually) not the most thoughtful presents eh?

Then it was a bit of Christmas shopping. A present for a VIP and a present for someone else. I do like people who give me ideas for Christmas presents. It helps though if:

a) I read the list properly

b) the items on the list are in stock!

Its nerve-wracking trying to choose something similar to the item someone specifically wanted. Hope I made the right choice. I’ll find out at Christmas!

Well the good news is that after tomorrow ( ok Tuesday 21st – today as it is now….) The days will start getting longer. The lights are starting to get lighter after 21st. Yes, tomorrow is the shortest day and after it summer is on the way. Time to start digging out those speedos and my surfboard!

Finally, Happy Birthday Jacqui- it was my sister’s birthday on 20th December. it is quite a co-incidence that as on 20th December last year, she also had a birthday. I think she has had a birthday on 20th December a few times before as well!


Boy: “Do you want to play the fire engine game?”
Girl: “How do you play that?”
Boy: “My fingers are the fire engine and I drive up your legs. You say ‘Red light!’ when you want me to stop.”
Girl: “Okay, let’s play.”
After a few seconds…
Girl: “Red light!”
Boy: “Fire engines don’t stop for red lights.”

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