Thursday, 7 January 2010
"Sit down, SIT DOWN!"
This blog is about travel disruption due to snow.
I am nothing if not topical.
However, unlike most tales of snow woe, mine is not concerned with this country's inability to cope with adverse conditions.
On the contrary, I find our weather related ineptitude kind of adorable. Indeed, said ineptitude graced me with the following anecdote.
I got to the station this morning and, as expected, all of the boards either said 'delayed' or 'cancelled'.
However, there was one train that was badly delayed but at least seemed to have a time assigned to it, so I waited for that one and got on it.
We went two stops and then in between stations we came to a sudden halt.
The guard told us over the tannoy that there was a failed train in front of us and that we were stuck until it was moved.
An hour later the guard was back on the tannoy, this time to tell us that another train in front of us was on fire.
After two hours we still weren't moving. And some people were becoming noticeably restless.
I wasn't exactly happy myself but what can you do?
Well, the answer to that rhetorical question is, at it turns out - start a mini rebellion.
After two and a half hours a very panicky sounding train guard shouted over the tannoy - "Attention, attention, sit in your seats, sit down, SIT DOWN, do not get off the train"
I looked up from my book and saw loads of normally stuffy Surrey people wandering past my window, along the track, with the gait of someone who thinks they're a bit like Spartacus or Braveheart.
I carried on reading my book.
Five minutes later the guard announced that we would be moving shortly, but...
...We would have to wait for the people who had clambered off the train and were running loose on the track to arrive at the next station before we could proceed.
Oh the irony. The delayed become the delay.
Over dramatic idiotic rabble.
Although I suppose I should consider myself lucky that they merely disembarked.
If they'd stayed on board they would probably have turned to cannibalism.
The best part of it all, better even than watching the slow breakdown of social order, was watching the return to normal when the train moved.
Metros were pulled back up in front of people's faces, people who had been chatting to their neighbour a minute ago, retreated back into themselves and looked out of the window. And people who had been trying to prise the doors open moments earlier sat back down and fiddled with their IPhone.
We were commuters once more.