Friday, 8 June 2007

Rail Regulators reap benefit of our misery?!

OK it's been a while since I posted here admittedly - but I've just read something that makes me just a little bit cross so I thought I would share it here.

Read this article about how Network rail might get fined by the rail regulator for the months of delays in the South Hampshire region.

Hang on a minute ?

The train service is disrupted and causes hassle to thousands of passengers for months and months, and then the city bods sitting in their plush London offices reap the rewards by sticking a fine in their inbox?

Now this is not what I call a fair fine.

Rail regulator should enforce the rail providers to pay compensation to the people who have actually suffered from all the engineering works early 2007 - for the people who spent their hard earned pennies paying for a service to get to work which didn't always run efficiency?

What will the rail regulator do with this hefty fine? ! I'm sure they won't be paying any of it back to the passengers... I have no idea..

So that makes me cross!!!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

No Trouble on the Tracks

Once again the benefits of train travelling presented themselves to me this morning. As normal, this morning I arrived at work fresh-faced and ready to go. However, half of the office weren’t in.

A pedestrian got knocked down on the M3 this morning at 5.30am approximately. Three hours later and the motorway was still completely closed between two junctions, causing a bottleneck effect as everyone tried the country lanes around the motorway instead. Huge queues were the result of this, and everyone was very late to work. But not me! Trains don’t get effected by the knock on effects of one road closing. They just glide past the traffic jams on their own, specially constructed track, all for them. Sweet.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

Sometimes I moan too much about my travelling to work woes. I admit that. That is indeed the point of this whole blog.

But last week, something made me smile. I actually took the time to listen to the conversation had by the group of early teens sitting around me. They were discussing their homework. Really! They were! They were talking about the character development in Much Ado About Nothing, and what the different characters represent. It was amazing! Now, I am not that old, and it’s only really been 8 years since I left 6th Form. But I have already fallen into the terrible, clich├ęd view that teenagers are good-for-nothing wasters. But, it would seem, they are not. They actually talk about Shakespeare through choice and appeared to enjoy it, too.

Now, here the moment where I should point out that I work in a particularly well-to-do part of the country, with one of the best public schools in the country, and a handful of other very decent schools too. So perhaps this explains these kids’ general attitude towards learning? Well, it must do. If I was travelling on a train with school kids from somewhere less illustrious (for example, Brixton, where I used to live) I doubt very much the kids would be having these types of conversations.

And I hate this observation. I hate it because I know it is true, even though I realise it sounds inherently snobby to think that kids from rough areas don’t talk about Shakespeare.
Anyway, I should be grateful that I have decent kids on my train. Although they still make far too much noise for my liking.

(And I haven’t read Much Ado About Nothing..)

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Deep Sleep

Hehehe, I felt smug yesterday on the way home.

The ticket manager/guard made his way down the train as per normal. ‘Tickets Please!” he called. He reached one girl in her twenties who was having a snooze and listening to her I-Pod (this was not me, I hasten to add, it was another Girl On A Train, and no it wasn’t a Quiet Carriage)

He said to her, ‘tickets please’.

No response. She continued to snooze happily, eyes closed, head up, jaw threatening to drop.

He said again, this time louder, ‘can I see your ticket please, Madam’

Again, no response. By this time everyone was watching – including me.

Train managers have obviously been taught to not touch passengers (and rightly so) for he then proceeded to lean over and knock on the glass by her head. Very loudly.

‘Can I see your ticket please, madam!’

still no answer! I couldn’t believe she hadn’t woken up after all the commotion. She must have been in a very deep sleep.

So the train manager then went around to behind her seat (fortunately nobody was seated behind her) and shook the headrest that her sleep head was resting against backwards and forwards quite frenetically.

Ha, that woke her up! She opened her eyes, registered what was happening and turned around to glare at however was banging her seat.

Then she realised it was the Train Manager and quickly understood the situation. Then she noticed everyone was smirking at her.


For once, it wasn’t me!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Please Be Quiet - We're in a Quiet Carriage Don't You Know?

To what extent do South West Trains enforce the ‘Quiet Carriage’ policy?

Not a lot, I think.

It’s not a difficult thing to implement, really. The ticket manager just has to tap someone on the shoulder with a noisy I-Pod or interrupt a mobile phone conversation to tell the offender to shift it.

However, for passengers, the ‘Quiet Carriage’ can be slightly inconvenient. Often, it is only once you have taken a phone call on your mobile before you notice the signs saying ‘quiet carriage’. By then, it’s too late. There are no signs by the door of the train to say ‘you are entering a quiet carriage, sssh.’ It is only once you are sat down comfortably in your seat, reading your book, before you notice the signs. In a busy train, you are unlikely to move carriages just in case you need to take a phone call.

I know all this.

However, when the lad opposite me sat with his Ipod on ridiculously loudly so that all I could hear was the beat of his crap music, I started to feel irritation. Then I noticed we were in a ‘quiet carriage’ and felt justly irritated. I thought to myself, ‘I could just tell him to turn if off and point at the sign.’

I didn’t of course.

But I expected the Train Manager to do so as she came through the carriage checking tickets. She reached the noise Ipod boy and called for tickets. He ignored her because he couldn’t hear her. She had to wave a hand in front of his face to attract his attention. ‘yes! I though, ‘she’s going to tell him to turn it off as we are in a quiet carriage.’

Sadly not, she asked for his ticket, he pointed it at her, and she continued on her merry way. He continued to have poor taste in music.

So, I ask, what is the point of these quiet carriages?

Monday, 16 April 2007

The Quiet Easter Break

Due to the slightly restrictive nature of my blog, I haven’t been able to find anything of interest to write about concerning the trains in the last couple of weeks. Life generally has been busy and full, with many things to look forward to over the summer. Stepping off the train at 6.15pm now fills me with joy and expectation as the summer nights get longer and the promise of a whole evening lies ahead.

The trains have been running to schedule over the past couple of weeks, despite some engineering works in a major area which, despite not affecting my section of line, I feared may have some knock-on effects. These engineering works meant that a lot of people probably took another mode of transport to work, while others took annual leave for the week of disruption. This combined with the Easter holidays meant that my train was blissfully peaceful last week. A double seat all to myself, no screaming teenagers, no businessmen barking down mobiles. Lovely. All in all, last week was top-notch service!

I have now used ONE of my free golden tickets to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Oh, I mean my free train journey of course.

The book I was reading last week kept me well engrossed during this peaceful journey, so I was able to get through in record speeds. And a mighty good read it was too - although the writing technique of using a letter to reveal the rest of the story at the end seemed to be a bit of a cop-out. Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

It's Too Hot and It's Too Cold

Well, there has not been much going on in TrainLand this week. I have been sleeping particularly deeply, and now only need to wait for two to three stops before I put my book down to engage in a snooze.

I have noticed a wide degree of variability of temperature in the trains recently though. Sometimes, it is unbearably warm and stuffy, others it is too chilly. I think I prefer the former temperate climate as it effortlessly allows me to fall into slumber when it is hot inside the carriage. When it is cold, however, I find myself shivering and trying to get myself warm enough to fall asleep.

You see, everything revolves around whether I can get a decent bit of kip or not.

On another note, I am reading John Banville’s The Sea. An interesting read with elegant language and prose. Although, in all honesty, not much has actually happened yet in the plot, which may be why I am sleeping a bit more this week!