“We are sorry for the delay to this service”

Stranded by south west trains. Again.

20161121_174410After a long day at work, I was excited to get home to my Better Half. We had our regular Monday plans of food shopping at Lidl and then Nandos after (to spend all the money we saved by shopping at Lidl).

Waiting at the train station on my usual platform, I was shocked to find my 20 past five South West train was delayed.

By 53 minutes.

In the drizzly rain and bitter cold, I wiped the drops off my phone to search for a bus timetable. I power walked to the bus stop just as the bus I needed pulled away – and realising I had no cash on me to pay even if I was quick enough.

The next bus arrives in an hour.

I got out the rain and took shelter in the train station’s shop. They must make a killing with the amount of calming herbal teas they sell to disgruntled customers.

As I arrived, the other wannabe-passengers were getting irritable and causing a fuss with the shop teller over a 37p discrepancy on their purchase.

Meanwhile, I dodged newspaper and book stands being wheeled around me as the shopkeeper hinted at their closure.

“The 17:17 train is delayed, by approximately 45 minutes.” His promises of a train arriving fall on deaf ears as the approximate arrival time changes as quickly as the storm’s wind direction.

Overworked employees deaperate to get home to a glass of wine mutter on their phones as they inform loved ones of the unfortunate delays. Others moan outloud, not caring who listens. This is a popular reaction. I know it is because this kind of delay happened most days last week. Ever since the weather turned inclement.

Finally on the train at 18:16, and some guy was throwing up within 10 minutes of the train moving…

“We are very sorry for the delay to this service.” The automated man keeps talking! His apologies sounding less than sincere and unwelcome by cold-fingered passengers.

If it isn’t due to flooding, it is due to signalling problems. Today, it’s “emergency engineering work”. (Does actually sound serious, but still.)

My fingers numb as I stand by the automatic doors to the shop.

In the middle of Storm Angus, today’s delays are less than ideal – nevertheless expected by the train services.


Ps. Had to write this using my phone’s 3g because the station’s shop doesn’t have WiFi and the South West trains that hover at the station have unreliable WiFi to say the least. In fact, once I was on the train, I found out the WIFi was not in use.