Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Adventures on a Train

I've been between cars for a week now and the public transport thing has been doing me good. Today I had to get to Abingdon for noon. Abingdon is one of the bigger towns not to have its own station so I opted for Didcot Parkway and a bus.

At Nailsea and Backwell I was in good time and able to help a couple of women who were totally baffled by the ticket machine. They were articulate, intelligent and infrequent travellers. The stumbling blocks were:

1. How to buy more than one ticket. They couldn't find the button although they were probably not looking for the words 'additional passengers.'

2. How to pay. They failed to notice that the card reader has its own screen.

Still, we all survived and the train was punctual. The women alighted at Bath, a place Great Western Rail still calls Bath Spa, and I got to my change at Swindon as expected. The 1056 to Didcot Parkway was showing as 'on time' so all was well. At 1055 the departure board changed to 'delayed' and an announcer slurred his way through the news that there had been a power failure west of Swindon and he would keep us informed. My bus journey to Abingdon had to become a taxi ride.

We were told that the power failure was massive. Someone mentioned a landslide (I love rumours) and another a cable theft. This latter turned out to be true. We were never told how long the delay would be but at 1130ish were informed that a train on Platform 1 would be going to Paddington and stopping at Didcot so a load of us crossed over.

An announcement then told us not to get on the train at Platform 1 because it was out of service and the next train would be in as soon as that one had been moved. Then we were told our train was approaching Platform 3 after all and we all headed back (quite a crowd by now) ending up face-to-face with those who had only slowly responded to the news to change from 3 to 1.

Eventually we all got on and arrived in Didcot only 40 minutes late. A taxi made up some time. Only fifteen minutes late for my appointment.

Apparently it was a wire theft at Wootton Bassett.

I've had a good run of trains recently but my last two journeys have been dreadful.

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