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Clockwise

I’m writing from Englandshire this week.

Yesterday I had the seemingly simple task of travelling by train from West Central Scotland to the (English) East Midlands by train. My connection in Edinburgh was for 14:00. Now that trains travel direct from Helensburgh to the Scottish capital, with an approximate journey time of two hours, I identified the 11:13 as the best option. That would get me to Auld Reekie by 1:15 and allow a meander to the correct platform at Waverley via Marks and Spencer’s Food Shop.

So as I stood on the weed infested platform at Craigendoran, the Big Brother style speaker blared “I am sorry to inform customers (customers? f*****g passengers!) that the 11:13 to Edinburgh has been cancelled” OK I thought, I’ll just get the next train at 11:43. That’ll get me to Edinburgh about 13:45, still plenty of time to get my connection “Also the 11:43 to Edinburgh has been cancelled. The next Edinburgh train will now be at 12:13.

Fantastic. No replacement train or anything! Quick desperate phone call to the missus saw me, via a hastily arranged lift, at Dumbarton on a train from Balloch (ten minutes late) to Glasgow to somehow connect with an Edinburgh train in Glasgow. There was no certainty of this though as a shoulder shrug seemed to be the limit of the railway staffs’ communication skills.

So I’m on this train “The next station is Bowling. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train” Bowling? I’ve been travelling that line for over fifty years and can never remember a train stopping at Bowling. Trains only stop at Bowling every seventh Tuesday at 10am — FFS!!!!

Got to Glasgow, into the lift to the upper level. I had missed the 12:45 to Edinburgh by two minutes. The whole thing was reminiscent of the John Cleese film Clockwise:

Got the 13:00 train which got me to Edinburgh with less than ten minutes to spare, a quick dash of what seemed like half a mile to the correct platform and I was on the Kings Cross train with minutes to spare.

Anyhoo, here in Grantham the birthplace of that very famous, lauded, innovative and influential character…….Sir Isaac Newton.

Actually today I remembered Thaggie’s famous No! No! No! speech and wondered if this sign at the Sir Isaac Newton Shopping Centre had borrowed from the sentiment.

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3 Responses

  1. There was a points failure at (you’ve guessed it) Craigendoran. Only two trains in each direction were affected.

    Trains to/from Balloch have stopped at Bowling since Auld Yin was a lad.

    I shall raise the matter of you not receiving the “We regret to announce…..is running approximately five minutes late” (which it isn’t) message on the Helensburgh line. This is compulsory.

    – The Fat Controller

  2. Clockwise is a funny film: I hope your day wasn’t as bad as the John Cleese character’s.
    Isaac Newton was a brilliant mathemetician and physicist but he was also a nasty fucker.
    Thatcher, don’t even get me started on Thatcher! The best thing about the Scots is that they have consistently shown more good sense than to vote Tory. Well, perhaps not the best, but certainly one of the many good ones.

  3. A very understandable tale there, who does not share it? You could make a book put of such train travel. Staff here are usually very good however, but one slight hold up and trains disappear!
    And ‘passengers’ is indeed the word!!!

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