Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Night Train

I apologise for my lack of posts in the last week or so. I've been working late shifts, and have therefore been travelling on a service unknown to most commuters - the night train. The horrors to be encountered on this service are very different to the daily squeeze on the way to and from work. For a start, the trains are few and far between. On Monday night, I was unfortunate enough to miss a connection, and spent the hour between 11pm and midnight pacing up and down the platforms at Reading, until a member of the station staff came to make sure I was neither drunk nor planning to throw myself onto the tracks. I was, in fact, investigating platform 1, as I'd never used it before and wondered where it was. But I suppose I should be glad that someone's actually watching the security cameras, in case I am ever in late-night peril.

The other problem with taking the late train is something I can't blame FGW for - the passengers. They are drunk, loud, messy and generally unpleasant in every way. At least for all the huffing and coughing, the commuter is generally a quiet breed, too tired or stressed to say much. After last week's experience of the 2259 from Paddington, I felt like I'd made several trips to the zoo. And, here's a word of advice to the drunk. I don't want to talk to you. And, large groups of young girls, please don't sing. It's really very annoying. Well, enough of the grumpiness. The good news is the poll has backed my favourite slogan, and the "I Hate First Great Western" badges will soon be ready to send to the printers. Please continue to vote, as I may bring in a second set at some stage, if the first ones are a success.

I continue to hate, not because of the staff - particular thanks go to the kind train attendant who let me on the 8.24 when I was late this morning - but because I've just been quoted the price of renewing my annual pass. Let's just say I could buy a small car and take a pretty smashing holiday if I didn't have to get to work and back on the train every day. Sigh. Anyway, we soldier on, as only the commuter can.

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