I have mentioned before that most of my favourite people have spread themselves all over the country. As I have still not bothered to learn how to drive this means that I depend on trains to connect me to the people I care about most.
I don’t mind a long(ish) train journey. I can download some podcasts, bring some train snacks and get a cup of tea (or two!) off the trolley. I am more than happy to sit on a train for a few hours if someone I love is on the end of the journey.
However, as anyone who has used a train in England will know, sometimes it can be a bit more complicated. I went to see my school friend, H, in Wales for her birthday recently and was a bit annoyed to discover that I had to take a rail replacement bus from Bristol. For anyone unfamiliar with the concept; train lines in England will frequently be closed for whatever reason and instead of hopping on a reasonably fast train, you have to go on a slower bus, for the same amount of money.
Fine, I thought. It would be nice to break up the journey and go over the River Severn, rather than under it for once. I could live with it. But when my train turned up for the first leg of my journey I heard the announcer say sorry, it has been reported that this service is full and standing. As I like seeing my friend, I have got on this train a lot. It is always full! And it only has 3 carriages. Make the train longer! Come on guys! It obviously is not big enough.
Luckily I got a seat, next to a man who didn’t seem too keen on having someone sit next to him. I moved away from him when the train emptied out a bit, only to have a man sit next to me and then noisily eat some very cheesy smelling crisps. After 2 hours of that, I got my rail replacement bus, which got stuck in traffic and was about 20 minutes later than it should have been.
When I finally got to the station in Wales I saw my friend, C, who had come down from London already waiting there. He gave me a very long hug and then we sat and gossiped and joked while waiting for H to pick us up. The arduous journey had already been totally worth it.
But if the trains could be a little bit better… or cheaper, that would be great!