Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One of the BEST and worst things about living in the UK?

The railways. (I typed failways in originally - I nearly left it there).

The best thing about them - actually, on my line, normally, they really do work. And I'm saying this as someone who's used them a minimum of 10 times a week for 120 weeks now. That's 1200 journeys; and maybe 15 of those have been nightmarish; and those which are merely more than 30 minutes delayed get a small refund (I have 8 refund coupons so far this year, two of them from one day which, in my memory, is extremely happy other than the rail journey. I get a loan from work for the season ticket amount and buy myself a small treat from the amount saved on the coupons). It's not a bad record. It certainly beats planes for punctuality, in my experience.

You also get to see some of the most beautiful British scenery by train. Last night I put up a post on Ravelry about registering for Early Alerts for cheap fares on the East Coast line for the upcoming UK Knit Camp - you can travel from London to Edinburgh for about £20 each way if you book really early. (OK, it will cost you way more than a much more polluting plane journey if you have to go to something totally short notice and obviously inessential like, say, a funeral or job interview, but let's not disturb the bucolic peace of the moment for a second...) If you travel from points south past Berwick, you get the most beautiful view from the train - which you can probably tell from this picture of the train going over the bridge. At the other end of the country entirely, if you travel from Exeter to Plymouth, the view is equally spectacular when the train hugs the coastline .

However (and you knew there was a however coming...)

Tomorrow there is snow forecast for my area in the afternoon. So from 0300 a "snow timetable" will operate... I understand that there is snow forecast in London this evening, but I don't quite understand how that affects the early trains to London from my area, where there is currently no snow; not a flake...

It seems that if I set off from home at 6:15am or so, there is a chance I may be able to reach London by 9 or so. Possibly. By changing trains several times and sitting on endless stopping trains. Maybe. I'm not due in until 10, but then the snow's due at about 3pm, so I may have to leave early...

A colleague who lives not far from London found out at 4pm that most of the trains on her line (not one in the flagged "severe weather warning area") had been cancelled tomorrow. Again, without a flake falling...

I can't work out what's worse - advance scaremongering, or abject failure once the event's happened. But hey, they've tried both in the last month, so I'll let you know which is preferable.

(And yes, it is, additionally, that time of the month, thanks for noticing...)

1 comment:

SusieH said...

Failways...hehehehe. I like that Freudian slip. Hope the journeys weren't too hellish. I know King's Lynn area car traffic was insane this morning, as snow only started falling here at daybreak.