Thursday, 18 January 2007

18 Jan - 50 mph is Quicker Than We Usually Travel, Planes, Train and Automobiles (or should that be taxi, train, bus, car)

What a day!

0642 turned up on time, fab. Got to Didcot on time, then waited for 0754, and waited, and waited. OK, it turned up at 0800 and left at 0802...we got on train and everyone was there: me, Alma, DW, Brenda, Lesley, Jolyon, friendly chap, plus 2 other friendly chaps. We had a half-carriage all to ourselves. After a mile or so the Train Manager announced that the blanket speed ban was now in place: 'due to the speed ban we can now only do 50 mph'. Our resounding response was: 'well, that'll be 15 mph quicker than we normally travel', followed by some cheers and laughter. So we all arrived at Oxford in good humour.

In the afternooon I got a message from a colleague who said that the line was blocked between Oxford and Didcot so I thought that I would catch the 1621 train just in case the journey home was going to take hours (or more hours than it normally takes). Got to the station and I bumped onto my new pal Glyn Beck, area manager. He put me and another bloke into a taxi, so off I went to Didcot, via Culham. I was a bit concerned, as I had spotted Alma approaching Oxford station just as I was leaving in a taxi, and I thought she would be stranded there for ages. However, it turned out that while we were doing the pretty tour of Oxfordshire a train had appeared and Alma had reached Didcot before me! In fact, she had got on to the train that was standing on the platform when I arrived on the platform, but which did not let me on! Boy, I was annoyed. However, since she got to Swindon before Bath re-opened, she may have then had to get on a bus to Bath. The Dispatch Team person said the next train to BTM would arrive in 10 mins, so that shut me up. However, it was 55 mins later that a train turned up.

Meanwhile, I bumped into Uma and then Angus and then Jolyon. There was a big debate as all the BTM trains said that they were not stopping at Chippers or Bath as both stations were closed (Chippers roof had fallen off and Bath station had had structural damage..), so we were totally confused. The screen said that the next train was our train but then the next train was a Swansea train. To be honest, the screen was totally knackered as the 1711 to BTM suddenly became the 1707, then the 1741 appeared to overtake the 1707. At 1755 at train to BTM turned up. Of course, there were no seats free, so Jolyon and I stood until Sunny Swindon. Top tip: it is always best to stand in the middle of a carriage on a crowded train as you stand (no pun intended) more chance of getting a seat when the train stops at the next station.

The train made good time and I got into Bath at 1855, so journey was 55 mins longer than usual. This is pretty good considering what had happened. BUT, because the info screens were rubbish and there was a complete lack of communication, I am awarding this a 'late' badge.

--

Journey to work/meeting punctuality: 82%, 18/22
Journey home punctuality: 86%, 19/22

---

FGW alerts:
Customers should visit www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk before travelling.
After warnings from the Met Office a reduced service will run on high speed routes today (that's not the OXF-DID route then?!)
All routes severley disrupted. Pls check www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk for details

1 comment:

graham said...

Max ... at least you had a train. All 4 services that are supposed to call at Melksham were cancelled on Thursday and that's not unusual - less than 50% of trains so far this year have actually run.