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Archive for June, 2010

On trains – an open letter

Dear London Midland Trains,

Your ‘Great Escape’ promotion is such a great idea – a ‘rover’ ticket for the whole of your network for just £10.  The Bloke and I thought it was such a good idea we’d book and go to Shrewsbury, from Acocks Green in Birmingham, just for a mooch around.

We had planned the visit with almost military precision, as is The Bloke’s way, but at Smethwick Galton Bridge Station we hit our first snag.  The train we thought would take us to Shrewsbury was not a London Midland train, so we couldn’t board it.  The online timetable we had consulted hadn’t made us aware of this. Never mind, it was a short wait for the next train to Wolverhampton, and we could get our connection to Shrewsbury from there.  And we did.  And very nice it was too.

The journey home was less pleasant.  I realise that you cannot police this, but the constant chuntering from people having loud conversations on mobile phones does not make for a pleasant journey for other passengers.  Neither does the incessant whine which escapes from ipods.  We arrived at Birmingham New Street a little frazzled and made our way through the crowds to Moor Street to get our train home.

We were pleased that there was just a short wait for our train to Acocks Green but when it arrived it was very full.  It pulled past us and further along the platform and we joined the queue to get on.  There were many people boarding ahead of us, and despite the fact that people were asking others to move along the train so those behind them could get on, there was a bottle neck at the door. We heard the warning telling us that the doors were closing, and we remained on the platform, flustered, frustrated and annoyed.  We managed to speak briefly to the guard as the train pulled away and he told us there was another train along soon.  I was surprised that the guard and station staff made no effort to ask people to move along the carriage to clear the crowd near the door, and I was also surprised that the train was allowed to leave before everyone had managed to get on. It didn’t make for a pleasant experience and will make me think twice about using the train for leisure in the future.  I have blogged about train journeys before, and as you can see there’s a sort of pattern emerging!

Anyway, Shrewbury was nice – a very pretty place with a beautiful park and some interesting little nooks and crannies (great word, crannies).  Next time though, I’ll drive.



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