4 hour detour

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20 minutes out of Crewe, the train doesn’t stop as scheduled:

Crewe Station "A"wendy: I think I’ve gotten on the wrong train (gotten = US english)

train manager: where do you want to go?

wendy: Wilmslow

train manager: (laughs out loud, covers face with hand) yes, you’re on the wrong train

wendy: when’s the next stop?

train manager: (still giggling) London, Euston, in 2 hours

Silently absorbing that I wont be able to present to the 20 people who’ve travelled to Wilmslow to hear me. Trying, successfully, not to cry. I  call my colleague who’s travelling separately. My call is cut off as it’s connected, by a tunnel.  The train manager is fiddling with his ticket machine.

train manager: you can get on a return train immediately, it will get you to Wilmslow by 1.37pm. 

That’s 3 hours after I’m due to start! URGH.  I leave a garbled message on my colleagues answer-service as the train manager fiddles with his ticket machine.  A 2hr each way fast train to London, that’s probably a £200 ticket he’s printing-out. Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry….

train manager: no-one else has got on this train by mistake (giggle)

He’s just told me I’m a complete numpty. Don’t cry, don’t cry….   I phoned my host, apologised and explained, asked if we could reschedule to 2pm. They agreed to try for this.  The train manager gave me a FREE return ticket to Euston, at least this ‘error’ hasn’t cost me £200.  I thanked the train manager and sheepishly snuck back to my seat, trying again to call my colleague. 10 minutes later the train manager found me.

train manager: there’re a few people on the train like you, one lady is very upset, she hasn’t stopped crying

wendy: I’m not crying, but I sure as hell feel like crying. (sure as hell = US English)

train manager: could you sit with her? I think it would help

wendy: sure  (sure = US English for ‘of course’)

The train manager lead me to the last, almost empty, first class carriage where a lady with immaculate hair and make-up, wrapped in a shawl, was elegantly dabbing her water filled eyes with a well-ironed handkerchief. We exchanged similar stories. I reassured her that she wasn’t dipsy. The Crewe service announcements and signs were less than adequate. How kind of the train manager to give us free return tickets and treat us to the quiet comfort of first-class seats. Rachel was charming and entertaining. But

Crewe train station is not forgiven, I may have to send them suggested improvements for their signage…

4 hour detour
1 vote rating 5

3 bits of lovely banter on “4 hour detour”

  1. ExpatEgghead writes:

    You are not alone!. Tens of thousands of innocent human beings have been deceived by poor signage, inaudible announcements and sheer incompetence. I suspect this is why our fellow primates didn’t bother with a industrial revolution. Much easier to go by foot.

       2 likes

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  2. Will Watts writes:

    I think you should have addressed the train manager as ‘Mister Porter’, burst into the famous song and regretted what a silly girl you were.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh!_Mr_Porter
    http://youtu.be/FXifVqyVRUY

       1 likes

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  3. Stefan writes:

    That reminds of the time I was on my way to work by train, and was reading a particularly good book. The train stops, and after a minute or so I look up and think “Oh, we’re at [Dutch town] already”, and get back to my book. Then the whistle blows, the doors close and I think to myself “Holy ******! That was my stop, I should have gotten off!”. So I had to sit for another 45 minutes until the next stop, and take the return train for another 45 minutes …

    But this was purely my own stupidity, this wasn’t due to any bad signage (allthough the Dutch railroads are quite good at that too – just as they are good at not running any services because two snowflakes have fallen from the sky 100 miles further down the line….).

    As an afterthought: I can’t for the life of me remember which book it was. I must be getting old …

       1 likes

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