Let the train take the strain?

In the last week I have spent upwards of 40 hours on various trains, travelling around the country as part of my latest consultancy assignment.

It started last Thursday when, with about half an hour’s notice, I had to make my way from my home in Glasgow to a hotel at East Midlands Airport for a briefing at 8.30am the following day.   After discovering there are now no flights at all from Glasgow Airport to East Midlands Airport (despite the fact that I have done this journey before!), I had no option but to go by train.  This was my journey:

18:00 Get dropped off at Mount Florida Station for train to Glasgow Central and pick up tickets
18:40 Take train from Glasgow Central to Warrington Bank Quay – running 12 minutes late for no apparent reason
21:20 Arrive at Warrington Bank Quay and take a taxi (in the rain) to Warrington Central
22:03 Take train from Warrington Central to Nottingham, although this train was in fact running 20 minutes late – no explanation given
01:00 Arrive at Nottingham and take taxi to hotel at East Midlands Airport
01:30 Check into my room at the hotel

Fortunately my journey home the following night was made easier when one of my colleagues very kindly took me to Warrington Bank Quay so all I had to do (after a 3 hour drive) was to take one train back to Glasgow before getting home at some time around 10.30pm – exhausted and none too pleased to have to take the very same journey again two days later as I needed to be back in Nottingham for 09:00 on Monday morning!

I took a different route on Sunday, leaving home at 4:00pm and arriving at the hotel at 11.30pm.  The same colleague took me to Warrington Bank Quay the following afternoon and I arrived back home in Glasgow for a brief sleep at around 10:30pm before setting off again the next day (Tuesday), this time to Elgin!

Setting my alarm for 5:15am, I then caught the 7:06am to Inverness and then another train to Elgin, arriving at 11:41.  After a day of meetings I then returned home, via Aberdeen on this leg of the journey, and was back in my flat at about 10:00pm – extremely tired and emotional!!!

I know you’re mostly sitting down while on the train but it is an extremely stressful and tiring experience as people who commute regularly using this mode of transport will probably concur.  It would be less stressful if the train companies could make more of an effort to run the services on time so that you’re not scared of missing the various connections that might mean you being stranded miles from your final destination in the dead of night.  If they could also make sure there are enough carriages for the amount of people using the service that would also be helpful, thus avoiding the dreadful congestion on board and making the journey so much more comfortable for everyone! 

Moan over – perhaps next time I should just take the car?????

Posted on July 12, 2012, in General, Glasgow, Scotland, Travel, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Interesting post on the realities and difficulties of long distance travel. You weren’t helped by the difficult of a few of your routes. I’m gonna challenge a few points but it’s more out of interest than anything else – I’m not attacking your comments!

    1.”It would be less stressful if the train companies could make more of an effort to run the services on time”

    Unless you’ve not mentioned them, I spot somewhere between 7-10 different journeys, with two trains delayed? That’s not a hugely terrible performance, though I agree it’s frustrating not to have the info.

    With regards to stress though – a lot more people suffer from ‘road rage’ and car related stress than they do in relation to rail journeys. Do you use tools as National Rail Enquiries live train tracker? This can help give information about train running times so you can be reassured that things are running correctly.

    I do wonder if the stress was in fact mainly due to the amazing amount of travelling you had to do!

    2. “perhaps next time I should just take the car?????”
    Could you really have guaranteed within half an hour your driving time for all of these journeys? I imagine at least once you’d have been delayed by the same 10-20 minuets you complain about for the trains.

    3. “might mean you being stranded miles from your final destination in the dead of night”
    This shouldn’t ever happen. If you’ve been delayed on your journey the train companies are obliged to either put you in a hotel or get you a taxi to your destination.

    4. “If they could also make sure there are enough carriages for the amount of people using the service that would also be helpful”
    Well I can’t disagree with that, but that’s as much about the cack-handed way in which the railways are organised as anything else!

  2. Thank you for your comments Rob. Actually, there was not a single train journey that was on time throughout all my journeys, though some were more delayed than others!
    Thank you for the information about the live train tracker. I was unaware of this and will definitely use it the next time!
    As you say, the stress was probably more to do with the amount of travelling I had to do – I do feel I would have had more control if I’d driven though but that is a personal preference more than anything else I think!
    My point about more carriages is an ongoing complaint I have. For instance, every time I use the Gatwick express I have to stand all the way – I usually get on and off at Clapham Junction and the train is usually full both ways by that time! The fares are too high to have to stand for 30 minutes but that should perhaps be the subject of another blog post at another time?!?
    I feel better once I’ve got things off my chest on here though so that’s the main purpose of posting but it’s nice to get responses from readers so thank you again!

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