On the Wrong Track

“When waiting for my train from Coventry on Friday 14th December 2012, I was informed that the train was exceedingly full and not many people would be able to get on. As my ticket was only valid for this train, the 15:27 from Coventry to Birmingham New Street, and my next train was at 16:03 from Birmingham, I had no choice but to get on this train, which was as promised completely over crowded. I had to stand for the duration of my journey, despite booking and paying for a seat, as there was no way I could travel through the carriage to find my seat.”

As a student I travel on trains regularly. Being based in Coventry with a sister and brother in law in Bradford and my parents in Cheltenham it is the only way to visit people (I am too poor to afford a car). I wish I did have a car though, at least then on a journey I would be guaranteed a seat and music that I choose to listen to. If it was not for students then arguably the train services would go out of business, but I am yet to find a student who enjoys train journeys.

In response to my email (which started as above), I got told I was entitled to 5% of the cost of my ticket in Travel Vouchers. So that worked out as £2 compensation for standing next to a toilet for 2 hours. So that would be £2 to put towards my next train journey, oh the generosity.

I have lost count of the amount of disrupted and uncomfortable train journeys I have endured. Trains so packed that I cannot physically move to find my carriage, let alone my reserved seat. And the amount of times I have had to sit next to someone with their music so loud I have just decided to turn my i-pod off to save the battery and enjoy theirs.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to generalise to everyone. I am sure that there are some people out there who enjoy being packed in like a sardine feeling as though they are being cooked and constantly apologising to fellow passengers for standing on their feet, and if this is you then I salute you.

Perhaps my ‘favourite’ journey was when I somehow managed to find myself in the ‘Quiet Carriage’. Having never experienced this before I assumed that it would be quiet, just like the sign said on the door. I could not have been more wrong. Incessant announcements that this was indeed the ‘Quiet Carriage’, a woman on her phone who seemed to want the whole world to know how great her night out had been and the two train staff who appeared to be having a meeting made for a noisy carriage.  But I shouldn’t complain because on that occasion I managed to get a seat.

The worst thing though has to be the smug people who sit in First Class with 4 seats and a table to themselves. They look out at the passengers on the platform and smile. What is the need, I ask you, for multiple First Class carriages when there are only a handful of people in the whole country who can afford these tickets? I cannot even begin to comprehend how the Government can justify spending £32 Billion on a new high speed rail route, when what they already have is so bad.

What made me write this article is the fact that I am going to my sister’s at the weekend. That’s a 3 ½ hour train journey. And the weather forecast says snow. I do not hold out much hope for an uninterrupted journey.

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