December 2006
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Show me the way to go home

I can’t really be bothered to rant about this any more.  But just look at this trail of misinformation leading to a four hour wait in and around Watford Junction station on a very cold Sunday afternoon – although it could have been a lot worse…

All because of a bit of wind.

On the train from Stoke on Friday evening, there is an announcement.

… Due to engineering works there will be no trains from London to the Midlands before 2pm Sunday.

Our return ticket was for 12:50 Sunday.  Once I’m off the train I call Virgin Trains Aftersales.  Their Indian call centre knows nothing about the state of UK railways.

… There are no problems with that train, sir.

Saturday lunchtime I call the Virgin Traveller club.  Nobody told them either.

My system says that train is still running.

Saturday evening I check the National Rail Enquiries web site.

There is no information.

Perhaps we imagined it.  Sunday morning, I try National Rail Enquiries again.

… Take a Silverlink train to Northampton, then a Virgin train to Stoke.

Not too bad, just have to leave a bit earlier.  We’re there at 11.30 and the man at the station gate tells us the way to go.

… There are no trains to Northampton.  Take the train to Milton Keynes, then a coach to Northampton, then the train to Stoke.

Worst route ever?  We decide it’s better to wait a couple of hours for a direct train sometime after 2pm.  A lady in a Virgin Trains jacket on the platform is sympathetic to our plight.

… Don’t go to Milton Keynes.  We haven’t ordered the coaches yet.  Wait until 3pm, there’ll be a direct train and it won’t be busy.

Honest at least, glad we decided to wait!  She also recommend a very good cafe just up the road.  Credit where credit’s due.

The joyous news finally arrives.

The Mancehster train has left Euston.  It’s already full and standing room only.

Thankfully the trend of everything we were told being wrong continued, and we did actually get a seat.

Oh, we were in London to see any random show that they had half price tickets for.  Ended up being Blue Man Group.  They are still the coolest thing on earth.  Fact.