By Harry Lincoln, The Linc
Imagine, it’s a cold late October morning. You’re already in a bad mood because you know that the minute you step out the door, returning after a weekend away from uni, everything stops being free.
So you steal – they’re your parents, it doesn’t count – you take food from the fridge before leaving so that you’ll have something to eat for the journey but nothing, nothing can prepare you for a day of travel on trains in the East Midlands.
Knowing full well that I would have a mammoth book-ridden load slowing my already sullen pace down between the 3-4 connections I had to look forward to that day. I came to realise that there’s no point in hoping, most of all in England, for a good day on the trains.
My old-man pessimism spoke to me; I missed my first connection from Ipswich to Peterborough because the train taking me there was 30 over minutes late. ‘East Midlands is sorry to inform you that there has been an unexpected…..’ oh joy. When getting into Ipswich I was astonished that we had to stop outside the station to let my train going to Peterborough pass!
‘Tickets please….’ I had to ask him whether the train had a plug socket I could use to send an important email. I saw one on the way in saying ‘Not for public use.’ It posed the question ‘What is it for then?!’ Vacuuming?! I doubted it by the look of the floor… I waited until the station.
Paying £30 to get home (railcard discount) and back is madness. I paid £170ish last year travelling round France Spain Italy and Switzerland for one month on one ticket. You can’t help but think ‘Where is this money going?’ The prices, speed, cleanliness efficiency are all pathetic compared to rail travel on the continent.
Decorum on trains is a laughable matter too. In Japan it is frowned upon to have a loud conversation or answer your phone. I had a guy shouting to his mate, in my ear, why he wouldn’t go over and talk to his mate the other end of the carriage (which was only a single and consequently heaving). If it weren’t for the immense strain in my back lugging books platform to platform I swear I would flatten him.
However, when I got into Lincoln my mood was lifted as I discovered that the music blaring out the earphones of the girl sitting next to me was Ben Harper. ‘Fantastic,’ I thought, ‘Escapism doesn’t just apply to my UK psyche when I’m on a train!’ Then she answered the phone ‘Cou Cou! Qu’es ce tu fais ce soir?’ Oh…Tweet