Monday, June 23, 2008

Bitching Dr Beeching

Clare Station
Here's a photo that sums up how well the railways were working this weekend

As was trailed in our last thrilling installment of The Renaissance Monkey, our hero was about to go and get trolleyed with work colleagues to celebrate the departure of a certain Red Demon thingy after which he was to jump on a train North to see his mother for her birthday. One of these exercises went well.

I was very restrained knowing I had to be up early the following morning and the thought of dealing with my mum with a raging hangover didn't bear contemplating. At a little after 10 I called it quits and went home to pack a few things and then to bed. Tinseltroos didn't rock in until much later but she was allowed the hangover as she wasn't coming with me. Duly on Saturday morning I set forth in the medium drizzle to London Euston where I arrived at 8.30. Normal procedure travelling to my mum's is get on a train at Euston, travel for an hour and forty five minutes, get off the train at Crewe. Done. A cursory examination of the internet before travelling revealed that due to the inevitable "planned engineering works" my journey would be somewhat circuitous. I boarded a train at Euston, an hour later we rolled into Northampton where we were all thrown off and driven, rather in the manner of prairie cattle, into 'buses to drive to Birmingham. Sisoftroos maintains, and I think she may be right, that the three most terrifying words in the English language are "replacement 'bus service". We trundled up the M6, stop starting in the traffic for an hour and a half until we arrived at Birmingham International.

Upon arrival there it took a little detective work to find where the suburban trains into the city of Birmingham ran from but eventually I fought my way onto a platform full of grumpy shoppers and then squeezed myself and my bag onto a tiny, packed commuter train which stopped at every tiny station in every suburb of Birmingham until we finally arrived at Birmingham New Street.

I stomped the length of the gargantuan New Street concourse looking for trains that stopped at Crewe. After several false leads and bum steers I tracked one down and boarded. From New Street we made reasonable time and I eventually arrived in Crewe, starving and parched at about 2 o'clock, five hours after I'd set out.

My mum had a fun time, I took her out to dinner and she took me to the arts fair in the town she lives in (highlights included me, trapped in a church full of singing primary school children surrounded by some horrible paintings by "local artists", with no way of escape) and then on Sunday morning at a very early hour I was out back on a train as my mother had church duties and so needed to be rid of me. The journey back was more straightforward - no changes were necessary. Unfortunately due to more engineering work and some jammed points we sat outside Milton Keynes for an hour and eventually pulled into Euston an hour and half late. A two and a half hour journey became a four hour journey.

Having dumped my bags Tinseltroos (who had just about recovered from her hang over if not her cold) and I went and had a late lunch in my favourite restaurant. From that point on the weekend took a marked turn for the better and today I'm back in work for more fun and games.

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Blogger booda baby said...

Another case of 'it all depends.' I kind of like Birmingham and its suburbs and wouldn't mind at all inching slowly slowly along its roads. Milton Keynes, however, is loathsome to moi.

Neither one would have been any good at all with any kind of hangover, so weren't you prescient or something for not traveling debauched! Nice to hear Tinseltroos picked up your slack.

3:58 am  
Blogger Churlita said...

I love that photo. I'm sorry it was so frustrating for you. It probably made coming home to your lady that much better though.

5:55 am  
Blogger Mrs Pouncer said...

Sounds ghastly, and yes Dr Beeching has everything to answer for.

Incidentally, the three most terrifying words - in print anyway - in the English language are The Penny Catechism. I had a pre-Vatican II Catholic upbringing, which probably says it all. Cordially as ever, Mrs Pouncer

10:05 am  
Blogger Mr Atrocity said...

Booda Baby, I have nothing against Birmingham as a city, but both its main stations are horrible and being wedged into a packed commuter train anywhere is pretty horrid.

Churlita, the mighty Tinseltroos is my rock and that's for sure.

Mrs Pouncer, I found a regulation C of E upbringing was enough for the words "Dearly beloved, we..." to send a shiver of fear down my spine for evermore.

11:35 am  

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