Thursday, 5 November 2015

Rail Travel

Today I made the mistake of thinking that traveling by train from Sandhurst was a practical proposition. All I wanted to do was visit Oxford for a day out. This should be a journey of around an hour via Reading but unfortunately the GWR* timetable is a work of fantasy fiction.

Having walked the mile in light drizzle to Sandhurst Station,which has no facilities whatsoever, you can't even buy a ticket and should really revert to it's former, less pretentious title Sandhurst Halt I was greeted by the sight of a display showing that the 0953 train was expected at 1000. No, wait 1001. No, hang on, make that 1002. And counting...

And in the distance I saw... nothing much.

An attempt to check the situation using GWR's web site revealed that it was actually slower than it's trains but using the National Rail site instead revealed that "this service is disrupted" and "you probably won't make your connection". Given the lack of ticketing facilities at the station and that previous experience of GWR "train managers"** suggests they'd rather hide in the cab abusing themselves**** than come out and sell you a ticket, there was no "probably" about it. Having to queue at the excess fares window at Reading like some potential criminal*** would ensure that the onward journey would be further disrupted. I'm not sure I'm up to the stress of that sort of challenge on my day off.

So, what to do? Pointless waiting for a train that if it ever came (I once waited on that platform for two hours while they kept promising and cancelling services) wouldn't get me where I wanted to go at the time I wanted to go there. Walk back home and get the car out I suppose.

Except now I'm not sure I can be arsed. Perhaps the Ashmolean will have to wait for another day. A day that won't involve fucking useless GWR.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

*As First Great Western have now decided to rename themselves in a desperate attempt to garner some of the glamour of railway's "Golden Age".
** What was wrong with the title "Guard"?
*** Which is how GWR regard their passengers, see
**** That's a guess but as good a guess as any.