11 December 2007

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry

The train home was formed of a 5-car Adelante set, so was short of seats to start with, and so full that someone managed to grab the communication cord - I know it's not a cord any more, but you know what I mean - and stop us in the middle of nowhere. I'd been dozing, so had not seen where we had passed through, and all I could see in the darkness was some streetlamps and a hint of passing traffic at the bottom of a steep embankment. I feared that I knew that stretch of road, and that it was between Slough and Maidenhead, and when we started moving again I found I was right.

For a long time, the train manager announced nothing, and when he did he apologised and explained that he had had great difficulty passing through the train. At Reading, of course, many people left the train, although it was still "full and standing" after we departed again.

The FT's essay competition - "what I'd change" - closes on Thursday. I had thought to argue for prohibiting competitions that encouraged people to believe that they could change anything, but on reflection I might draw up a manifesto for the rail-travelling public. It should resonate with many of the readers - if it is ever published.

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