03 December 2007

Saucerful of Secrets

A bird in the hand is said to be worth two in the bush - a saying memorably illustrated on the mid-1970s re-release of the first two (and best, IMHO) Pink Floyd albums - and the same is true of trains. This morning, my email and SMS alerts told me only of problems with a train from Exeter to Paddington ("this is due to a member of train crew being unavailable") that would be twenty miles away from my route at the material time, and now on the stroke of 0722 that the train due to start at that time from Warminster going to Cardiff will start at Westbury. Nevertheless, at the station the screens display unalloyed bad news.
In particular, the 0707 has slipped 17 minutes, and the prospect of taking the usually-full 0717 is not attractive (although there are surprisingly few cars in the station car park today: it looks more like a Friday than a Monday - perhaps there has been a spate of nose-bleeds). I settle for the six-stop service from Oxford, which is civilised until it stops the other side of Reading: passengers from Maidenhead probably never sit down, but I can start working quicker this way.
In fact, several hopeful regulars awaiting the slow train give up as it too is late, and revert to their plan A (or probably B, as the two fast trains are arriving in the wrong order), descending into the tunnel back to platform 2 just as slow train comes into view.
As between a trainn that's in sight and one that the operator tells you will be along in five or ten minutes, always take the one you can see. The proposition seems irrefragable, but as I mentioned the time above a fast one came thundering past. Should the commuter's motto rather be "live dangerously?".

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