Thursday, 31 March 2011

Train times

Going to bed now, as I got in after 10 because someone jumped in front of my train (or, in the words of the guard in his announcements ever 20 minutes, there was 'quite a serious incident').

Euphemisms only work when you don't have men in high-vis jackets running up and down the train telling the passengers exactly what is going on outside. (One of the men was basically Morpheus from the matrix, down to the sunglasses and coat. Amidst the engineers, paramedics, transport police and suchlike, I wonder who sent him...)

Stiff upper lips were to the fore, despite being stuck for almost two hours with half the lights off and no air conditioning because they had to put the train on emergency battery power.

The guard also came round with bottles of water for people who needed it to swallow their medication (it seems there were a lot of them on board), advising us to allow 'women and children' to take it first. I think he'd seen too many disaster movies or something.

Everyone was on phones half the time, and chatting for the rest of it. One woman phoned her child's friend's mother to tell her she was taking them out for dinner, and the rest of the train conspired to shout out  during the call to expose her as a liar.

Another man had to explain to his three-year-old daughter that he couldn't tell her a 'teddy story' over the phone because everyone was listening, which just made the man opposite him demand stories for the duration.

In short, it was survivable. Everyone was very mature, right up until I made it back to Woking (via Surbiton, where our train was 'terminated'), where all the worried spouses etc who'd driven to the station to pick people up had formed an enormous, hooting traffic jam. Maybe being stuck in a packed train for a while would have made them more polite...

Thus concludes the story of the train. Yes, it is awful that someone died and other people had to clean them off the front of a train, but it's not the first time this has happened (it's not even the first time this has happened on one of my journeys, as I'm sure most commuters can claim) and there was not much anyone could do for them.

Going to bed now.

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