Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Or your money back

I filled in 4 claim forms for delayed and cancelled trains. I got 4 identical letters stating that the trains had not been delayed by more than 2 hours. Apparently, East Midlands Trains operates outside the normal space-time continuum. They sent me 4 vouchers at £9 each for future journeys. Oh good. So next year when my season pass expires, I can pay for 75% of another late-running service.

The train is late due to.

Was hoping to be snowed in today, but no such luck. I dragged myself down to the station despite being ill, only to find that the train was delayed. The announcement lady kept saying, "We apologise for the delay to this service, which is due to." Even the robotic voice has given up trying to explain.

The estimated delay time kept increasing by 2-3 minutes until the train eventually rocked up (with only two carriages) 23 minutes late. There was a last-minute platform change, causing Train Buddy and I to go running up and down several flights of stairs and collapsing into the last two available seats just before the doors closed. Nothing like getting to the station 15 minutes early and then having to run for the train 40 minutes later.

Unfortunately for us, the last two seats were in the refrigerator compartment. Er, I mean the jumpseats in the unheated bit between the two carriages. They do have the added bonus of being about 2 feet from the honking loo.

We asked the conductor why the train was delayed, and he said it was because the train was supposed to be 4 carriages, but the brakes on the last two got stuck and they had to be removed. Awesome.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Another score.

The Earbud Avenger strikes again. We may never know why dude vainly trying to whisper into his dictaphone over the noise didn't say anything to the offender, but he was grateful to me for doing it. Come on people! If we join forces, together we can quash the obnoxious.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Hurk. Huuuurk. This is the sound that one makes when gagging up morning coffee because a fellow passenger does one of the following:

Clips her fingernails, allowing the bits to fly around.

Makes his own contribution to global warming through gluteal methane release. Smells like last night was curry.

Decides to pick his brains, quite literally. We are talking second knuckle here, people.

Makes that sound of sucking phlegm from the nose clear into the stomach. Is there a name for that?

Absently plays with his two veg through his sweatpants like he's watching telly on the sofa.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Family ties

I feel bad for the poor Da' on the other end of the phone getting an earful from his loud Scottish daughter about her sister. I feel worse for the rest of us having to listen. The train is so crowded this morning that even if the woman was considerate enough to take her call in the vestibule, she could nae get there for all the people.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

I'll get you next time!

The Earbud Avenger has met an evil arch enemy. On the bus this morning, a man was playing his music so loudly that nobody could tell where it was coming from. A pal, Hagrid, was on the bus too. Despite being a very large rugby player, he shrugged it off citing his aversion to confrontation and left me to plot my strategy. This was definitely a job for the Earbud Avenger.

From several rows in front, I asked the offender to please turn it down. He smiled disarmingly and removed his earbuds as if to show me it wasn't him. I apologised, and the sound carried on.

A gruff old Yorkshireman shouted, "Ayup Friend!" in a threatening manner at the same man a moment later to no avail. The woman behind Mr Disarming Smile indicated with her head that it was indeed his music we were all suffering from. It was then that I realized I'd been had.

I'd met a tough adversary. He was a traveling douchebag. You may have won this time, but next time you won't be so lucky!

Special guest post

This morning we have a special guest post courtesy of Train Buddy. After two years of begging him to share his humorous musings on our often unfunny journeys, he has finally relented and decided to share them with everyone else. This is his take on the very same journey that I posted on earlier, but from another squished seat farther down the carriage. Enjoy! 

I really dislike EMT, and especcially this journey time. Those were pure weasel words. 
We apologise for late running of this service...due to being behind a stopping service. 
We apologise for crowding...due to unit failure.
It should've been: 
"We apologise for slapping the same BUSTED-ASS unit into service, and being completely bowled over by its unexpected internal COMBUSTION. We apologise that being forced to use the remaining working carriages (half that required) has resulted in PEOPLE PATE. That this might delay the FREE FLOW of people was beyond our comprehension. We apologise that far from being a RANDOM occurance, our general INEPTITUDE has delayed our progress such that we fell behind the slower STOPPING train and we are now free to be even LATER."   

Time share seating

This morning's train rocked up with two carriages. Yippee!

Cue announcement from Hangdog Conductor, without a hint of irony, "We apologise for the crowded nature of this morning's journey. Due to a clerical error, we will not be honouring seat reservations".

Now, I've heard this announcement at least once a week for the last two years, and that's only on the days that they bother with the apology. Perhaps the clerk that is responsible for the "clerical errors" might need some job retraining. What the announcement really means is, "Season pass holders don't get seat reservations, so you can get stuffed. All others with that have seat reservations can also get stuffed."

Train buddy and I managed to get seats this morning - just. Several of the other regular travelers that join at the next station weren't so lucky. However, I set up a seat time share arrangement with them. Community spirit isn't dead!

As poor Hangdog Conductor tried vainly to check tickets along the aisle that was virtually impenetrable with passengers, we enquired why the service had been more abominable than usual over the last week or so. He had no answer other than a nearly robotic, "On behalf of East Midlands Trains, we apologise for inconvenience [sigh]".

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Now that's a bad journey

Yikes. A cement mixer just fell on a train from a bridge. So far, reports indicate that there are no fatalities, just injuries. Thank goodness.

I'll stop complaining about my commutes for a while. Well, at least until my next later train.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Oh dear

After last night's debacle in which I arrived at the station at 4:30 but didn't actually get through the door until after 9, I was tired and mad. That was until I spoke to Train Buddy. It was a minor annoyance compared to his tribulations.

Poor guy has had so many cancellations and delays this week that he is actually unsure what time zone he's in, without actually having left the country. He's had 3 (or is it 4? - he lost count) days this week in which his train has either been cancelled or delayed. And when the train is delayed, the driver then has to take a 20 minute dinner break. It has happened so frequently that his patient wife may begin to question the veracity of his late arrivals home. I wonder if East Midlands has a homewrecker compensation fund?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Avenging in silence

This weekend was Halloween and I went trick-or-treating dressed as the Earbud Avenger. I didn't get asked too many questions, considering I had a homemade mask, a cape, and y-fronts over my leggings. My shirt was emblazoned with "Shh!" in a fetching fuchsia applique.

The spirit of the Avenger must have stayed with me, because tonight I was able to silence two separate offenders with a non-threatening, non-verbal request consisting merely of a facial expression. I didn't even have to use my teacher face. Maybe it was the Y-fronts I'm secretly sporting under my clothes.


I recently was told by East Midlands that I couldn't receive reimbursements for cancelled trains during the course of my season pass due to delayed or cancelled trains without specific dates. Luckily for them, I've been keeping track on the handy blogosphere.

I'm currently sitting in a terrible station pub so I can use their plug socket after 2 cancelled trains. The third one is delayed by 20 minutes already, which doesn't bode well for it actually going. If I'm lucky, I'll be getting home at 9pm, only to turn around and leave again at 6:45am.

So far this delay has cost me £16: a sandwich and a coffee because I'll miss dinner, and now a pint for the sake of a plug for my phone. I also had to buy an £8 book because I've been stuck in the station for 2 hours and my laptop battery won't hold out for the whole journey. And I won't get to tuck my daughter in again.

Document that, East Midlands.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Positive start: There were promo people handing out free chocolate bars at the station this morning.

Negative start: laptop battery is dead so I'm 2 hours behind on my work already.

Meh. I've gotten to chat to Train Buddy and I have a chocolate bar for later. I think the positives outweigh the negatives.