HS2…….Bring It On!

November 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm 2 comments


My journey back from London (in the South) to Crewe (in the North) last evening made me an advocate of the proposed High Speed Two (HS2) railway link from London to Birmingham, Manchester and beyond. Not because I am in a hurry to get to my office thirty minutes quicker – although getting home thirty minutes quicker does have a certain appeal – but because the intention is to use new, modern infrastructure and not the old Victorian rails and routes which we have been using for the last one hundred and fifty years or so.

Despite the best attempts of my taxi driver who seemed intent on showing me all of the sights of London and the bright Christmas lights of Oxford and Regent Street on a very circuitous route from the office to Euston station, I just made it onto the 16.40 to Manchester before the doors shut. As ever finding a seat was less than easy. I am sure that everyone with a reserved seat doesn’t sit in their reserved seat. No, instead they sit in the “available” seat next to their reserved seat so as to acquire more space. They then place their handbag/manbag, jacket, coat, suitcase/laptop case onto any other “available” space to ensure that their personal space is maximised and proceed to cover all available table space with computers, iPads, phones, newspapers, etc. to make it difficult for those of a braver demeanour to say “excuse me but can I sit there”. And, they develop an off-putting scowl or a distracted-I’m-avoiding-eye-contact-distant-stare. It is just a theory of course – it could be that all of the people with reservations for the 16.40 from Euston to Manchester had missed their train as a result of taxi drivers insisting on taking the scenic route to the station via the bright lights……. but I doubt it.

Virgin really should do something about their reservation system!

Nevertheless, I evicted a jacket and pair of feet – the man opposite had his feet up – from a “Reserved for Travellers Club” seat and settled in. We left on time. The tea and coffee was served. I took tea. The cold drinks and alcoholic beverages were served. I stuck with tea – I was driving at the other end. The sandwiches, cake and fruit were served. I took a tangerine – C was cooking me a lovely hot meal for my return home. I struggled with a few emails – the Wi-Fi on Virgin trains is slow and continuously dropping out – before settling into an episode of Storyville which I had downloaded to my iPad. And we sped along.

We sped along as far as Tamworth where we stopped. After a few minutes there was an announcement that the route north was blocked due to a track-side fire but that the emergency services were dealing with it. I Googled and discovered that it was a blaze at a plastics factory and they had already been fighting the fire for two hours. What? If the fire had been raging for two hours why on Earth had Virgin and Network Rail let us get as far as Tamworth? Why hadn’t they diverted us around the problem?

We began moving. In the wrong direction! Virgin and Network Rail had decided that they would divert us around the problem. And, given the antiquated Victorian infrastructure this meant heading back to Rugby and working our way through Birmingham. The problem was that all local and northern heading trains had also been diverted. We limped along. We limped along through wonderful places such as Spark Hill, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton and Walsall. We limped all the way to Crewe. We arrived at Crewe four hours late! And, throughout this delay we had no food and no more refreshment due to the fact that that service had been concluded before we had stopped.

I was late, hungry and grumpy as I arrived at Crewe station at 10pm…..and I was sober. My mood was not helped at all by the fact that only one car park ticket machine was working and there was a long queue. It was 10.30pm before I got home. It was too late to eat, so I fell into a glass of wine instead……


Entry filed under: middleman. Tags: , , , , , .

I’m A Celebrity….. Two Months Down Under

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  November 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    You were caught in the middle then xx xxxx


  • 2. Middle Man  |  November 26, 2013 at 6:53 am





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