Thursday, 3 January 2013

A reminder of why I hate commuting by train

In an earlier post I compared commuting by cycle and train. Yesterday was the first day of work for me after the Christmas holidays, and consequently the first commute of 2013.

Things have got worse.

Rail fares are up 5% (£4.20) and the First Great Western railway monkeys still haven't fixed the broken information signs on the platform.

On approaching platforms 4 to 6 passengers are cautioned that the train isn't stopping at the platform, despite Reading station being the terminus of these lines.

Presumably the trains are going to smash through the end of the line and onto the station concourse, which is a really good reason for passengers to stand clear.

Joking aside the failure of these signs is a real problem. The trains on this line can depart from platform 4, 5 or 6. Often there are two or three trains waiting in the station. The trains depart at roughly 15 minute intervals so the signs are useful in indicating which train is next to depart and therefore which train I should get on. Without the signs I have to guess. As you might expect helpful railway employees are rarely present.

Guessing wrong is infuriating. You get on one train only to see the train next to it set off, giving you the awful realisation that you're going to have to sit on the train waiting for 15 minutes before it goes anywhere. On my bicycle, in that 15 minutes I could be more than half way home.

Roll on the better weather and lighter evenings please. I can't wait to say goodbye to the train for another season.

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