Posted by Neil Crosby on September 1, 2005 02:14 PM
[This entry was written last night on the train, and I should warn everyone reading that moaning follows…]
Last night I got two and a half hours sleep. I got up at 5am this morning so that I could board the 7.07 train from Leicester to Birmingham, and thence to Aberystwyth. It’s a journey that I’ve done three times now in the last month and a half, having graduated from university and then accompanied Becca to an exam. Each time recently I have been travelling there and back on the same day. Having checked thetrainline.com I was told that there was no cheap day return available for this journey, so I thought no more about the cost of the journey and simply paid the amount that was requested of me at the ticket office.
The thing is, it is possible to get a ticket on the day that you’re travelling for far less than you’ll be told you have to pay, just as long as you think slightly laterally. You see, a cheap day return is available for the Birmingham to Aberystwyth portion of the journey, at a cost of £11.90 (with a young person’s railcard). Add to this a standard open return for the Leicester to Birmingham portion of the journey at £9.05 (7.07 is too early in the morning to get a cheap day return - darned commuters!) and the journey suddenly costs about £8 less than the £29 that I’ve paid three times so far this summer. This reduction in cost is due simply to asking for seperate tickets for each leg of the journey - I’m catching exactly the same trains at exactly the same times as I would have been had I bought the single ticket. So understandably, I’m rather miffed at being charged a total of £24 extra over the course of the summer that I didn’t need to!
Unfortunately the journey from Birmingham to Aberystwyth did not go without a hitch - people stomped on my feet without apologising, I got cramped into a seat without a table so that I had room for neither my legs nor my laptop, and generally I didn’t have the best of experiences. Unfortunately, the journey back did not fare much better. Initially, the train was about fifteen minutes late arriving, but this being the wilds of Wales I wasn’t too bothered. I knew that if I missed my connection in Birmingham that there would be another one in thirty minutes so the worst that would happen would be that I arrived home a little later than expected. Unfortunately, this was not the worst that happened. As we arrived in Newtown, the conductor strode into my carriage frantically asking if there was a doctor on the train. After talking to a couple of the passengers who were sitting in the next carriage down, it transpired that a three year old boy had had a seizure and that we were now waiting for an ambulance to arrive for the boy. Unfortunately, it seems that Newtown does not have any ambulances of its own, and instead one had to be sent from Machynlleth, which took approximately twenty minutes to arrive before the boy was whisked away. I can only hope that he’s okay.
Of course, this unfortunate incident delayed the train even more, resulting in us arriving at Birmingham New Street at approximately 21:30. Thankfully, there was one final connection available to me at 22:15, which I am now on. Hopefully there will be no further problems with today’s journey!
So, what was I doing in Aberystwyth in the first place? The answer is simple - I was visiting my lovely girlfriend Becca. The time I had with her, although short, was wonderful and I cannot wait to see her again in a month’s time for our one year anniversary. This relationship is already the longest I’ve ever been in, currently beating my previous record by one month, and I look forward to it continuing for many many years.
So, all in all, it was a good day.
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