Long train journey

A very long train journey.

Friday evening is not a an evening I would pick by choice to travel to London as many people visiting London for the weekend, and so it proved to be, only it was far worse than I expected.

I had to catch a connecting train Lincoln to Newark to pick up a train to London Kings Coss on the East Coast Main Line. Could not move at Lincoln Station for people and their luggage. Long queue to buy a ticket.

On the train standing room only. But bloody ridiculous, a train of only one carriage, for which we pay extortionate rail fares.

The train to London running late due to signalling problem somewhere around Stevenage, or between Stevenage and London, but not too long to wait.

Platform very crowded, lots waiting for London train. A very long freight train goes through, travelling at a surprisingly high speed.

Everyone piles onto the train. I luckily manage to grab a seat. Even luckier a seat next to an attractive chemistry student from York University. She is reading an autobiography by Guy Gibson. She had given up reading her notes on mathematics for chemistry.

I pop to the buffet and get a tea. Annoyed to find they are still selling Starbucks coffee.

Train grinds to a halt. The freight train has broken down between Newark and Grantham. Freight train moves, we move, freight train breaks down again, we stop. Eventually we get going again. Now running about 50 minutes late.

I suggest to my new found friend a cluster of sites she may wish to visit in Lincolnshire. Petwood, former Officer’s mess for the Dambusters, with a bar as it was, and a many old paintings. Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre run by the Panton Brothers where they have one of the few surviving Lancaster bombers, the Bell Inn and Thorpe Camp. Not part of this cluster, I also suggest the Dambusters Inn at Scampton and the village church which has a number of graves from RAF Scampton.

As the train is pulling in to Kings Cross, a very unusual announcement. We are told as the train is 50 minutes late, were are entitled to compensation of half of our rail fare and to have our tickets and papers ready and we would be handed forms to claim compensation. A little before there was an announcement if an hour late, can claim full rail fare. It was like flying, I almost expected an announcement have your passports and visas ready.

This is all very new to me, and it seems to everyone else on the train.

As I walk along the platform, I ask one of the train crew, where do I get this form and is it for the journey to Kings Cross or the entire journey. He directs me to an Information Centre.

I see no one handing out compensation forms. I go to the Information centre. They give me a claim form and tell me, yes, we should have been met off the train with claim forms.

Getting through Kings Cross is a nightmare. What was the front entrance is blocked off. What was the outside, is now covered over. No Idea how to find the entrance to the Underground.

I ask a police officer. She directs me behind some shops. Why no signs?

I ask her where she is from? She is from Portugal. Do I have a problem? No. Just surprised we are employing foreigners as police officers. I ask her to name a well known writer in Portuguese. She does not know. Paulo Coelho? Yes, she does know.

When I arrived at Kings Cross, up the escalator and straight into the station (or would have been if there were signs). This time, I walk miles.

Travelling on the Tube, not very busy, most seemd dressed for night out.

Anther train from Waterloo.

Finally reach destination station a little after 11pm.

A long journey. From door to door, a little after 5-30pm to 11-15pm.

Synchronicity: The following day I spent a cold afternoon in Farnham. Walking into the Oxfam Bookshop, as I walked in the door, on display Dambusters, a book on the Dambusters raid. Not only that, as I walked further into the shop, a DVD and a book on display on the Lancaster, the heavy bomber used in the raid.

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