Sunday, dreaded rail works. They turn a relatively easy journey into a nightmare.
For the last ten years, there has been rail works on either the Reading-Gatwick Line, or the Redhill-Brighton line, occasionally on both. No trains, replacement bus service.
Last Sunday in October, the worse to date.
At the station, poster referring to rail works, no timetable.
No announcement at station where to change for Gatwick, or on screen.
I had a feeling alight at Reigate, no announcement on the train, train went on to Redhill, I assumed I was wrong.
At Redhill, no one on platform. An announcement, go to Platform 1 for replacement bus. This was wrong, it was the other end of the station.
Long wait for a bus.
No bus to Gatwick, had to get a bus to Horley, then train to Gatwick.
Bus meandered through housing estates. It would have been quicker a bus direct to Gatwick.
At Gatwick, train leaving for Brighton from Platform 7. Nigh impossible to get to Platform 7. Possible to get to any platform, bar 7. Very few trains. Why use Platform 7? Trains for Brighton, even on weekdays when busy, do not go from Platform 7.
I miss the train for Brighton. Twenty minutes for next train.
I speak to station staff. I ask why was there no direct bus to Gatwick. He ways there was, from Reigate. He double checks for a later train. Yes, change at Reigate, direct bus to Gatwick.
Direct train to Brighton standing room only. And that was after many alighted at Gatwick.
Train arrives at Brighton, then sits outside the station for several minutes.
Return journey not as bad, but not without mishap.
Alighting at Gatwick. Where the bus?
Have to go through the terminal building, bus about to leave.
Where is the bus? No one to ask. Bus in the distance, in darkness. Yes, it was the bus.
Bus direct to Reigate. Luckily less than ten minutes wait for the Reading train from Redhill.
Time to re-nationalise the rail network.