Travel chaos

What can I say? Today has (so far) been a complete waste of time. A combination of weather and a comedy of travel errors has diverted my day. Big time.

I set off at 7.20am to catch the 7.57am train to Leeds. It was raining hard and had rained hard all night – but we live in the Pennines, so what? My train was delayed by nine minutes – I had a twelve minutes change over in Leeds: so that’s when my worries started. Thanks to Ron Mitchel and Sharon I was kept fully informed of developments and of alternative routes. My destination had been Nottingham, to attend the CAPITAL (Curriculum and Pedagogy in Technology Assisted Learning) meeting set up by Nick Jeans of SERO.

As it happened, my twelve minute change over didn’t become a problem because a) we arrived in Leeds less than nine minutes late and b) the 8.40am to London (via Newark, where I would meet Ron) never moved in the entire time I was in Leeds. I’d found my seat when an announcement came on to say that because the electrical power system at Leeds was having “some difficulties” and that “this train” was electric – we may be a little delayed. Furthermore, it appeared that overnight, someone had stolen signal cables outside Wakefield, so even when we got started, going would be very slow until after Wakefield. The 09.05am train to London had already been canceled, but this (the 08.40am) was still unsure of its morning’s duties.

So was I!

Because of a derailment near York yesterday [BBC News], the Trans-Pennine routes were in some disarray too. All trains north were disrupted and as a result, many of those to the west were also delayed or canceled. The notice boards were in complete chaos. The guards and assistants were being as helpful as they could be, but things were changing so fast that even they were relying on the boards – which were not helpful. I eventually got back to Huddersfield on a train that (it would appear) had been kidnapped and turned around. I think it had been heading north and I think that the driver was still determined to take it north, but the announcement and the dodgy boards now said it would go back west to Liverpool. Who convinced the driver of this I’m not sure, but it did go back west. As I got off in Huddersfield, there was still some uncertainty about its destination – Manchester Piccadilly or Liverpool Lime Street. I suspect that the problem here was driver-knowledge. If he wasn’t conversant with the ‘road’ he wouldn’t be able to take the train beyond Manchester (more Trans-Pennine trains go to Manchester than to Liverpool, so this is likely).

Anyway, having got to Huddersfield, my problems were not over. I’d missed the local bus (twice a day – once on Wednesdays 🙂 and knew I had a short walk ahead of me – but hadn’t anticipated the swim. The bottom of my hill was flooded. Whilst it doesn’t look much, it did fill my shoes and I had to walk home with shoes full of shitty water. Then a shower, then blog, then work!

Why can we not prepare for weather?

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