Yesterday evening I went to visit a friend in Poole – and I had a lovely time doing so.
However, the return journey has given me an excuse to indulge in a railway related rant. Maybe that’s music to your ears (I haven’t had one in a little while, after all) but I hope you’ll otherwise bear with me.
The (hourly) trains in the evening seem to stop at every house, farmyard and stable in the New Forest, so I had plenty of time to watch the world go by. I must have somehow missed the throng of people alighting and embarking at Pokesdown (“for Boscombe”) but I was able to familiarise myself thoroughly with the list of scheduled calling points. The bustling metropolis of Hinton Admiral was, of course, on the list, as was the large Hampshire town of Micheldever. In fact, the train was due to stop at every station on the line…except St Denys and Swaythling.
You might be thinking that this makes no sense, but compared with the busy streets of Shawford, the Southampton suburbs pale in to insignificance. I’m glad that SouthWest Trains considered the needs of the majority onboard the empty train and have cut unnecessary stops from the timetable. After all, the number of stops meant that the train was due in Waterloo two hours after leaving Southampton Airport, so it’s good that they saved a minute or two. I was more than happy to speed past my house and have a long walk back* in aid of the Greater Good.
Despite my overflowing joy, however, if you come across someone from SouthWest Trains I’d be grateful if you would force them to sit on a train which stops everywhere except at the most convenient station for them. Such torture might be more effective than water-boarding, and if nothing else may encourage them to get as far as looking up “Customer Service” in the dictionary.
Two days ago I reported that the Transport Research Group have discovered that “taking the train might be cheaper than driving.” Like lopping off you big toe, or buying a Daewoo Matiz, however, cheap does not necessarily mean cheerful.
*to be fair, I could have waited 40 minutes for a connecting train. Or pushed the boat out and reduced my wait to 30 minutes by buying a bus ticket.