I tweeted so prolifically yesterday that even the most inobservant of you probably know that I was on a train through Wales. Some of you are probably already on the edge of your seat in anticipation of my latest train-related blog post.
Please control your excitement, however. I regret to inform you that there are no tales of romance. There isn’t even much of a rant, having instead added my frustrations to the cloud of annoyance with Arriva Trains Wales which is already present on Twitter. There isn’t, if I am honest, much to say about trains, either.
Still, my story begins with me sat on a station platform, where I was waiting for a connection. I was watching the electronic sign list the stops for the next train:
Filton Abbey Wood
Admittedly this was probably only marginally more interesting than watching paint dry, but please bear with me. As the place names scrolled across in front of me, the computerised announcer then also decided to read them out.
“Filton Abbey Wood,” he said, “Bristol Temple Meads, Caerfaddon, Bradford-Upon-Avon, … Westbury … Caersallog … Southampton Central … “
It was as though he had a cough. Or a speech impediment. But how hard is it to say “Bath Spa?”
I’m sure that it’s of great historical importance that the Welsh language has some exonyms. But even the most ardent of Welsh speakers must surely know that there is a place called “Salisbury” (that or they’ve never crossed the border, in which case it’s irrelevant anyway).
Don’t get me wrong, I am actually a big fan of the Welsh language, and the fact that it has not been allowed to die out. It just seems a bit incongruous (and a little bit comical) that Arriva can’t afford proper trains, but someone has to pay for information to be given in Welsh. And presumably for someone to stand on the platform to reassure concerned passengers that the train does still stop in Bath…