|Train to nowhere: Greater Anglia services last night were thrown into chaos|
Last night was the worst rail experience – by far – I have ever experienced on the shambles that is the Great Eastern mainline.
It was compounded by delays occurring on Tuesday as well because of “slippery rail conditions” – that is it was raining!
Yesterday though was beyond reason. Firstly, the service was due to be delayed because of speed restrictions. As soon as the conductor had told us this, and before we had even pulled out of London Liverpool Street, she came back on the tannoy to announce there had been a fatality at Goodmayes railway station in north east London. As soon as I heard this, I factored in a two hour delay.
I know how long it takes because I have previously been on a train which has hit a ‘jumper’. And by the time the police had found all the different body parts and bagged them up and once the driver had been relieved of his duty it had been a two hour wait. This is still way too long though to clean up the site.
But last night, things took even longer. Two hours later the conductor told us the police had yet to find a body and were still “investigating”. Half an hour later we were told there was no body, therefore nobody had committed suicide by train, and we would be soon on our way (slowly as you will find out in a moment!).
But first, why does it take two and a half hours for British Transport Police to realise no one has actually jumped in front of a train? The report from
Morning Ipswich Star is almost comical. The train driver at Goodmayes thinks he saw someone lean off the platform despite there being no body on the line but there was a dent on the front of the train. So based on that flimsy account of events, thousands of people were held in cramp conditions, which would not be legal for transporting cattle, for hours.
|Sardines: People pay good money to travel like this|
Then the fun really began. By the time the police had decided they couldn’t find a body or body parts, they opened the line again (how nice of them). Two and half hours had elapsed. Our 19:00 service then became the 21:30 to Norwich and was duly announced on the station concourse at Liverpool Street as ready for departure. Bearing in mind it was standing room only on the held 19:00 service, five hundred people then descended on to the platform to board the same train. Infrequent passengers on the already standing-room-only train were asking where the hoards of people running down the platform were going? The look of incomprehension on their faces when we told them they were boarding this train was a picture to behold.
So, the police closed the line for two and half hours for “safety reasons” to hunt for a non-existent person but cramming in a further 500 people into already overcrowded small compartments for a three hour journey to Norwich is perfectly safe is it?
|Health & Safety: Cattle have better travel conditions|
We then finally crawled out of Liverpool Street at 21:30 but as if nothing else could go wrong, it did. A freight train broke down in front of us, forcing us to descend to a walking pace. We finally got into Ipswich at midnight. As one fellow commuter said, it would have been quicker to cycle the 80 miles from London. All in all, because I had travelled from Reading yesterday, it took me seven hours to get home from work!
One thing that struck me last night was how hardly anyone complains when an event like this occurs. There was also a level of stupidity. Some people wanted to get something to eat and a drink (preferably alcoholic) but the buffet car was blocked by people sitting in the aisles. Instead of stepping out of the train on to the platform, walking a short distance and then stepping into the buffet car, several people just moaned (the only time they actually did complain) they couldn’t get through and went back to their seats! I think this must be one of the reasons why we have such a poor rail service in the UK: operators realise they can get away with it because the customers are either too polite or stupid to complain about the criminally expensive service they receive.
Well, you may have guessed I am not one for being quiet. First thing this morning I contacted my MP to highlight the woeful and time-wasting processes British Transport Police follow in the event of an actual or imagined fatality. I await Ben Gummer’s investigation.
To end, there is one main reason travelling in this country is such a horrible experience not matched on the European Continent: there are too many people. The immigration policies of the last fifteen years, primarily caused by the Labour Party to deliberately dilute the British identity, has led to South East England being one of the most densely populated regions in the world. We know it is caused by immigration as the indigenous birth rate has fallen off a cliff and every time I take a train it is like being at a session of the UN assembly considering the number of different languages being spoken into mobile phones up and down the carriage.
Now, I love different cultures and peoples but we can’t just continue ramming thousands of people into a small patch of land off the north coast of the European continent unless the public services are enhanced to reflect the demand. But that can’t happen without massive public spending and the UK taxpayer is already shelling out enough cash to the Exchequer. Therefore, the Government needs to “get with the programme” and start implementing a workable immigration policy. But for now, I’m just glad I am working from home today.