Tuesday, August 02, 2005

All Rails Leave To Selby

All Rails Lead To Selby

Tonight was my turn at getting caught up in some of the effects post London bombing. York station had a bomb alert - and a subsequent controlled explosion - and though I don't live in York, wasn't going either to or from York the fact that I live on the route between Leeds and York meant that I was basically up the creek without a paddle. Or, to be more accurate, stuck at Leeds station with no clear indication of how I was getting home. They'd set on buses for the York people, but not for those in the stations inbetween. Oh no, we were to fend for ourselves on the next available train.

This might not have bothered me as much were it not for the fact that I'd started work early in order that I might leave early and just miss rush hour with its packed trains and scary gun weilding police. Indeed, as I stood on the platform at 4:30, I had missed rush hour. The came the cancellation of my train, two minutes before it was supposed to arrive. Not that it was announced over the tannoy as such.

"[crackle] flump flump [crackle] flump [loud train noise] flump, 16:41 cancelled"

But even that was more informative than the advice given to the 16:41's wannabe passengers:

"Flump, flump-flump [train noise, train noise] flump [crackle]"

Thus I dragged myself up to the information booth to see if I could get any, well, information. the only problem being that the guy in the booth knew even less about the train situation than me.

"I'm wanting to get to Crossgates"*

"You need to ge the next train to Selby, if it's running"

"[hard and slightly scary looking man behind me interjects] what do you mean it might not be running?"

"It might not be running"

I decide to try a different tack.

"Is the Middlesbrough train stopping at Crossgates?"

"No. You need the Selby train" he says Selby as if talking to a three year old who's having a problem understanding.

"The Middlesbrough train normally stops at Crossgates".

He looks at me. He doesn't need to say the words, so I do.


It's only when I'm sitting on the Selby train platform, just as the Middlesbrough train is arriving seven platforms away, that I hear that, of course, the Middlesbrough train has only dropped York from its route and will be calling at all other stations as normal. But I'm stuck on platform eight and there's no way I'm going to make it. God, that guy really wanted me to go to Selby.

me and half of Leeds it would appear when the train pulls in. I'm lucky, I've been on the platform for nearly an hour, I'm in the carriage and firmly attached to my spot. But this is the busiest train I've ever been on. And when you consider that I regular travel Virgin cross country you know this is saying something. It's so full that the platform is still crammed with people when there is no where else to squash them on the train. And god is it hot, not to mention the rather odd smell that seems to be emanating from the man next to me. In their wisdom the company decides at this point that it might be a good idea to add a couple of carriages. Even when they do this it's standing room only and I've got an elbow pretty near my face.

And then the conductor makes his announcement. Predictably he lists every stop on the route to Selby except Crossgates. I let out an audible "what?" and people turn to look at me. I also mouthed an inaudible swear word, but only the bloke opposite me catches that.

"It'll stop"

I look at him through my Coco sunglasses.

"If it doesn't and I end up in Selby I'm blaming you".

It stops.

* Or Cross Gates as it is on the national rail website. It's both Crossgates and Cross Gates on the station signs and Crossgates on the boards at Leeds station. No one, least of all those of us who live here, know which is the correct version.


Val said...

There is a worse fate - you could have actually ended up in Selby! (think Hull and then add some!)

I thought there'd been problems as there were signs on the ring road saying that the roads round the station were closed - and I passed a bomb disposal unit heading back towards Leeds!

Billy - you know who! said...


pick the obvious url, add .co.uk and don't tell anyone :P