Friday, 27 July 2012

Trains

With the house move being away from Luton, it is no longer feasible for me to walk to work. I've considered cycling (I recon it'd take me an hour ish), but haven't done anything apart from just think about it. So commuting is now done using one of the selling points of Flitwick when we were choosing an area to move to-the train line.

Working in St Albans, Liz has been getting the train from Luton for some time, so we'd need to live somewhere near the train line for her to confined working. Luckily for me, I could get the same train line to Luton, which I've been doing for a week or so now.

Initially the price was somewhat of a surprise, but I am used to not only off peak prices, but using a railcard also, so. The difference is noticeable. I've talked to a couple of colleagues who commute by train and the recommendation is to get a monthly ticket (best cost ratio, I think after that the returns are diminishing).

In my years of getting the trains off peak, I got one of my first experiences with disruption yesterday. Must be a morning train thing.

I listen to podcast on the way to work (I've been a week or two behind since not listening to them while on paternity leave), so generally ignored the people at the station till I got to my platform, where ii noticed there was more people than usual. Then I saw the big delay signs...

I bumped into someone from work, who filled me in (signal failures near Bedford), so we wandered down the platform, away from the crowds to make use of one of the benches.

A little wait later, and a voice came over saying that someone had stolen some cables preventing trains from running. They seemed to put a lot of emphasis on the words 'cable theft', I guess to try and shift commuter anger away from them...

Sitting and waiting for a train (they were going to send one to Flitwick and back as it wouldn't be able to get to Bedford), we saw the fast trains zoom past. I was informed that they weren't affected by the cable theft due to being engine powered. Interesting. "It'd be nice if the fast trains stopped for us to help out due to the fault" my colleague suggested. "They probably would if the rail companies weren't privatized" I replied.

For some reason, it took a while for the train to decide to move platforms, and then actually do it, but we were eventually on a train and on our way. Not too late to work, about 40 mins I think. Maybe cycling isn't such a bad idea...

There were still delays on the way back, I found as I arrived at the station after work. While the prospect of getting the train one stop to get a bus wasn't great, it was a nice day and I wasn't going to let something like travel disruption ruin it.

One ice cream later, and I am waiting on the usual platform for the train to Luton. I hear there is one arriving on another platform, so start wandering towards there. Not rushing, there'll be another train soon if I miss it. My original train started to arrive as I had just got up the stairs, so I stuck with my original platform instead.

Getting off at Luton and heading for the exit, I thought I saw Bedford on the travel plans for the train I just got off. Checking the list of stations and seeing Flitwick, I asked a man in Orange for confirmation (I thought Luton was the terminating stop). It was going on as normal, so I got back on, and was on my way home, without the bus.

A fairly pleasant journey overall. I think I was lucky, both that the trains I needed to get arrived in a timely fashion for me, and also that my train commute is fairly short, so I am less affected by delays.