Picture the scene, you’ve just been at work for 8 hours, you’re tired, you’ve run to the train station and 4 very rude ignorant imbeciles have barged in front of you. You’re exhausted, it’s Friday night and the girlfriend you haven’t seen for over two weeks is waiting at home for you.
There is a train in 10 minutes, and you’re on the right platform ready to go. What could possibly go wrong? Well if you’re stood on any platform at Birmingham New Street – every-last-bloody-thing imaginable.
Asking one of the platform attendants if this is the right platform, he replies somewhat informally, “Yes, but the train here isn’t the right one. The right one will pull in, in just a second”. Fine. You sit down, and start waiting.
Meanwhile, the announcer for New Street is screaming over the tannoy system every 3 seconds – and I’m not exaggerating there, in the 50 minutes I eventually spent wasting at New Street, the maximum time between announcements was not more than 23 seconds. And that was absolute maximum; sometimes there wasn’t even a seconds worth of silence between announcements.
On top of that, the announcements he was making at volume 11 were plain stupid in some cases; telling passengers to move down a platform, for example. Others gave you a insight into the pathetic attempt these idiots are practising in running this train set – there was no less than 23 platform alterations, delays countless, and cancellations many.
Meanwhile, people are running up and down stairs and platforms inches from hundreds of tons of train while platform attendants chat amongst themselves, completely uninterested in anyone who pays their wages.
After a good 10 minutes, I’m left clueless as to why I’m still listening to these muppets panic of the trains that are rolling in and out of the station, and why there is no train here to take me home. Then, speeding out of the platform I’m stood on, a 4 car train accelerates away – the dot matrix signs on the side of it display the destination I was trying to reach. It was my train.
And it was leaving, full of people, without me. Luckily, the life form that had donned a uniform and had informed me so reliably about my train was about 5 foot away – “Is that the train I asked you about?” I said to him sharply.
“Er, yea, the one to Wolverhampton, Yea it’s just going mate”
To say I saw red is an understatement. I was livid. I’d ran to the station, endured 15 minutes of noise, pollution, barging and cold for this idiot to watch me wait for a train on the wrong platform. “Absolutely. F*cking. Perfect.” I shouted.
Going to the customer services didn’t help either – the staff there did apologise and give me the next train to Coseley – another half an hour wait – but he wasn’t at all interested in my delay or annoyance. He even went to the trouble to tell me that the train I’d been waiting for had been in the station since the moment I arrived and I’d been misinformed. I shouted. Apologised. And then shouted some more. Writing this over an hour later, I am still furious at the complete lack of professionalism and organisation at that station. It’s a shambles and a complete disgrace.
So after waiting for 45 minutes, seeing one train go without me and waiting for a second to leave after another good 20 minute wait – and even that one was two minutes late leaving – I was finally on my way home.
Up until now, I’ve been championing the train somewhat, and the car has suffered many a fallback, some of which I’m yet to report on, but after this one incident, I cannot recommend travelling by train to anyone, especially if it means New Street Station at rush hour. Honestly, my 5 year old niece could run it better with no arms.
Utterly futile. In fact no, they have a few uses – to ruin your life, deafen you and make your blood pressure rocket. Which it does. In spectacular fashion.