|Christmas service - unrequired, or just unprovided?
The rail network right across the UK was shut down yesterday, and it's pretty close to that today. That's not always been the case ... I recall in my youth a skeleton service on Christmas day, and quite a good selection on Boxing day. For Christmas day, fair enough - in the UK few people are wanting to travel, but 26th is much more a get out and do things day, and perhaps the railways are missing out on an opportunity - perhaps they're being run of the convenience of the managers and staff at this time of year, rather than for the customers.
It must have been about five years ago that my son Chris was coming home to Melksham for Christmas, from Bognor Regis. Christmas Eve, and the last train was earlier-than-usual and so that was the service he had to take after work. He got nearly to Southampton, where the train stopped about a mile short of the station for an extended period - information was that someone had committed suicide - and so he dragged in to Southampton after the last train to anywhere "Salisbury and beyond" had left.
A sea of people, all who had missed the last connection for Christmas, and abandoned by the railway companies. No alternative transport ("Look - it's not our fault that someone committed suicide"), and utterly inadequate taxis. So a call from Chris and I drove all the way down there. Incredibly. some hour or two after the problem started, still a sea of people as I plucked Chris and a couple of people he'd been chatting with up, and we headed home for the holidays.
Here's a picture I took yesterday. I'm not in the UK this Christmas - this is what comes of having a partner who's roots were originally in another part of the world - and we were riding streetcars yesterday (25th December). I wish I had a better picture but it was wet, drab, and the crowds were such that I couldn't get much of a clear shot
Written 2005-12-26 15:28:17
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