davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Virgin Trains just emailed me and asked how my journey went yesterday and whether I was likely to recommend their service.

I gave them 3 on 10.

We're sorry that we didn't deliver a great service for you.  Could you tell us, in your own words, why you gave us that score?

I travelled as a wheelchair-using passenger in the Standard Class wheelchair space. (Coach F). The wheelchair space on the left side of the carriage places me in line with the aisle as it passes the accessible toilet, making my space a bottleneck. Passengers were continually brushing past me and with no door between carriage and vestibule space the environment was so noisy I could not hear announcements, safety or otherwise. The right hand Standard Class wheelchair space, which does not have these drawbacks, was occupied by a non-disabled passenger for the entire trip. (And passengers were being encouraged to place bulky luggage in the space a chair would have had to occupy had one boarded at York).

Additionally the accessible toilet was out of service for my entire trip of almost three hours, including the nearly two hour fast section between York and Kings Cross. I recognise that mechanical failures will occasionally happen, but none of the on-train staff thought to check whether the lack of a an accessible toilet was an issue for me. Given that a disabled passenger being forced to wet themselves through lack of an accessible toilet had been national headline news within the past week (even if with another TOC), this reflects poorly on Virgin East Coast's standards of customer care.

If it is not already policy that train staff should check with wheelchair using passengers if the accessible toilet is out of action, then it needs to be made so urgently.

I would also suggest that if a train has a wheelchair passenger due to board, and an out of service onboard toilet, the message be passed ahead to station passenger assistance staff and the passenger offered the options of i) being boarded in the other class if the wheelchair space is available (obviously with a refund in the case of a First Class passenger forced to travel Standard Class), ii) travelling by a later train, iii) opting not to travel and receiving a full refund.

It rather boggles the mind that on a previous journey on-train staff specifically approached me to offer to fetch and carry for me as the trolley service was out of action, but on this trip didn't even speak to me when the accessible toilet was out of action, no matter that at least two interacted directly with me during the ticket check.

If you have any other comments or feedback please type them in the box below.

On my prior journey to Darlington I received an offer of an upgrade to First Class for £20, with instructions to approach the Guard on the train to see if space is available. There appears to have been no thought to how this offer would work, or rather fail to, for a wheelchair-using passenger. By the time I have boarded it is impossible for me to upgrade to 1st Class because I cannot move through the train, nor can I move through the train to locate the guard to enquire if there is space for me to take up the offer.

As there is only a single First Class wheelchair space, in comparison with several carriages of non-wheelchair First Class spaces, the overwhelming likelihood is that wheelchair passengers are much less likely to be able to avail themselves of this offer than non-wheelchair using passengers.

Equally, to the best of my knowledge there are two Standard Class wheelchair spaces, but only a single First Class wheelchair space. If both Standard Class wheelchair passengers have received the offer, the Guard could be faced with two people requesting upgrade to the same single space at exactly the same moment. There appears to have been no thought whatsoever as to how the offer would function for a wheelchair-using passenger.

The offer can only function in a fair and equitable manner for wheelchair-using passengers if they have the same likelihood of being able to access it as non-wheelchair-users. It cannot work for them at all if they must wait to contact on train staff, and needs to be modified so that they can approach station passenger assistance staff instead in order to be boarded in the appropriate carriage.

As the system stands, Virgin East Coast are running offers that can only be used by non-wheelchair-using passengers, which constitutes direct disability discrimination and places the offer in violation of the Equality Act 2010.


Jan. 10th, 2017 09:16 pm
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
Finally back from Durham, normal service will be resumed as soon as I'm caught up with stuff.

No disasters with passenger assistance on the trains this time, but the accessible loo was out of action for the entire nearly three hour trip from Darlington to Kings Cross. I plan on gently needling Virgin East Coast about it on Twitter tomorrow. It gives a whole new meaning to #NoGoBritain ;)

And doubly troubling as lack of accessible loos was a headline story barely a week ago.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
 On the 12:01 Darlington to Kings Cross, passenger assistance at Darlington were killing themselves laughing, apparently their roster says that not only am I on the 12:01, I'm also on the 12:00 from Kings Cross to Darlington, and they've been betting which way I'm actually going all morning. That's taking multitasking to extremes!

Just hope assistance is there to get me off at KX!
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

My trip North was decidedly mixed. I got over to Rochester station okay, in fact the taxi was at my front door before I got it closed - he said he was passing my road as the call went out - and had time to do a couple of things I wanted and still catch the train before the one I had planned on. First negative hit 5 minutes outside of Rochester, I was reading my Kindle and suddenly felt travel-sick. A quick bit of experimentation confirmed head-down=travel-sick and escalating neck pain, head-up=fine. Fortunately I'd packed a collar (in one of the underseat bags[personal profile] kaberett

  recommends, though I was too cheap to buy an actual Black Box), first chance I've had to use it and definitely worthwhile. Thankfully the collar mostly solved the travel-sickness and neckache+headache (and a couple of ibuprofen fixed the rest), though not being able to bend my head forward made reading slightly more of an issue. I suspected it was an issue last time I caught a train, though I was hoping that was purely down to it being a Pendolino on the West Coast Main Line, which is a tilting design, but this time it was the Kent Coast Line and the East Coast Main Line and non-tilting Javelins and 225s. So looks like that may now be a thing - the wheelchair tech pooh-poohed the idea I needed a headrest, not happy to be proved right! (Though fortunately it's limited circumstances where it applies).

The transfer from St Pancras to Kings Cross was fine and I was chatting away for a while with the guy doing passenger assistance, which may have been responsible for him announcing, when he'd been off and found the guard, "Change of plans, we're putting you in First Class" - fine by me, I'll force myself to suffer people trying to ply me with free food and drink. The chicken caesar wrap was tasty, but more wrap than anything, the white wine was very nice and I'd have had a second glass if they'd offered it before York rather than after, given I was getting off at Darlington in 20 minutes.

And it was Darlington where things went very wrong, They got me off the train fine and I was sitting waiting for the 15:54 Bishop Auckland train when I overheard the platform staff taking a message that there were major signal problems at Middlesbrough, which is where the Bishop train comes from. The woman who was doing the passenger assistance came straight over and repeated the bits I'd heard, plus that it might be 18:30 before they got anything moving. They waited 30 minutes, then made the decision to put everyone in taxis, which was about 25 of us. If they'd asked I'd have pointed out I can transfer and that the chair dismantles, but they didn't and a wheelchair taxi quickly turned up. Assuming they'd want to squeeze the maximum number of people aboard I stayed in the chair (plus I'd not travelled in the chair by road before and there was a novelty value). I wish I hadn't, it was worse even than the Pendolino, not helped by there only being one front clamp for the chair, which the driver didn't bother with. I spent the journey with my foot tucked under the seat in front to stop the chair tipping backwards every time he accelerated. I'll pass in future.

But for all that I was only about 45 minutes late, and that included pushing from the station to home as there was no point trying to ring for a taxi when they were likely all half-way to Darlington with the people who'd been waiting at Bishop!

Hopefully the return trip will be smoother!

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
Heading North for three weeks in the morning. I deliberately haven't ordered a MIFI SIM, so expect updates to be intermittent as my folks don't have net access and I'll need to wander over to my sister's if I want to get online. I decided against MIFI in the hope of encouraging myself to make some serious progress on the WIP.

Actually booking the train ticket to get there was an exercise in frustration. I've had enough of trying to book through SouthEastern (my local train company), who always seem to have an issue with me booking the wheelchair space, so I thought I'd try with Virgin instead as it's the Virgin East Coast Main Line segment I need the wheelchair space booking for. I'm also switching to travelling from Rochester rather than Chatham due to better access - the new Rochester station has level access between taxi-ramp and platform, Chatham is more 'Oh my god, oh my god, can I stop in time?!). On checking Virgin's online booking I found that it would actually let me book wheelchair assistance as part of the process. Score - no need to phone them! So last Monday I tried to book, got all the way to it contacting my bank for payment, and my anti-virus decided to throw a spanner in the works. So of course I needed to wait to check it had definitely failed and I hadn't been charged. And similarly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as I tried different options to persuade the AV software to behave, including changing browsers. Eventually I disabled the AV software for the transaction, only to find 1) I could now only pick up the ticket from the station (which I was expecting) and 2) it was telling me I couldn't do that. That seems to have been purely an issue with overnight maintenance, so Friday I went to finish the process.

Enter all the assistance data yet again (it wanted home number, mobile number, email, and wheelchair dimensions(?!?)), all ready to book and I thought I'd better check the seat reservations, which turned out to be the middle of the wrong carriage, both ways. and you can change to any seat but the wheelchair space), so now I have to contact Virgin online, who tell me it's because of people trying to book it for luggage and prams (except you can't book it for luggage or prams) and that I need to phone passenger assistance to book the wheelchair space. So that means I can use the online system to book all the assistance I need to get on and off the train in the chair and save having to phone assistance, but not  the wheelchair space itself. (What happens if I then find all the wheelchair spaces are already booked I have no idea). {Roll Eyes} {Headdesk} {Roll Eyes}

So eventually I got the ticket booked and picked it up from the station, but I started the process Monday evening, and finished Saturday afternoon. I knew travel would be more complicated when I switched to the chair, I had no idea it would be this unnecessarily complicated and just plain irritating!

And of course I have to hope nothing goes wrong tomorrow (current odds based on exising data of being forgotten about , not expected. or assistance turning up at entirely the wrong station, c50%)
davidgillon: A pair of legs (mine) sitting in a wheelchair (GPV)
So I'm back home after my fortnight in Durham. And the journey was going so well until I got to London....

Not only were we late into King's Cross because we were held just outside, but Virgin forgot to come and get me off the train. I had to send a friendly wandering film crew in search of the guard, who managed to waylay a member of Passenger Assistance who was providing wheelchair assistance for someone who'd been further down the train. He confirmed I was on their roster, just no one had turned up. He tried to use the onboard ramp to get me off, but couldn't open the cupboard it's kept in, so had to go get one from further up the platform. Finally got off the train about 10 minutes after we arrived.

Despite all that I got across to St Pancras in time for my connection, but the platform staff had decided to let all the alighting foot passengers out of the inbound wheelchair gate (never mind the half-dozen foot passenger gates they just needed to swipe their ticket over), which delayed me several minutes in being able to get onto the platform and arrange the ramp, which was long enough the guard refused to let me board (though people who came through after me on foot were boarded quite happily). We had time to get back to the end of the platform before it pulled out, so there would have been ample time to get me on board.

The next train was only 30 minutes later, so it wasn't an utter disaster. but there's nothing quite as good for making you feel like a second class citizen as having the disabled access provision pre-empted so foot passengers aren't delayed by 30 seconds.

Checking in

Apr. 5th, 2016 04:41 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Still in Durham, with net access only by wandering down the street to my sister's, so only checking in every two or three days.

Journey up was straightforward, though Passenger Assistance at Kings Cross didn't seem to know about me despite ringing Virgin to get the reservation changed to the wheelchair seat. Must call them to check the journey down is properly booked.

Nice to see the family, though my sister only saw me for a couple of hours before fleeing the country I'm covering for her with the parents while she's on holiday, though of course my mother insists she is perfectly capable of looking after herself - she left the house before 10AM this morning, and won't be back 'til 8PM, I wish I had a fraction of her energy!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)


It's been a hell of an afternoon. I popped out at 2PM for what should have been a 20 minute errand to book a couple of train tickets. I only took my crutches because the station is a nightmare in a chair. I realised while I was in the queue that the bank holiday is this weekend, not next, which meant I also needed to go to my GPs, pick up my repeat prescription and go to the chemists (the alternative being spending Monday in opiate withdrawal, which is really not my favourite thing).

So I got to the station counter and told them what tickets I needed, and she punches it in.
Me: "And I need the wheelchair seat, I'll be travelling in my chair".
Her: Tap, tap, "It's not giving me the option to book the wheelchair seat. I think they've changed it so you can only book it through passenger assistance".
Me, dubious: "I booked here just a couple of weeks ago without a problem".

So she gets on the phone, and she talks, and she taps, and different receipts keep coming through her printer and she keeps screwing them up because some of them are for two people etc. It gradually becomes clear that whoever is on the other end can book the wheelchair space, but doesn't know how to use the booking system, so she is coaching them key by key.

Half an hour later (and my comfortable standing time limit is about 10 minutes), the system finally spits out the tickets.

I look at them "I don't think these are the wheelchair seat" (They might be, they're at the end of a carriage, but the wheelchair seat is normally coach C, not Coach F)

She gives me an "Oh, god, no." look and says "You'll need to ring passenger assistance."

Then I had to shoot over to Rochester to my GPs, who hadn't done the repeat yet (as it's 48 hour turnaround and I only put it in yesterday), but fortunately the receptionist went and got the doctor to sign it straight away. Then whip home to pick the chair up as there was no way I was going to make it to the chemist's on crutches, and drive back over to Rochester to go the chemists.

My 20 minute errand has taken 3 and a quarter hours, I still have to ring passenger assistance, and I just took my boots off to find one sock is stuck to my foot with dried blood.

I need a beer!

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

The counter clerk at Chatham Station managed to successfully book the wheelchair space for my journey up to Lancaster on Friday and without even commenting I wasn't using my wheelchair right then.

It's sad this is commentworthy, but he's arsed it up the last twice, so this is a distinct improvement.

I was still paranoid enough to ring Virgin trains and confirm that B63 was indeed the wheelchair space on the 12:30 from Euston, because it would be the middle of a carriage on the East Coast Main Line, but apparently it really is.

I can't help thinking going back to Lancaster for my college reunion is tempting fate. When I went as a student it started raining as we crossed the Durham/Lancashire border and stopped just after I graduated....


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Expanding on the previous post...

My trip north went largely as intended, though I got the distinct impression I wasn't on the booked assistance list at Kings Cross. They still got me on the train, though not without a frown or two. The train itself was surprisingingly empty for a week before Christmas, but the rest of the trip was trouble free I was picked up from the station at Bishop Auckland by my sister, who immediately spotted my new Kunzli boots and remarked "They look a bit, um, specialist". I had to admire her word choice. I'd actually considered leaving them at home to avoid family reaction to the orthopaedic look, but in the end they're just so damned supportive I decided to go with them. And the family can always be talked around by a good bargain, such as getting them at 75% off ;)

Visiting the family has become quite strange, because of the situation with my dad I'm left alone in the house from 2PM until somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30PM, while my mother spends the afternoon and evening with him at the care home. I went along once and walked home (I can't manage much more than about 45 minutes with him because of seating issues), but after that it was decided* I was better off going along in the evenings with my sister as I can get a lift both ways.

* Apparently I don't get a vote in the matter. The family is still a bit inconsistent in handling my walking limitations. At times they'll be overprotective, and at others they're pushy.

Dad is very variable. Some days he's very much with it, and capable of making jokes about the immediate context, other times he sleeps all day, or is awake, but pretty out of it. It's clear that not having the aggressive physio he was getting in rehab has caused him to regress physically, but scheduling it for his good days was and is impossible. His speech is still very much affected, and not helped by him mumbling or whispering, or his insistence on using a sentence where a word might do. OTOH it's a lot clearer when he's annoyed! Apparently I'm now referred to as 'Goldenboy' by my sister, because he can always remember my name even if he hasn't seen me in months, whereas he can't always remember my sister's, even though he sees her daily. Whoops! Fortunately my sister takes it in relatively good heart, and her devotion to him, and, especially, my mother's, puts my efforts to shame.

We had our Christmas Day lunch at the care home as the only way of managing to get the whole family together. I thought it was a little sad that out of their 60-odd residents, only one other relative did that (though a few residents were visiting families for the day). I think my mother was a little stressed over how it would turn out, though given she'd normally be stressing over the cooking that wasn't too much of a change from normal, but in the end it was fine. The food was good, better than any works Christmas Meal I've ever had, and if the portion wasn't huge, it was more than adequate. And Dad was on fine form, so that was a result.

New Year's Eve was less of a success. I went along to the local club (as in working men's, not night-) with my sister and her husband, which we've done in previous years, and we even got my mother to pop in briefly when she came home from the party at the home, and while the beer was fine and there was a ridiculously large buffet laid on, there weren't the people who've laid on entertainment in the past, or even my brother-in-law's drinking cohorts, so it just died away, and when someone decided to stick MTV on for music, rather than say Jule's Hootenanny or one of the other New Years programmes, it just killed it (I didn't object to the music myself, but it was completely wrong for the evening and most of the audience and no one had the sense to claim the remote back and change it). So we left before midnight and I was actually in bed by the time the New Year rolled in - sad!

And the next day I came down with a savage cold, which managed at various stages to cover all the traditional woes: streaming nose, hacking cough, up to and including feverish chills. The most annoying part of it was the randomly varying pressure in my inner ear, with associated randomly varying hearing loss, which was just plain irritating. Every time I tried to watch something it was alternating can hear him-can't hear him-can hear him-can't hear him. I think that was actually more irritating than just not being able to hear at all! And it's still doing it ten days later, even though I'm over the worst of it; there'll be a sudden pop and I'll suddenly be able to hear much more clearly. Unfortunately I gave it to my mother and possibly my sister, though neither got it quite as badly as me. And of course it meant I had to stay away from Dad for the last week I was there rather than risk giving it to him, though I was well enough to see him the night before my trip home.

I had meant to be online while I was up there, ordering a 3GB data sim, which should have been more than enough to last me while I was away. It took a few days to arrive, but when it did I hooked it up, did a little light catching up (mostly DW and webcomics), and after 3 hours it announced I'd used up my entire data allowance. I was not impressed. I was initially cursing myself for not turning off Windows Updates, but after a little poking around the system Windows told me that even with updates enabled I had only used 740MB of wifi in the last month, less than a quarter of what Three were claiming I had used in three hours. Not Impressed! But it's an impossible argument to win with the mobile companies. I could have bought a top-up of course, but I was understandably loathe to risk throwing good money after bad. And when I did finally risk their cheapest deal, a) their website crashed, b) Firefox took offence to Kaspersky's ebanking functionality and blocked access to my bank. *Headdesk* *Bah, humbug!*

Being stuck without net access meant I couldn't do the literary agent research I'd been promising to do over the holidays, though I did manage to work my way through the Acknowledgements pages of most of the books of my Kindle - surprisingly few authors credit their agents. On the brighter side it meant I was able to concentrate on writing instead and I'm now 15,000 words into the new novel with a much better idea of where the plot is going (Answer: Underhill).

My trip back worked even better than the trip up, this time everyone knew I was travelling and all the assistance was waiting for me when needed - in fact I had three separate people turn up to get me off the local train at Darlington - driver, guard, and passenger assistance! The only slightly worrying moment was when I came down the ramp at Kings Cross and even with my hands clamped on wheels it was steep enough the chair skidded. (In a masterpiece of not thinking the issues through, the train stops with the exit from the carriage with the wheelchair spaces right next to where the new escalator lands on the platform, meaning there's only just room to get off the ramp before hitting the side of the escalator, and if a passenger chooses to step into that space at the same time you're skidding down the ramp... well, it's just as well she had good reactions...). My subconscious was so completely thrown by booked assistance working without a flaw for once it keeps hitting me with dreams about missed connections!

Weatherwise we escaped the flooding that afflicted most of the North. It was decidedly soggy, but the worst of it was east of us, then south of us, and finally north of us (and of course being a couple of hundred feet above the river doesn't hurt). I saw an awful lot of flooded fields on my trip south, though fortunately nothing to disrupt train travel. Compared to previous years, when we've had to worry about trains being cancelled due to snow, it was positively uneventful.

And so that's Christmas done for another year. Same time next year?

davidgillon: Dina Meyer as Oracle, sitting a manual chair in front of a clock face (Wheelchair)
Into London last night to have a drink with university friends. One had suggested changing venue (Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, est 1538, current building 1666) given I now come with wheels, but we've been drinking there for years and it does good beer, so I said I'd be fine. And indeed I managed for find a step free route there from Chatham  - high speed to St Pancras, then Thameslink to City Thameslink, which is only 200m from the Cheese, a lot closer than my old route got me (the rather noticeable difference in the two legs being the Javelins from Chatham have multiple wheelchair spaces, while the Thamelink service expects you to sit in the aisle at the door). But the Cheese was worse for access than I remembered, with a foot high step at the door, and multiple levels separated by several steps at a time. I arrived first, so had to get myself in, just as well I can get out of the chair, but there was no way I could get it to the bar and no way I was braving that crowd on my feet without crutches or sticks. Fortuitously I found myself a table and defended it from all-comers for about 40 minutes until the first of the others arrived and I could finally send someone to fetch beer!

Great catch-up with old friends, and just immediate acceptance of the wheelchair, which was nice.  Then we moved around the corner to an Indian restaurant they'd tried before. Not bad (though £5.95 for a bottle of Cobra is wince-inducing), but the doorway, for no real reason whatsoever, was up a step, with a dogleg from one side of their (very narrow) frontage to the other. Only way to do it was to get out of the chair and take it in backwards. Then the tables were arranged down that same narrow width, so no chance of staying in the chair, the extra depth with wheels would have blocked the gangway.

And then all off our separate ways, with me back to City Thameslink, where there had been a double signal failure and people were NOT PLEASED. Trains were running late and cancelled, but I just wanted to be put on the first one that arrived and go two stops to St Pancras. I was sat waiting at least 15 minutes, then another 10 minutes or so on the train through to St Pancras,

Where there was no one to get me off.

Lots of people offering to lift me off (probably with undertones of 'and stop delaying my train home'), and me insisting 'no, just please find the guy with the ramp'). Meanwhile they were announcing the train was fast to Bedford and the doors were about to close, so I had to position myself with foot projecting out of the doorway for the doors to close on to, at least twice, to stop myself being hijacked to Bedford. The non-closing doors seem to have reminded the driver (I was in the front coach) he did actually have a wheelchair passenger aboard, and he came back to unload me using the onboard ramp. And as I got off I could see someone from platform staff finally approaching with a ramp of his own. I'd have been at least five minutes on my way to Bedford if I'd relied on him. Yes the guys as City were harrassed, but they had more than enough time to alert St Pancras I was coming and St Pancras more than enough time to respond.

So I whipped upstairs to catch the Javelin back to Chatham, and was promptly homed in on by a drunk wanting to know if I needed help. He was amiable drunk rather than aggressive, but possibly too amiably drunk to have appreciated being told 'No!' if the train was there. Fortunately the train wasn't there yet,  and the guy with the ramp appeared just as it did - and apologised for missing me downstairs. The Javelin wasn't particularly busy and I ended up nattering with the guard for most of the journey - 'If I go off down the train then I might get caught up in something and not get back in time to make sure they get you off okay at Chatham'.

And then a final waddle up the hill home and to bed. Though I did have a neighbour knocking on the door this morning to tell me I'd left my keys in the outside - whoops!

Access is getting better, but there really is so much still to be done. Including public education, manhandling people in chairs off trains isn't a safe answer (especially at 11PM ten days pre-Christmas when most everyone will have had drink taken!) And this is London, which in many ways is streets ahead of the rest of the country.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I've been meaning to write-up my trip North, though I'd anticipated being slightly quicker about it.

I booked the train tickets at Chatham Station the Sunday before I travelled, made it clear I'd be travelling in my wheelchair, and was assured that wheelchair spaces and assistance had been booked for every leg of the journey - three there, three back. I'll be slightly more skeptical next time.

Longish and very mixed experience! )
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I'm finally back home, despite the best efforts of the British weather to stop me - got to the station this morning  to be told the local train I was supposed to catch through to Darlington where I pick up the East Coast Main Line had been cancelled due to something on the line near Middlesbrough after last night's gales 'and we're trying to arrange a bus'. Fortunately the guy on duty came out to tell us this before I actually got out of my brother-in-law's car, so he hadn't driven off into the distance, and even more fortunately was in a position to drive me through to Darlington. In fact I was actually on the platform at Darlington a good ten minutes earlier than I would have been if I'd caught the local train. (If I'd turned up on time rather than 20 minutes early there wouldn't have been enough time to drive to Darlington and still catch my train, so yay for neurodiverse travel anxiety!) The rest of the journey was trouble free except for a three minute delay outside Thirsk 'due to a signalling mistake'. Signalling mistake? On the East Coast Main Line? Not guaranteed to fill me full of confidence!

With being hospitalized and then heading north for Christmas/to recuperate I've spent precisely four and a half days at home since the paramedics scooped me off my bathroom floor on the 9th of December. Being here and on my own feels weird!
davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)
I needed to book my train ticket home, so checked on Trainline.com, the cheapest ticket was £129, which is weird as even this close to travel I'd normally be able to get a £46 or £67 ticket. A little bit of poking and prodding seemed to show it was the London to Chatham leg was the issue, no idea why, that's the high speed  commuter line and not normally an issue. Went to the local booking office instead (our local station is so noddy the ticket office is in a model railway shop), he pokes at his computer and gets the same figure, then pokes some more and says 'if I split it into two legs and do London to Chatham separately then it's £67.' So I asked if he'd had to switch to the non-high speed service to get that. 'No,' he says, 'it's exactly the same trains, but half the price, no idea why.'

Railway pricing moves in mysterious ways....


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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