Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Night I Stopped the Scotch Express!

A Virgin Pendolino
Yesterday's train journey back from Pontypridd just got worse and worse. A 30-minute late start at Cardiff had turned into an hour's lateness at Crewe following a road accident near a level crossing in Shropshire that resulted in all trains being halted.
 I knew I'd missed my connection at Crewe, leaving me with two hours to wait and then a further connection to make at Preston. But a word with the guard, who was checking on passengers' connections in view of the late running, resulted in a promise that "he would see what he could do" and, after speaking to "control" he told me to "make myself known to the station staff at Crewe, who were making arrangements for a train to make a special stop to pick me up".

I was rather skeptical, but after I'd eventually located the right staff at Crewe (hiding behind a locked door on the platform) I found that they were expecting me and told me to "be on platform 6 at 20.59 hrs",which made me feel like a character out of a spy movie. But I presented myself at the agreed place and time, whereupon the London to Glasgow Virgin Pendolino 11-coach, 125mph express drew to a halt. No one left the train and, under the curious gaze of other passengers on the train and on the platform, I was the only one to board!

So, thank you Virgin Trains - for getting me home and for that momentary feeling of power -  and apologies to the other 600 passengers on the train, whose journey I delayed by a minute or two.


Halfie said...

I had a similar, though not quite so cloak-and-dagger, experience returning to Norfolk from London recently. The train to Norwich was running late, meaning that I was going to miss the last train to Wymondham. In the event, the Wymondham train was held a few minutes at Norwich Station so I and one or two other passengers could board. Trains to Felixstowe and Cromer were also held back for passengers from the delayed train. At one stage Anglia Railways was even going to lay on a taxi for me!

I did feel looked after.

Ian and Karen said...

Do we need to bow in your presence now or just call you sir?

No Direction said...

All the Pendolinos I've been on only had 9 coaches :( its just not fair.

Anonymous said...
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Sarah said...

Wow. Couldn't have happened to a better person!

Dave on nb Carmel said...

Gosh, it now seems years ago when I would have been the person making the decision to grant a "SSO" (Special Stop Order") - oh, wait! it WAS a long time ago, it's 18 years since I left BR's Regional Control Office at Crewe HQ!!!
Dave K