Thursday, 30 January 2014

An Hour on Lancaster Station

Lancaster station at 12.45 today. No trains running, all trains "delayed" due to a broken  rail somewhere on the line south. In platform 4 an 11-coach Virgin Pendolino bound for London, but not going anywhere.
At 12.50 an announcement advising all passengers to cross over the footbridge to platform 3 where a train for "Preston" was expected soon. Passengers for London, Birmingham and Manchester (three separate routes) were all advised to get to Preston and start again from there.

12.55, with the Platform Indicator still showing a train to Windermere a 5-coach Virgin Voyager showing "Euston" (which of course everyone, foreigners included, knows is in London) arrived and quickly filled up with waiting passengers.

12.58 Although the indicator on platform 3 was now showing the next train as the 1256 to Glasgow, passengers for Glasgow - and Windermere - were asked to cross to Platform 4 and join the Virgin Pendolino, which departed northwards shortly afterwards.

13.00 A four carriage electric train arrived at the now vacant Platform 4 bound for Manchester. Some passengers left this train and crossed to Platform 3 to join the "next" southblound service. Passengers for Windermere (who had all caught the Glasgow train) now advised to go to Platform 5, where a train was "waiting".

13.10 Passengers advised that the next train south would now be the Manchester one from Platform 4. The contents of the full-and-standing 5 coach train on platform 3 decamped and crossed to Platform 4 and squeezed on to the four-carriage Manchester train, which was already well-loaded.

13.20  Both trains still at Platforms 3 and 4. "Windermere" train at Platform 5 still there, locked and empty.  Announcement now made that buses had arived at the station entrance to take passengers to Preston. Passengers start to leave the train  on platform 4and head back over the bridge to the exit. With the train half-empty the driver announced that he expected to be leaving shortly and advised passengers to stay aboard. Shortly afterwards a platform announcement was made advising passengers that the Manchester train was now expected to leave shortly but that the buses would still be running.  Large numbers of passengers return over the footbridge and the Manchester train is soon full again.  More passengers return to Platform four, but announcements now say that the train is "full-and-standing" and station staff dissuade people from boarding.

13.25 Manchester train departs and I also take my leave after some free entertainment.  In all this time traditional British phlegm ruled supreme. Nobody complained, everyone just took it in their stride - just another day on Britain's privatised railways. 

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