|Train strain ... Sometimes rail travel doesn't work out quite the way we hope. Photo by Joey Herrera on Unsplash|
It's anybody's guess, so I thought better to visit friends early than probably never.
Then I pondered over whether to trust the train to visit Portsmouth.
Obviously, as the decision shows, I'd not kept up with any shenanigans of the now privatised and seemingly unconscionable British Rail, er South Western Railway.
Of course, I do know trains've not been a public, er, asset for a long time. However, I hadn't expected that conscience might have been let go, too.
Rail fares keep ascending, of course, but a few months ago, the price with a senior discount card was around £14 return.
|Eventually, at long last, we arrived in Woking, for a change of trains, and perhaps a salute to the town because it's where H G Wells wrote War of the Worlds. The station was freezing. Any part we might use to escape the weather was locked up...|
He said, '£21.25.' I repeated the name of the destination. The price didn't change. I observed that it was a hell of a price increase. He laughed.
Well, he wasn't paying and was actually being paid to collect the inflated fee.
What choice does the aspiring traveller have? I paid. Ripped off, a cynical side prompted.
If the train will take me there smartly, perhaps, it isn't so bad. And happily, I didn't have to wait long for the long, long train.
However, perhaps because of the stiff newish prices, the carriages were almost empty.
I shared one with just two people. But it was warm and seemed clean.
A grand tour
However, instead of hurling towards the destination, we few passengers were treated to a grand tour of Surrey, and rather slowly too, presumably so we could enjoy the wintry scene.
Eventually, at long last, we arrived in Woking, for a change of trains, and perhaps a salute to the town because it's where H G Wells wrote War of the Worlds.
The station was freezing. Any part we might use to escape the weather was locked up.
A sign encouraged that my connecting train would be here in … 60 minutes. One hour on a freezing station, out in the open...
Perhaps they realised that this Cape Horner, well used to the Southern Ocean's tempestuous and freezing conditions, would find it no challenge.
However, for some reason I hadn't brought my Henri-Lloyd storm gear, and nor did the few other aspiring travellers.
I braved just ten or fifteen minutes of it, and then accepted that as Fate had kept me a stranger to pneumonia in life so far, I'd be ungrateful to dwell in the freezing place much longer.
As if admitting their rotten service, a return train pulled in at that moment. So much for Portsmouth today, so much for the overpriced fare.