Not My Kind Of Morning

I’m a night owl. I’m not the sort of person who generally can get to sleep before around 1am, unless ill or exceptionally tired. This means that when it’s one of those nights where I need to be up at 6am the following morning to catch the train, I’m behind on my sleep.

What I really don’t need in a situation like that is a morning like the one I’ve just had.

I fell asleep with the TV on, listening to the lovable housebreaker Norman Stanley Fletcher and his escapes in HMP Slade. And then I woke up suddenly with a feeling something was wrong.

My mind was telling me that I couldn’t hear Ronnie Barker any more, so I sat up. It was pitch black, and it was just after 2am. There were no lights to be seen anywhere: no power lights, no little red glowing lights, no green glowing lights of an alarm clock — something of particular importance when I need to get up early in the morning. It’s our old friend the power cut.

Nothing in itself to worry about, although it probably didn’t help that I’d just been reading a crime book about someone who would go around viciously murdering people but would obviously cut the electricity to their house first. Just to be on the safe side and ensure that we weren’t about to all be murdered in our beds, I decided to go downstairs and find some candles.

Five minutes later, candles located, lit, and dripping hot wax over my hands (as the buggers never stand in the candlesticks properly) I made my way back upstairs, just in time to almost get clobbered by the GLW who had heard someone walking about downstairs and was sure that I was still in bed beside her.

The next plan was to find out how long the power was likely to be off for: this requires a phone book, where they usually have the numbers for local electricity supply and suchlike. So I gave them a quick ring and got their recorded message telling me where power cuts where experienced (NE9, NE11 and NE16) and when the power was expected back on (4:30am).

Fair enough. But I still needed to do something about the alarm clock to wake me up — so I set my mobile phone alarm for the required time and was just about to settle down again when the power came on. Sigh.

However, it turned out it was fortunate I did, because after I’d gone back to sleep there was another power cut, and if the mobile phone alarm hadn’t gone off I wouldn’t have been able to get up, catch my 07:20 train from Newcastle and then my 08:24 connection from York, with having had around two hours sleep.

Not a great start, but unfortunately this was only where the second lot of problems started.

When we got into York, I noticed all of the departure and arrival boards either read “arrived” or “delayed” with no indication of how long said delay would be.

Having said that, when the reason for the disruption was made clear, you have to hold up your hands and say “fair enough, some things are more important”.

Last updated: 19/01/2009 09:58

Route Affected: All routes through York

Because of a fatality near York, journeys may be delayed by up to 40 minutes

National Rail Enquiries

…unless of course it was some selfish so-and-so going down the old “suicide by train” route without any thought of the impact it would have on the driver and suchlike (people being late I can live with; traumatising some poor sod who has done nothing wrong other than drive a train I object to).

So instead of getting the 08:24 from York (which was announced as being cancelled), I was due to get the 08:58, which might run another ten minutes late or so. Or so I thought, until about four minutes after I got on the train.

Last Updated: 19/01/2009 12:24

Routes Affected: Newcastle, Durham, Northallerton, Thirsk, York, Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester Piccadilly & Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough, Seamer, Malton & York also Middlesborough, Thornaby, Yarm & Northallerton

Because of a signalling problem in the Church Fenton area, journeys may be delayed by up to 30 minutes

National Rail Journey Enquiries

I’m less convinced about this “thirty minutes” business however. At around ten past nine, the driver explained that there was a signal failure near Church Fenton, and we were waiting for that to be resolved.

At around 09:50, he said we were then in a queue to get out of York station.

At around 09:55, he said that another train was joining onto the back of ours, and we would have to wait for that.

At around 10:05, the new train joined.

At around 10:15, a different voice welcomed us to the 09:58 to Manchester Airport — rather begging the question “what, exactly, happened to the 08:58 that I had been sitting on?”. Although I presume it’s just that the train doesn’t sound as late if they call it the 09:58 rather than the 08:58.

At around 10:25, more than two hours after I was originally due to leave, the train set off from York. Which, even allowing 40 minutes for the first delay, would seem to suggest that the second delay was somewhat longer than 30 minutes. Then, inevitably, I just missed my connection at Manchester and had to wait another twenty-something minutes for a train.

Not what I’d call a good morning: I’m late, everyone’s late, and some poor bugger’s died.

2 Responses to “Not My Kind Of Morning”

  1. mark fairlamb responds:

    i would have taken the car

  2. duncan responds:

    sounds like the 8.58 became cancelled and morphed into the 9.58. Apparently it’s a bit of a scam for the rail companies to keep down the stats for late running trains. By cancelling particularly late trains, they no longer count towards their punctuality figures.

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