A number of my blog posts have been written while I’m on the train. I enjoy train journeys; speeding through the countryside past towns that I never have and never will visit gives a sense of place without actually having to visit Croy or Larbert! I fancy taking a long train journey one day, through Canada or travelling on the Trans-Siberian Express perhaps.
For today, however, I turn up, early, for the 10:31 Bridge of Allen to Glasgow Queen Street train. There isn’t a train station in Crieff, which is a shame, and the parking at Perth is appalling so I have taken to driving the 15 miles to Bridge of Allen whenever I take the train to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
I am always early for trains. I envy the traveller who has the confidence to stroll onto the platform and straight onto the train seconds before the train pulls away. I am not that person and spend at least 10 minutes shivering on the platform waiting for my train. And so it was today. I arrived at quarter past ten and planned to catch the 10:31.
As I climbed the stairs from the car park the 10:16 to Glasgow pulled into the station. I asked the guard whether I could buy a ticket on the train and he answered “not today but you can pay at your destination.” The sun was shining and I didn’t fancy queuing at the ticket office in Glasgow at the end of the journey and so i decided to get my ticket from the machine at the platform, sit in the sun and catch the 10:31 as planned.
The ticket machine was out of service so I had a smile to myself that I was still going to have to queue at Queen Street. I sat on the bench and looked at the departures screen.
No 10:31 to Glasgow.
I waited for the screens to rotate through the cycle of announcements but when the departure screen returned to view – still no 10:31 to Glasgow.
The next screen to show said “Monday 12th April to Wednesday 14th April a special timetable is in operation on all routes. ” I looked again and, since I travelled this way often, could see that the special timetable was the old timetable with the single omission of the 10:31 to Glasgow!
Why didn’t anyone tell me?
Surely the guard must have known that in not getting on that train I was destined to wait a full hour on the platform for the next one? And, more generally, why didn’t anyone tell me?
Then I thought about this. With the3rdi magazine, blogging, tweeting and the like it does feel like I am plugged into The Matrix but since I hadn’t actuually booked a ticket in advance, I don’t read newspapers and don’t watch TV, how on earth were Scotrail supposed to tell me anything?!
I used to run an internet retail business and the phrase “Why didn’t you tell me?” was used by customers who failed to recieve their goods…customers who never left a telephone number, never read their e-mails and mistyped their addresses when placing their order and then wondered why we hadn’t been able to let them know when problems arose! I felt that my life had come full circle. I was the out of touch customer!
And more than that – I had missed my once in a lifetime opportunity to stroll onto the platform and straight onto the train. My big chance to look cool and laid back and I blew it!!
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On my journey home I did get onto the train just seconds before it pulled out of the station. – by virtue of running from Central Station across Glasgow to Queen Street, racing through the ticket barriers and leaping through closing doors – definately not cool!
You can read more from Karen and other fantastic entrepreneurs at the3rdi.co.uk