Saturday, March 25, 2006

Every bloody train!

I'm on a brief trip to the UK now. At the Japanese end, all the transport went as smoothly as ever - bus, train (with change from local to express) and plane.

Within 3 hours of landing in the UK, we'd used 3 different train lines, and had delays on each one of them! Firstly the Heathrow Express was 10 minutes late (on a 15 minute journey), despite being perhaps the most expensive train journey in the world (more fool us for not just getting the tube - but we were hoping for a quick journey...). Then on the tube, the Circle line was delayed, so we were sent on a detour involving another change at which some "helpful" staff sent us back onto the Circle line, apparently unaware of the delay in the first place. Back onto the main lines at at Euston, there was a row of machines for ticket purchases, which seeems great until you try to buy a ticket and are faced with the helpful message "some restrictions may apply" on all the reasonably-priced options. We did manage to find a human face and found out that the cheapest option was to buy a weekend return (despite it being a Friday afternoon, and even though the return portion was unusable for us - this was still 24 quid cheaper than a standard single). Then when travelling up to Lancaster, the train sat in a field for just long enough to turn our 15 minute connection into a 2 minute dash across Preston station.

In the end, we were only about half an hour later than we would have been if everything had run as well it does in Japan. So no great disaster overall. And there are sometimes delays in Japan too - due to such things as suicides on the line, earthquakes or typhoons. But here in the UK it seems to be a way of life...I'm looking forward to getting back home!


EliRabett said...

Try the Arlanda Express from Stockholm Airport to Stockholm. 200 Skr one way.

James Annan said...

Sorry Eli,

That's almost exactly the same cost, but it seems to be roughly twice the distance (even though only 5 mins longer, at 20 v 15 mins).