Monday, 11 June 2007

Well, Colchester is a nice town...

The day started uneventfully and I caught the train, which was only six minutes late and that was because of a trespasser on the line just before Diss. Should it have been a warning?

Saxmundham, Ipswich, Manningtree, Colchester, Chelmsford - and then a stop at Shenfield, where an announcement came through that there was a delay, but no information as to the cause.

A few minutes later, it was a serious incident at Harold Wood*.

After that, a fatality on the line, and emergency services were in attendance.

Then, the train was terminating here - please leave the train or go back to Norwich. Hesitantly, I left the train and the station, gazed up and down Shenfield and went back in.

I spent the next half hour concentrating on feeling only sorrow and regret for a life lost, deep sympathy for the train driver who had, through no fault of his or her own, taken it, and fellow feeling for the passengers on that train, while being very glad I wasn't one of them. Maybe that six minutes made the difference? Or maybe, six minutes earlier and we'd have been the last train through. Anyway, I think that was the thoughts of most of us, we were subdued and sorry, except for one woman who moaned quite a lot on the phone to her friend.

When the last train on the platform was going back, I decided to take it. By the time I got to Chelmsford, the announcement was that trains were going through to London Liverpool Street, albeit an hour and a half late, but I'd already decided to check out Colchester, a historic town I did not know at all.

Yeah, a couple of photos, but I'm tired, darlings - tomorrow.

I have checked my diary and Wednesday of next week is free. I will not be thwarted, I will rebook my ticket. I picked up a claim form and will be interested to see with what sum I am recompensed. Not that it was British Rail**'s fault, and they dealt with the situation absolutely correctly.

Still, thank you for your good wishes, and I'll hold on to them, if I may, for another nine days.


*I assume that's how you spell it? I'd never heard of the place.
**Our local train company is called 'One' but I can't bring myself to call it that, any more than I can say 'McChicken Sandwich'.

7 comments:

Imperatrix said...

An acquaintance from school died in front of a train. What a way to go. What a choice to make. Sometimes I wish I still lived nearby, because maybe he just needed someone to talk to, you know?

Z said...

I know. Al's best friend from schooldays hanged himself, 10 years later. Al hadn't seen him for several years, but he always expected to get in touch again. Such regrets.

I don't know that it was suicide, but it's the most likely thing, I guess.

Jenn said...

Sometimes it's only seconds that make a difference.

The poor train driver.

I, like the view said...

six minutes, nine days, a life

it all adds up, doesn't it?

(I didn't get to the Gormley the first time I tried either - but is was worth it in the end)(and I might have to go back, to take it in properly)(you know, like rereading a book, to make sure you didn't miss anything the first time around?)

Z said...

The thought haunts me, you know? Did they make eye contact, did he realise what he was doing, seeing the horror on the face of the driver?

Welcome, Jenn, it's good to meet you.

I,LTV - yes, I'll get there. A train journey is always a bit of a gamble, and not necessarily because of any BR shortcomings.

When I was young, I always read a book very quickly and then again at once, if i'd enjoyed it, to get the nuances.

The Boy said...

It seems to have become a fairly common method of suicide. At least from the number of times its used to explain a train delay it is. I really feel for the drivers, that must be horrible.

Sorry you didn't get your day in London.

Z said...

I've rebooked, Boy, for the 20th. And at least, now I've been to Colchester.