let the train take the strain

I had to go to Clapham yesterday, and decided to go by train. The logical route for this is Bristol Reading Clapham Junction (tips hat to codepope for that info); perlmonger was driving me to the station, and we left at 9.30 to make the 10.00 train.

except the traffic in the city was vile, and so he hurled me from a moving car on the gyratory system, and I walked up to Temple Meads from there. And then there were extremely slow people at the ticket office, and 10 a.m. came and went while I stood in the queue.

and when I got to speak to the chap behind the glass, it transpired that there was some sort of signal failure between Swindon and Didcot Parkway, and no trains were going anywhere in that direction. He plotted me a little route that involved changes in Salisbury and Basingstoke, and got me to Clapham at about 1.15, which was fine. And the ticket cost was much less on that route – just £24 return, although he said that I’d have to pay to upgrade it if I came back via Reading.

a taxi from Clapham Junction to my destination got me there, and the potential new clients (who have been playing the “will we won’t we” dance since last February) are now on board for a nice big site, and actually gave me a deposit cheque before I left – that’s a first.

then they took me down to to the local tapas bar where we consumed quite a lot of white Rioja between us (at their expense – perfect clients :), then put me on a bus back to Clapham.

I came back via Reading, and none of the inspectors batted an eyelid at my cheap ticket, so that’s worth remembering for the future. perlmonger collected me from the station at 22.33, so a long day, but worthwhile. And the iPod battery held out too.

3 thoughts on “let the train take the strain”

  1. Hurrah.

    You can buy tickets on the train (well, at least Up North. Doubt it’s any different in Bristol) and they take credit cards too. The only disadvantage is that only full price tickets are available (unless you got on at a station that doesn’t have a ticket office).

    1. Pretty much standard procedure everywhere. On many routes the cost of a ‘Standard Open Return’ is significantly higher than the discounted fares (day returns, savers, etc).

      Some stations, with ticket offices, have now got automatic barriers and you need a valid ticket to get through. There is usually someone at the barrier to provide assistance though.

      Of course the ‘airline’ style tickets issued through ‘thetrainline’ are too big for these barriers. Nice one Virgin.


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