It’s Snow Joke!

Despite a relatively hassle free journey in yesterday morning, going home proved to be a totally different matter!

After meeting up with a friend for a drink after work I left the pub at 10pm to make the journey home. Arriving at London Bridge station there was a train arriving in five minutes that was homeward bound. The train itself was running about half an hour late, but the automated announcement and a human announcer both confirmed that it was the correct train. And when I got on, the train itself told me it would be calling at every station on the way home.

However, two minutes out of London Bridge, the conductor came over the tannoy and informed everyone that the train would be terminating at Dartford! If this had been made clear at London Bridge I would have not bothered getting on it and would have made my way to St Panceras to get a train from there.

So instead of being stranded in Dartford I decided to see if it was possible to get over to the high speed line and catch a train from there.

I got off the train at Greenwich and got onto the DLR to make my way to Stratford. This required a change at Canary Wharf to get the Jubilee line as this was a quicker way of getting there. However, trying to navigate Canary Wharf is a bit of a nightmare at the best of times, after a few pints it gets a bit harder especially as it’s not very well signposted on how to make the change between lines.

I eventually found my way and jumped aboard a Jubilee tube for the four stops to Stratford. Upon arriving here I had to get onto one of the platforms, walk all the way to the end and then wait for a bus that would take me to Stratford International station. This arrived about ten minutes later to take us on the five minute journey.

The station was deserted except for a couple of Southeastern employees who were checking on the trains going up and down the line. None of teh display boards were working and so after a quick chat I found out that it was going to be about half an hour before there’d be a train to take me home. I phoned the wife and told her the not-so-good news.

Forty minutes later there was no sign of a train and so after more discussion the best advice given was to get on the next southbound train and get off at Ebbsfleet. By then, there’d hopefully be news on my train and if there wasn’t then at least I was closer to home.

Getting off at Ebbsfleet the only news from another couple of Southeastern employees was that there were three trains left on the line, the last of which would be the one to take me home to bed. Unfortuantely it was going to be “some time” before it arrived. It’s nice to have accurate information sometimes isn’t it! By now it was 12.30 and it looked as though the train would be another half hour.

One train came through the station and when the second one arrived, I went down and was told by a conductor (I don’t care what they call themselves, an Onboard Manager is still a conductor!) that my train was just behind. So I waited on the platform.

And waited.

After about fifteen minutes I made my way up the escalators to the concourse to see if anyone was around who could help. As I got to the top I looked over and saw a train pulling out from a different platform. It was my train! I’d fecking missed it!

Having talked to some Southeastern people before they’d disappeared, none of them had mentioned that I would need to be on a different platform and as none of the boards were working it was impossible to tell where the train would come in.

There was a taxi outside the station, but the driver was already discussing a fare with some other people. I told him where I was going and fortunately the other two people were going in my general direction so we all jumped in to his cab. The two guys had come from France and because they’re train was delayed, they’d been unable to pick up they’re hire car and needed somewhere to stay so they were being dropped off at a hotel near Gravesend.

After dropping them off we drove the 20 or so miles back home and I was dropped off about 5 minutes from my house to make the last bit of the journey on foot as the roads were a bit risky to drive on. Nearly slipping over about a dozen times I made it to the front door and wearily let myself in.

By the time I got home it had gone 2am. From pub to home had taken over 4 hours, 7 modes of transportation (train-DLR-Jubilee tube-bus-train-taxi-walk) and had cost £40 extra for the cab fare!

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