Piss ups and breweries


Chiltern Railways this morning are struggling to run a service because of a trackside fire that is not their fault. In the circumstances you would be unreasonably optimistic to expect a smooth journey to your destination.

But. You would be perfectly entitled to expect them to know their arse from their elbow.

I started my journey in Warwick, waiting for a train to London Marylebone. The sole member of staff at this station is a notorious incompetent with a beard. The beard is his personal choice but his choice of career has inflicted misery on millions. He once refused to sell me a monthly travelcard because he didn’t know how to work the machine, he said. Today he said the next London train would be on the down platform for some reason and we should cross over and wait there.

He was absolutely right and as the train approached the platform from the ‘wrong’ direction I prepared to revise my opinion of him. If it had only stopped I would have been singing his praises from the rooftops. But as it sailed past without even bothering to slow down I knew I needed to do something about it.

Ruling out assassination of certain Chiltern Railways staff, I got a taxi to a real station, Leamington Spa. Here was a gaggle of staff in hi-viz jackets informing passengers about the service this morning as they understood it. Which amounted to “Dunno mate, just get on the first train through”.

A train arrived. We got on. We got off again when the nice man in the hi-viz jacket said “Sorry mate we haven’t got a conductor for this one, you’ll have to wait for the next one”.

We waited.

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