Saturday, 20 September 2008

Best laid plans don't bear fruit

I had it all worked out for today ... there was a 'Community Rail Festival' taking place at Plymouth Station with my friends in 'The Rubber Band' playing there from 10.30 till 12.00 approximately. My plan had been to take the 7.42 train in from Gunnislake and then spend a couple of hours or so in the big city going to 'The Hoe' and doing a little bit of clothes shopping. Back to the station to hear the first hour of the music and then taking the 11.30 back towards home, but stopping off at Bere Ferrers at the railway heritage centre there for a couple of hours and then resuming the train trip to get home mid afternoon. That was the scheme anyway. Having made the special effort to be up earlier than usual to walk up to the station I duly arrived there to find that my train into Plymouth had been cancelled due to a signalling problem somewhere down the line (later I found out that said problem was at Keyham - for the last part of our branch line journey we have to 'mix it' with the main line trains). Must have been embarrassing for the organisers although I gather that the problem got sorted before long.

Now I must admit that one of my failings is that of not having a 'Plan B', well not in this instance anyway! The upshot was that I enjoyed the superb weather in my garden instead getting some very useful and necessary work done. A spy, well a particularly close friend who is a member of The Rubber Band, told me that their music was extremely well received and with favourable comments from the bigwigs attending it seems that a jolly good time was had by all.

Reverting to the signalling failure for a moment I have to say that it is great to have a push button information link at Gunnislake whereby a voice will give you a message as to any problem with that train service. I assume that this facility is at all unmanned stations so that you are not left completely in the dark if your train doesn't turn up when it should. Although obviously frustrating today for me I do nevertheless get the impression that reliability continues to improve. Just such a shame that this blip was today.

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