Everything you’ll undoubtedly experience on your Southern Rail journey
‘Due to a limited service…’
It’s common knowledge that Southern Rail is an absolute shambles at the moment, having been reported again and again and again AND AGAIN. A friend recently came to visit, having moved to Singapore and, after a day, said: “All I’ve heard about since I got back is Southern, what is going on?”.
This is a question very few people can really answer, but essentially it’s a dispute about who opens the doors, coupled with the fact the RMT feel like Southern have been taking liberties – not consulting them before making decisions.
They were honestly, genuinely nominated for the Passengers Matter award (I’m not joking).
Regardless, there’s one thing for certain, and this is that nigh on every journey you take with the glorious Southern Rail will pan out something like this:
You rush to catch your train
Perhaps you’re travelling home from uni, perhaps you’re visiting friends, heading to the seaside or coming from work. If you’re travelling out of London, you probably plan to get the 17:57 from London Bridge or Victoria – that ought to get you home for dinner.
But shock, it’s delayed
Now you’re a bit sweaty and berate yourself for running. Oh well, you busy yourself by picking up the Evening Standard, a bottle of water and a little bottle of wine for the train. You’ve had a long day, you deserve it.
Your train probably gets cancelled, so you take a different service
Where everyone is having to practically take a run up in order to get into the carriage.
‘Excuse me, can you move down please?!’
Says the person with the huge suitcase, probably headed for Gatwick. You smile awkwardly and try to move down the carriage. This person is a hero if you are trying to get on, your worst enemy if not.
You finally climb out of the hellish and sweaty carriage at East Croydon
You wait on the platform where there’s no seating. You’re lucky this time: there’s a train in 25 minutes. If you are well-versed in your journey you know which part of the platform to stand on. You smirk at the people who do not.
You get on the next train and join all of the people drinking (elegantly) to numb the pain of their working week
You run out of alcohol. That one little bottle of wine was never going to last you the journey, you fool. You dig for money (alternatively: remortgage your house) to buy another little bottle of wine.
The person opposite you thinks you’re miffed at the situation too and strikes up conversation
You don’t want to make small talk with strangers, but you do anyway.
The loos aren’t working, the queue’s too big or there simply aren’t any
You wish you’d known that before you got on. You were in such a rush, you didn’t go before you left work and now you’re two little bottles of wine and half a litre of water down. The man next to you is huccuping and tapping his foot.
You got up to go to the loo, and now your seat has been taken
It’s okay, you didn’t want to sit down anyway.
(If it’s a weekend never fear, you’ll definitely get a seat on the fucking replacement bus)
(Don’t worry no one travels on a Sunday, especially not between the countryside and London.)
You have to change at Brighton, Haywards Heath or Lewes, naturally. But of course, the service is delayed and you miss your connection
You contemplate getting a cab before deciding it’s too far. You wait for another train, contemplating whether you will make it home before you have to leave for work tomorrow, let alone dinner.
You’re on your way to *insert rural place* which they may or may not decide to stop at on this service
“Due to a limited service, we will not be stopping at X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X and X.” Great. It’s always your stop.
Alternatively, you’re going between Brighton and Portsmouth (a mere 49.9 miles)…
And your train STOPS AT 62 STOPS. 62 STOPS, HOW?
They tell you to ensure you are in the right carriage as the train will shortly divide
There is no indication of what number you are in as the boards don’t display any information. One hero runs down the train and confirms smugly that indeed this is the correct carriage for *rural stations*.
At least one poor soul is unable to get off, frantically jabbing the ‘open doors’ button, to no avail
Their station “has a short platform” and they didn’t realise they couldn’t “alight” at the door they’ve been waiting at, They didn’t realise because they’re wearing headphones.
You paid 35 quid for your ticket
But no one fucking checks it.
You arrive at your destination, late and having probably inconvenienced anyone you intended to meet
Knowing that you have to get the same service in the very near future. Dreamy.