We had been looking forward our trip to Scotland for months. 1st class Train booked well in advance, heaps cheaper than flights, plus no farting around with check in queues, baggage or getting to and from airports.
Waved cheerio to Nic at West Ham and hopped onto the tube for an easy run to Kings Cross. Rocked up just over an hour early to find hordes of people looking gormlessly at the departures board. Saw 12pm Edinburgh Up there and wandered off for coffee. No need for snacks, didn’t want to suppress the appetite in advance of the awesome looking first class food menu on the train.
12pm departure gently makes is way across towards the left hand side of the board, then around 11.30, disappears! No announcement, just nothing on the board. Bugger. Queue at the ticket/info counter looked insane so took a stroll to the 1st class lounge for answers. A couple of hundred other passengers clearly had the same idea and weren’t getting any help from the fat controller at the desk, telling irate passengers that he didn’t know what was happening and hiding behind a face mask. Given that the stroppiest were still waiting for the 11am train, our prospects of a luxury journey North were heading South rapidly.
Eventually, the fat controller gave us an option, head to Euston and jump on a train hoping for a seat or wait for more news. 12.15 announcement cancelling the 12 O’clock service answered that one so off we went to Euston. 10 mins walk later, Euston Station is heaving with bodies waiting for platform numbers to appear against their chosen escape route. 1.30 Glasgow service is ours, change at Carlisle.
Every time a platform number appeared on the board it was mayhem. Something akin to the start of the London Marathon with luggage! Several hundred people racing to snag a seat. Didn’t fancy our chances from the back of the pack, so took a strategic position near the platforms.
Platform 6 flashes up next to the Glasgow Service! Holy shit! People being knocked over. Bodies, suitcases and hats flying all round us, no worries, going to apply for suitcase rolling championships if it ever catches on. Gold and Silver for us in this one! Carriage K, 1st class, don’t mind if we do. Popped the bags in the luggage area and parked our arses into a couple of unreserved seats.
Every carriage on the train was then rammed full of passengers. Including people sitting on the floor for the next 4.5 hours. Train declassified, no tickets required, sit or stand wherever you like. Getting from A to B on Sri Lanka trains was more civilised! Train too full for carriage service or the shitty little shop on board to open.
Given the discomfort of most others on board, we were quietly happy to have seats and enjoyed the journey.
Carlisle came all to soon with the added joy of several hundred people jumping onto an already packed train. Wow, thought the first leg was busy? Only an hour an a half on this one and we were swept along in the tsunami of bodies onto the streets of Edinburgh.
Not the experience we imagined, will see how the bean counters at LNER unravel this one..