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London and North England Rail – LNER Tanks

Dear Pig’s Argonauts,

Here is a whistle-stop tour of my recent, wondrous experience of travelling with the intrepid LNER from Leeds to London and back; bearing in mind they now have new trains from japan which they boast with unadulterated hubris are ‘much more reliable’.

Both trains were cancelled. 

So instead of getting the 1015 train to London I had to get the 1045 and I also lost my seat reservation. Not sure whether I was being singled out for punishment by the LNER Customer Relations Praetorian Guard or whether everyone else on the Phantom had lost their seat reservations. 

I ventured to ask a member of staff at Leeds Station why the 1015 train had been cancelled and was illuminatingly told, and this would never have occurred to my train of thought in a million years, that ‘there was a problem with the train’ ….

…as opposed to a problem with the cross-channel ferries

I could have walked along the entire Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostock and I would have remained none the wiser. 

I did ask if he could be a bit more specific and helpfully gave him a few signals…

  • The train had been hit by lightning?
  • The train had been derailed by a jumbo-sized leaf on the tracks?
  • Roadworks on the M25?
  • Headbutted by a galloping, kamikaze Friesian cow?
  • The driver had decided to hand in his notice at 1014?
  • Apaches? 

… I wasn’t exactly asking for a tannoy announcement from the Fat Controller but he remained steadfast with the most resolute of customer-assassin, one-man Rorke’s Drift stands (I looked carefully all around me but, alas, I was not inspired to mutter the immortal line ‘Zulus sir, thousands of ‘em’), and he doggedly declined to give me any further details upon pain of death by a thousand Assegais or 2,000 redundant seat reservation tickets.  

By the time I arrived at Kings Cross the whole train was livid but luckily I was able to get to the office on time as the Northern Tube Line was slightly more reliable than LNER so at least LNER didn’t derail my presentation. It just meant I could only have a banana for lunch though this did have some benefits as I could do with losing a few kilos and I did not break my cracked molar which had recently been the unwitting object of Dr. Mengele-like dental surgery.  

I sailed through my presentation then we all flew back to King still cross only to find the 1703 train had gone out in sympathy with the 1015 from Leeds and had also been cancelled so we eventually got onto the 1733 but this was clearly less sympathetic with the 1015 as it was a mere 15 minutes late in departing (having been told initially by the Fat Controller that it had also been cancelled). 

The Fat Controller was clearly having the time of his life causing utter chaos and mayhem by announcing multiple train cancellations from Kings Absolutelybloodyfedup then deciding some were only a few minutes late e.g. to Birmingham New Street, whilst others were now back on time e.g. to Cambridge, whilst some were cancelled without a shadow of a doubt e.g. to York, Harrogate and Edinburgh: all the while totally mystified passengers swayed bewilderingly from one platform to another like rudderless vessels in a transatlantic hurricane. On that note, transatlantic hurricanes were about the ONLY reason NOT used as an excuse for any cancelled or late-running trains that evening.  

Being of ineluctably non-riff raff stock, and hence of a polite disposition, I naively let about 13,651 other passengers pile onto the train before me. I again lost my seat reservation, which led to much gnashing of teeth, which in turn exacerbated the ever-widening chasm in my cracked molar and, to raise customer getstuffedicity to new peaks enjoyed previously only by Greek Gods and Ryanair, the customer-centric LNER Company Pitbull who purported to be the Service Manager on the 1733 train from Kings Incandescentwithrage to Leeds refused, whilst smiting me down with her Medusa-like gaze, to upgrade me to First Class so I was unable to sit with my colleagues who had somehow purloined First Class seats in the Zeus and Dionysus Carriage, but I did at least console myself by having the somewhat less supine pleasure of standing all the way to Stevenage in the Plebeian Carriage as there were no seats left in this modern day chariot of the Gods.  I did have a nice chat with Caractacus and Boadicea about how superior 2,000 year old Roman roads in Britain are compared to 12 year old railway tracks, until they alighted (LNER speak for opened the door and got out) at Colchester.

And there was no hot food. 

Or bananas. Hot or cold, Puerto Rican or Colombian, yellow or green, ripe or rancid. 

Not even one putrid, over-priced banana. Maybe there is a national banana shortage due to Brexit. 

So, you may ask yourself rhetorically, what exactly is the point of a Catering Carriage on a train that has no food unless the crew have decided that all the passengers are clinically obese so must embark forthwith on an 8 hour (8 hours and 15 minutes to be precise), zero-calorie crash diet? Even Tantalus would have been gorging on the Grapes of Wrath by this microwaveable, culinary debacle. A tannoy announcement from Polly Pitbull, who did not mince her words, or beefsteak for that matter, gave me a hint

‘Would all the tight, fat bastards who are sat in First Class but do not have First Class Ticket please squeeze your fuckingg big fat lying arses  into the Plebeian carriages’   

I managed to get home before midnight so at least the train turn into a pumpkin. But if it had, at least I would have had something to eat. 

I know this sounds harsh but I possibly may not rate this epic journey as a first class customer experience. Next time it might be quicker if I travel with Thomas the Tank Engine. Or Pegasus. 

Later that evening I saw a LNER post on Facebook boasting about how much more reliable their trains are now… so at least they do have a sense of humour… I was so impressed that I decided to comment on their post but for some reason they declined to reply. 

Ricardo