Taking my cue from Neil Rosen’s review of Trains Planes and Automobiles, which I much enjoyed, I thought I might emulate the nightmare trip yesterday.
i am often told that Brighton is under an hour by train and therefore most convenient, transport wise. Not so. I complimented National Express for their coach service as the Southern Railway had massive repair works which are virtually a weekly occurrence. Polly emailed me, with typical kindness, that there were floods delaying the London line on which I was travelling on the 10-21 train, to visit my dentist in London. On arrival at the Brighton station there were no indicators of a London train. Two other points about the station: its clock was 10 minutes fast and there were no trolleys to carry luggage.
I was advised to board the East Croydon train and from there take the train onto London. The other choice was to go via Portsmouth. Was it worth waiting for the London train? Certainly not. So I boarded it, putting my hat, Hermes scarf, Burberry raincoat and overnight night bag on the rack. Then it was announced that the train arriving at platform 4 would be direct to London. We only had a few minutes to board and in my haste I left behind my hat and scarf.
The train was so overcrowded that there were insufficient seats. I had bought a an advance first class seat for £15, so at least I ahead a secure seat. I went to the loo. Nothing as simple as a lock device. It’s all control buttons now. I am sure I pressed lock but, knickers round my ankles whilst ‘on the throne’, I was confronted by a started passenger who had managed to open the door from outside.
Of course, the other flaw in planning the 51 minute journey, aside from delays, is that you have to get to and away from the 2 stations. At Victoria there was a long queue for taxis, which rank could not have been further from the train. The driver got stuck in traffic and the short journey to Harley Street took half an hour. Total journey time 2 1/2 hours, cost £41. It’s not that much quicker than my beloved coach, even without the hour to collect hat and scarf from Lost Property, if handed in.