In my own minor way I can contribute to the debate on the breakdown of railway travel. I was travelling from Bournemouth to Brighton to spend a few days with Ivan Conway before we both went today to Fulham v Brighton.
Like all windows cleaners I am used to getting up early as we often start work at dawn so I decided to take the 7.45 train from Bournemouth to Southampton and thence to Brighton.
As Southampton I was informed that the service to Brighton was cancelled because of signalling problems at St Denny. I was further advised to travel on the Portsmouth line to Fareham, change there to the Southern Railway train to Brighton. However the guard on the Fareham train was not so sure. I would have to look at the board but might be better off going to Fratton where the train to Brighton were plentiful. I know Fratton for many a Fulham contest against Pompey, not least the Danny Murphy header that kept us up 5 years ago. I knew also that I was going away from Brighton. At Fareham, I was told by the stationmaster to respect a queue of which I was the only one in it as she was dealing with another passenger. As the passenger herself admitted she worked on the South West trains and was chatting to a friend. Here a train was due in 10 minutes time to Burnham. This meant yet another change to convey me to Brighton. Every train was crowded and the noise from children whose parents could not control was insufferable. Eventually I arrived at Brighton one and half hours late. Others too were confused by the chaos to which a familiar reply was “We do not know the Southern timetable, we are a different line.”
Readers might be more interested in a joint preview of the match tonight. Brighton under temporary manager Nathan Jones equalised in the last minute against Reading, themselves under a new manager. Fulham have generally beaten the teams around and below them under Kit so we should start favourites especially as we beat Brighton a month ago. However Brighton are quite capable of picking up a point on their travels and it will certainly be a test. We need to recover our mojo after Bournemouth where our build up was about as slow and indirect as my journey to Brighton.