One of the things I have to do for work is travel to our London office fairly frequently, usually once a month, and usually I have an overnight stay as it gets me in bright and early the following day, usually a good two hours before anyone else which allows me to get a hell of a lot done. Due to hospital and doctor’s appointments preventing my planned overnight stay last week, this is the second consecutive Monday I find myself sat on the 09:00 service on my way to Liverpool Street Station. It is also the second consecutive Monday the 09:00 service has been late (although, if I’m honest, every time I get the 09:00 service to London Liverpool Street it is late), and the second consecutive Monday, the automated announcing system at Norwich Station had everyone but me (I’ll explain this further down) shuffling from one platform to the next while it tried to decide which platform the train would be departing from.
Usually it’s pretty straight forward getting the train from Norwich, and in the past I would always get the 08.30 which gets into Liverpool Street at 10.20. Due to moving the kids to a school in Norwich, though, I’ve had to change my pattern and get the 09:00 instead. It doesn’t make a massive amount of difference journey wise, as it’s the fast train from Norwich with only one stop at Ipswich, and arrives at 10.30. The tube and walk to the London office in Clerkenwell is only ten minutes, so, as you can see, not much of a hardship.
Getting on the 09:00 is an absolute ball ache though. My usual routine for getting a London bound train is to check the arrivals board online for the last previous train to my intended departure, which gives me the platform to head to when I get there. It’s then just a brisk walk from the office to the station, followed by a five or ten minutes relaxing, stress free sit down to get my laptop ready to do a bit of work on the way.
This, however, does not work for the 09:00. I still check online for the platform but, as the 09:00 service to London Liverpool Street relies on the 08:56 service from London Liverpool Street arriving on time, the incoming passengers disembarking, then the great throng of us standing on the platform to board the train, it’s always an utter pain in the arse. First of all you have to contend with the automated announcer shuffling us from platform to platform, like male emperor penguins huddling together for warmth and respite from a blizzard. I’ve become wise to these shenanigans and have learnt to stay put when the announcement is made. It happens because there is a slower service that departs at 09:03 to London and if the 09:00 is late the automated system gets itself all in a tizzy, and starts sending us back and forth between platforms, well not everyone, as there is always a few others, like myself, who have figured out this glitch in the system, and while the rest of the throng is shuffling from one platform to another and back again, we position ourselves in the prime spots on the platform to ensure we are first on the train and bag our favorites seats.
Me? I like to sit in one of the double window seats travelling backwards as you get a better view out of the window, I find if you sit facing the direction of travel, everything rushes towards you and has gone past you before you’ve had a chance to take anything in.
Stay tuned for the return journey, I always aim for the 14:30 from London Liverpool Street back to Norwich so I get back in a reasonable time and get home to spend time with the family before the kids go to bed. It doesn’t always work out that way, mainly due to a certain individual in the London Office, although sometimes, fate just gets in the way as it did a few weeks ago. If I’m not to drained and sleep all the way back to Norwich later I’ll detail that journey on here while I’m heading home.