To Embra to pontificate
-GNER going Virgin returning. Once again the Great North Eastern Train was claimed to be on time-indeed Berwick station arrivals and departure boards were jammed with on time trains and one, three minutes early. But despite a self congratulatory announcement to this effect which turned all the travelers out of the snug waiting room to brave the Great North West wind on Platform 2 the train pulled in 4 minutes late. No explanation then or on departure northwards. But I overheard a couple of businessmen speculating on the uncrowded nature of Berwick Station and I gathered that 'Platform Congestion' was once again the reason for a four minute waiting period outside the station-just round the bend and out of sight. I suppose four minutes is about right for a sneaky cig by the Train Crew -not allowed when the train is in motion or at a 'station stop' Any better theories gratefully received.
Coming back the Virgin Train was, yes, 4 minutes early. No platform congestion here. So a well earned gasper in the back of one's hand on the platform behind the fire hydrant (Virgin have a more flexible no smoking policy. Virgin's time keeping record is impressive. Not surprisingly as several extra hours are allowed from, say, Edinburgh to Penzance which is now one of those 'Great Railway Journeys of the World; If you are not in a hurry, bliss.The train ambles on at just faster than walking speed, smoothly; no rocking, no swaying-no problem carrying dry martinis, neither shaken nor stirred. And with so much fat built into the timetable, very rarely late.
As I walked to my car across the bridge the train was still there; snoozing gently and chuntering to itself. The only smoke was rising from half a dozen half concealed cigarettes as the crew enjoyed their well earned break from not smoking on the train. A treat to be repeated at Alnmouth, Morpeth, Newcastle, Chester le Street, Durham, Darlington , York and all stops to Penzance including St Erth, Camborne,Redruth, Truro, St Austell....* 11 hours on a good day-why you could right across Russia in the Trans Siberian express in that time-and smoke on board.
* Thats enough Virgin stops-blog-ed