January 18, 2006

Dear South West Trains

I just emailed this to the customer relations department at South West Trains...

Dear SWT,

(Note - This piece of terrible doggerel relates to the 2311 departure from Walton-on-Thames on 17/1/06.)

A good evening was spent at the house of my brother
In Walton-on-Thames - we'd been marking my mother's
Successful completion of yet one more year spent in
This world (how many I should really not mention).

We left for the station at ten fifty-five,
As we both had to wake and be reasonably alive
For work the next morning, so we set off to aim to
Catch the eleven past fast service for Waterloo.

The train had left Portsmouth some two hours before,
And was issued the headcode of two T six-four.
After calling at Walton it was scheduled to run
To Waterloo non-stop (well, via Surbiton).

At eight minutes past we arrived at the station,
And hearing the incoming train made to hasten
Through the tunnel which leads from the down "car park" side
Of the building, to the up. We had made it in time!

There the train stood, white paint stained by the sodium
Lights, doors shut tight 'gainst the cold of the night,
While the digital clock on the platform marked time
And the seconds flicked up towards 23:09.

I stepped forward in order to open the door
(Of a Siemens Desiro of class 444,
As being a bit of a trainspotting wonk
I often recall such irrelevant bunk.)

But the buttons to open the doors were inactive,
And the train just stood silent, Teutonically passive
With no visible guard to beg for admission
(He was probably inside with his head in a Grisham.)

As the station clock ticked to fifteen seconds past
Nine minutes past eleven - something happened, at last!
But rather than a ding and the door lights alluming,
The train just whined softly - and then it was moving!

The train had departed! Two whole minutes early!
Leaving us there, tail lights staining its pearly
White paintwork blood red in the dark of the night
As it speeded away and escaped from our sight.

"What the hell?" we both asked. "Don't they give these guys watches?"
"Did the guard just not bother to look at the clock? His
Timekeeping skills must be getting a little bit
Rusty, or was he just being a (censored)?"

And there we stood, stuck in the middle of Surrey
Still wanting to get ourselves home in a hurry
But having to wait there for ten minutes more
For the 23:20, a slow train, which called
At Surbiton, Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Clapham
And eventually brought us to Waterloo at, erm..
Two minutes to midnight, twenty-five minutes after
The train we'd intended to catch, which was faster

But because the guard hadn't been paying attention
We got home much later than had been our intention.

With my bleary, sleep-deprived eyes I implore
You, dear reader (though this poem's beginning to bore)
To remind all those drivers and guards of our fate -
And that early departures are as evil as late!

All the best (and sorry, that really was a terrible poem),
Mike Knell

Posted by mpk at January 18, 2006 4:00 PM
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