The train journey to Weymouth

No train journey, for us, starts without a road journey first. We drove to Westbury to catch the Weymouth train which left more or less on 9.30.

The fare is bargain basement in terms of cost for us oldies. On this line if you show your bus pass at the ticket office then you get a third off. It comes out at £11 for a return ticket.

The train was quite full but we found a pair of seats at a table and the couple already there were friendly.

A lot more people got on at Frome, more again at Bruton and yet more at Castle Cary. People were now standing in the gangway and sitting on the floor at carriage ends. This was about the time Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader, had a journey involving some floor sitting.

At Yeovil a huge crowd got on. There was not an inch of space anywhere. It really was sardine conditions. The standing passengers were jammed in. The train guard or conductor had great difficulty getting space for himself having ensured all was safe. I’d love to have taken a photo but I had put my bag on the luggage rack and there was no space for me to stand in a position to retrieve it. The flask of coffee we’d planned to drink, similarly, was up there in the rack and unreachable.

Worse was to come for some folks. After Yeovil there are three small stations which are request stops. Waiting passengers have to hail the train, rather like hailing a bus. Each of the stations at Thornford, Yetminster and Chetnole had waiting passengers. At each station the train stopped and the guard (or conductor) emerged on to the platform to inform the waiting people they could not get on the train. Chetnole, a real wayside place, had just a family of four, with kids clutching buckets and spades for the seaside. We could see the eyes of one little lad well up with tears when told he couldn’t go. The next train followed an hour afterwards.

I have to say the good humour on the train was commendable. It wasn’t a comfortable journey for the standees, in particular but they remained jovial. My sympathies were with our train guard. He was unable to walk up and down the train and as many of the stations are unmanned many will have made the journey without a ticket. And how awful to have to tell people they couldn’t board. He managed it all with aplomb. The simple truth was that the train – a nice enough train – just didn’t have the capacity needed.

Our return journey was not as crowded but people were still standing in the corridor and sitting on the floor in carriage ends. This time I kept my camera. I don’t have a good photo because I had to hold the camera at arm’s length and the train was rocking and rolling a bit.

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For this journey, I’ll criticise the train as well as the Great Western company for not providing enough seats. This was one of the horrid class 155 sprinters. They seat 5 across and have a narrow gangway. The seats are virtually all facing the same way – not in groups round a table. There is insufficient legroom for me and I’m not that big. I have to sit in a gangway seat so my knees and feet can be twisted around into the gangway. In my opinion these trains are not suited to lengthy journeys. It’s about an hour and a half from Weymouth to Westbury and this train was going on to Gloucester. They are not air conditioned and whilst OK when moving, for fresh air came in through open windows, when stationary they soon overheat when overcrowded.

These are surely not conditions for passengers which the so called Great Western company can be proud of. I was OK but I do wonder what arrangements were made to compensate people not able to even board the train they hoped to get. And will the guards/conductors get a bonus for having to cope with near impossible conditions and doing it with a smile? They deserve it.

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One Response to “The train journey to Weymouth”

  1. sed30 Says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog.

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