The Trainline

I’ve probably already stated on multiple occasions that I hate travelling, especially with any sort of bag in tow, and that I would much rather that a portal system was invented, or that I was Harry Potter and could take the floo network everywhere instead. Alas I am a muggle. Today only made me wish, all the more, that I really was a wizard.

I took the train to get back to Reading thinking all would be normal. I took a seat, settled down with a copy of ‘Insurgent’ and was daydreaming about laying down in bed (because for some reason sitting on a train for four hours is really tiring). I fell asleep, my daydreams perhaps being too vivid for me to keep my eyes open, and awoke just as the train was pulling up to King’s Cross. All was normal. I had a quick peruse in Oliver Bonas. Everything was fine.

Oh but I needed the loo and found it best to find the nearest public toilets rather than waiting for the train or risking that the ones in Paddington would be closed. I faffed about with getting change (London takes the term “spending a penny” a bit too literally as I had to pay thirty of them) and did what I needed to do, no detailed explanation needed. If only I could have stood in the cubicle and flushed my way home like they do in The Deathly Hallows.

I got on the tube thinking, still, that everything would be normal. I got on the Circle Line via Paddington- the one I usually get- and nothing was out of the ordinary. All the stops along the way were all the same.

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But when I got to Paddington it was a whole different story.

The platform looked different to usual. More brick and it seemed older. The placard on the wall said “Paddington” but I felt like I had somehow got on the Hogwarts express and ended up at platform 9 and 3/4’s. Definitely not fine. Things were different. When I take the same train time and time again I expect the journey to be uniform, I was never prepared for this. Where on Earth was I?

Still I followed the exit thinking it might take me out at the station, but instead I came out onto a street and I was face to face with the Hilton hotel. At least if I got seriously lost there was a place I could probably stay. Panicking at the thought of being lost and the prospect of having to spend a thousand pounds to stay the night in London-even though I have exams tomorrow- I called Ed.

“Help me!” I wailed. “I don’t know where the station is!” It seemed to have disappeared under an invisibility cloak. Ed told me to find staff in the tube station to ask. I did. Londoners would probably be shaking their heads at my stupidity if I had asked them, and I certainly felt stupid when the staff I asked told me it was directly next to the Hilton hotel and all I had to do was cross the road at the traffic light. Luckily the suitcase in tow made me look like I was a tourist and hadn’t been in the area before. Hooray! I was not lost!

But when I got into the station the board were saying that off peak tickets were not being accepted. Drats. If I hadn’t looked in Oliver Bonas, or gone to the loo, or got lost even, I probably could have avoided the peak times. Again, I called Ed.

“I don’t know!” he said. “Go get staff!” So I did. I think I learned today that boyfriends are useless and that staff are perhaps who you should talk to first. I’m glad that I had gone to the loo, though, as the staff told me the next train I could catch with my off-peak ticket was at 19:18 an hour away. A portkey or floo powder would have been nice though.

So I waited for the train and ate a cheeseburger as I did so. I eagerly watched the boards as I waited for it to tell me where to find the train. Platform 8. I rushed and rushed to the platform the second it said in the hope that I would get a seat as I was not in the mood to stand on the journey as I had been standing in the station all hour. I was at the platform even before the train was.

My heart fell when I saw the huge crowd of people also waiting for the train, and saw that there were only three carriages. So, I took a stance dangerously at the edge of the platform and hoped that the door would stop in front of me. AND IT DID! That was the best bit of luck I had all day, and I sat down and claimed my seat before people even had the chance. Finally I could relax.

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3 thoughts on “The Trainline

  1. I’ve done that before – at Kings Cross – and how many hundreds of times have I been there?!!! But I took a lift rather than the escalators and came out at a completely different exit. Properly freaked me out as I ended up streets away. It’s just a good job Kings Cross has got a big clock tower.
    I never have as much luck with the seating though. But I’ve found the floor can be surprisingly comfortable. Or you could have just sat on your case.

    • If you ever get on a train to Reading you will notice how there isn’t even enough space to put your suitcase, never mind the extra space you’ll need for your legs if you are to sit on it. I had to be a pig today and use two seats to put my suitcase somewhere. Of course I COULD have used the over head rack thing, but I can never get it back down again once it’s up there (that is if I could put them up in the first place-i’m too weak and clumsy to even give it a proper attempt)

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