Commuters on a journey from Glasgow had little praise for East Midlands Trains last night, after arriving in St. Pancras a lot later than scheduled. The passengers had an inkling they were in for a grim journey when their train ground to a halt at Leicester, and they were forced to use a replacement bus service. But even the most seasoned of travellers hadn’t expected to eventually end their journey carried into the main station by tramps.
Trouble started when a junior train manager realised there were no procedures in place to deal with a purely theoretical outbreak of fascism on the train, and the rest of the crew quickly joined his impromptu walk-out. Passengers passed the time by tutting and looking at their shoes, but eventually grew restless when the lights were turned off and the station tannoy announced ‘get on the f***ing bus’.
Eventually they worked out how to get all 294 passengers from the express train onto an ageing 38 seater coach. But no sooner had they set off than they found themselves parked in a housing estate, watching the driver casually walk to his house. "His wife came out to us with a big roll of parcel tape, and covered up the route number on the front”, explained Derek Hornbridge, a long-suffering train user. "Then she stuck her head round the door, and explained that due to a lack of drivers, we'd have to continue our journey by tramp."
East Midlands Trains eventually delivered a skip, which attracted enough vagrants for the passengers to continue their journey. Derek was less than impressed. "I paid £165 to go from Glasgow to London by train. It should have taken me 5 hours. Instead I ended up being carried most of the way there by a tramp, arrived 2 weeks late for my meeting, and seem to have caught some sort of skin disease. And yet I was still charged full price. Is that fair?"
Derek wasn’t alone in suggesting improvements. Sarah Wendle lost a stone during her ordeal, and is now pregnant. “My economy tramp was bloody uncomfortable, and stopped at every Wetherspoons between Corby and Luton. The toffs in first class arrived a bit quicker, I think it's because their tramps were allowed unlimited free drinks."
Sarah isn’t sure if she’ll use East Midlands again. "I try to travel by train when I can, I know it’s more expensive but it's by far the greenest way to travel. But then I ended up on some tatty old hobo that clearly hadn't been serviced for ages. If you ask me, his emissions were worse than my Micra."
East Midlands Trains have apologised, and promised to learn from their feedback. "We shouldn’t make our customers endure this sort of service, and expect a refund to make up for all the inconvenience. We’ve made sure of that, by hiding another get-out clause in our small print."
This was a joint service by Waylandsmithy and Vertically Challenged Giant.