Dear Sir or Madam,
I apologise for the vagueness with which I’m addressing you; mythological literature is somewhat lacking in detail when it comes to determining just who is responsible for train-based transportation.
Regardless, it is now clear to me beyond all reasonable doubt that you exist.
A few weeks ago I informed a colleague of mine that the train service I used to travel to and from work was “remarkably reliable”. I can see now that this statement was unacceptable, both in the hubris that it represented and in the arrogance with which I expressed it.
Since then, I have had a morning train take two hours and thirty-five minutes to reach my destination, compared with the hour and thirty minutes the timetable states. I have had a morning train be cancelled, and then found the next train, already leaving twenty-four minutes later, be further delayed by more than half an hour due to a broken down train at City Thameslink. I have had an evening journey take forty minutes longer for no apparent reason. I’ve had another start half an hour late due to a signal failure at Blackfriars that caused so many delays and cancellations that the tannoys were talking over each other. These are in addition to the many other trains that have arrived at my destination five or ten minutes late.
And I even suffered delays on a train that arrived on time. Last Monday, my train arrived on time at Brighton, but then refused to allow the doors to open, leaving me at the end of a queue of passengers staring at a stubbornly unlit door open button and a little illuminated red sign that proclaimed “Doors Not Operational”. After a good five minutes of embarrassed small talk broken only by occasional apologies from the driver, the door open button finally lit up, was pressed, and the doors opened, allowing my fellow passengers to stream out. Thinking I could now begin my journey home, I paused for a moment by the door to drop an empty plastic drink bottle into the waste bin, and then watched in horror as the doors slid closed, the door open button unlit, and the red illuminated sign lit back up to again proclaim “Doors Not Operational” – something which the rest of the passengers, who were now standing on the platform and had been alerted by my scream, found deeply hilarious.
I spent a further five minutes on that train, accompanied by two old ladies from the carriage’s other doorway, who’d been delayed by their luggage, and a bloke who wondered down from the adjacent carriage, presumably because he was lonely and/or scared. Eventually, waving and shouting, we managed to attract the attention of some passing rail workers, who wrestled the doors open.
I am sorry. I am truly, deeply, sincerely sorry. I swear now that I will never again boast about the efficiency of my train service for as long as I live. If there is some sort of sacrificial offering I can make to appease your anger – burning my monthly train ticket, sacrificing a virgin, assassinating Bob Crow – then please let me know via some kind of appropriate supernatural sign (lightning strike, visitation by an angel, Normal Tebbit agreeing that civil partnerships are a good thing etc.).
Your sincere and (now) very humble servant,
P.S. If you can lean on George Osborn not to cancel Crossrail after the election I’d be really grateful.