PLANNING a last-minute rail journey to spend Christmas with your folks? Don’t forget some Valium, as these panic-inducing problems are guaranteed to occur:
False sense of security
You’re stressed about cancellations but at the station everything’s fine. You relax and enjoy a pint or a coffee, then suddenly – mass cancellations. Your mum’s lovely dinner with all the trimmings is rapidly turning into a Dr Oetker pizza from the corner shop, eaten alone in your flat.
You get a seat with the worst twats in the world
Too many to list: a family of shrieking twats, a weird guy inappropriately trying to chat you up, thugs with a terrifying dog that could rip a xenomorph to shreds. The difference now is they’ll have blocked the aisles with bags of Christmas stuff or just baffling items, like a length of drainpipe they’ve decided to take with them right now, for some reason.
Your train moves off. You get comfy and breathe a sigh of relief. One minute later it’s announced you’ll be terminating at the next stop. No further information is available. It’s like one of those horror movies where the fateful final destination is Hell. Watford is near enough.
Cans + no toilet = bad
It’s Christmas, so why not crack open a can? Because British train toilets are broken half the time anyway, and now there are 70 people queuing to use the only functioning one. When you do get in you’ll have to do a strange little dance where you flip up the seat with your foot, so your trainers rather than hands get contaminated with piss.
Yomp across a station
After a premature stop, you have to run to another platform weighed down with gifts and a rucksack. Once there you’re told to go back to the original platform and wait, confirming your suspicions that the UK rail network is run by Jigsaw-like sadists.
You’re transferred to a train that’s already full. You try to sit on the floor of a vestibule with less space than a Viet Cong bamboo cage. It’s painfully uncomfortable. You’re forced to stand for several hours instead, a technique also popular with torturers if they don’t want to leave bruises and burn marks.
You arrive… somewhere
The train terminates after midnight, 15 miles from your parents’ house and all public transport has stopped. Christmas gets off to a bad start as you grovel for a lift at 2am from your deeply f**ked-off dad.