It’s more than safe to say that I have exceptionally bad luck with trains. As I’m first year student at the University of Portsmouth and am yet to learn to drive, I heavily rely on trains to get me back home to the Midlands, but also to see my boyfriend in Cardiff. Before moving to university, I used to find a strange (you could say somewhat sad) joy in getting the train. However, since coming to rely on them, this rather sad joy has certainly dwindled.
After 10 days spent in Cardiff, it was time to come home to Portsmouth. I made my way onto the train but was unable to find my seat. I was definitely in the right carriage, however these seats only went up to 46 and my ticket was number 51. I grabbed a seat at random, checking with a man that entered the carriage that I was definitely on the train for Portsmouth. He nodded and smiled.
It was only when a crackly announcement came over the tannoy as the doors were closing that I began to get nervous. The announcement was mostly indecipherable, but the bits I could understand didn’t sound familiar. I asked a lady sat across from me whether I was on the train for Portsmouth, but she simply shrugged. I began to panic, until a man with crazy grey eyebrows a few seats in front turned round.
“You need the next train, darling. Get off quick; this one’s for Holyhead.”
“Oh God, thank you!” I grabbed my things and quickly piled off the train. Further along the same platform sat a second train that hadn’t been there when I’d first arrived. As I ran towards it, it hissed and pulled away. I flopped down onto a bench and dialled my boyfriend’s number.
“I almost went to Holyhead and then I missed my actual train.” I muttered down the phone.
He laughed. “Okay hold on; I’m coming back.” The poor boy then retraced his steps back to the station and sat with me until a later train pulled in. All was well; for approximately two and a half hours.
Due to a lack of signalling (or the universe playing a rather irritating joke) my train then became stuck in Salisbury for a solid two hours. I sat grumpily in a corner with a dwindling supply of pre-downloaded Netflix shows and a phone that was quickly losing battery.
After many changes-of-plan from the driver, the train began to move again, met with cheers from all passengers. However, we were told it’d be terminating in Fratton at 1.30am due to the delay: far too late for me to drag loads of bags and a stubborn suitcase through Portsmouth alone. I set about searching for any friend of mine that currently had a car in Portsmouth that would also be awake at 1.30am and up for collecting me. This turned out to be no one. I began to panic.
As I exited the train at Fratton at 1.30am, the train manager promised a pre-paid taxi, and so I followed his directions, yet came upon not a single taxi. I also appeared to be the only person needing to travel further than Fratton. Standing alone in the dark outside Fratton station, I resorted to angrily dialling for my own taxi, keeping my boyfriend on the phone in my pocket for the whole taxi ride, just in case he happened to be a murderer.
As I walked into my building at 2.10am, I’d never been so happy to collapse into bed.