b3ta.com user chrisy
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» Buses

Rail replacement
I was working in London a couple of years back. On one particular day the train station I would normally start at for my journey home, and the main one for the journey northwards, were both closed due to the British rail network being unable to cope with weather.

Anyway, I managed to make my way to Finsbury Park (my chief scientist), where I was assured by an official on the platform that a train heading towards Peterborough would be along in 15 mins or so. The only trains I saw were going to places I had no intention of visiting nor had even heard of. One of these had just left and the next one along was for Peterborough. I got on. Some other people got on. The annoucement told us that actually it was going to the exact same places as the train which had just left. We all got back off. The train remained empty despite the announcer urging people to get on it to go to whereever it was going. Probably anybody interested had got on one of the other five trains that had turned up to also go there, such as the one which left a minute before. Anyway, I digress.

Several more minutes passed, and an announcement was made of a replacement bus. One going somewhere miles out of the way, the other going to Stevenage and Hitchin "because that's all the driver knows". It wasn't quite as far up the line as I would have liked, but I figured my options were wait for a bus that was, or take my chances with this and hope trains were running from Hitchin. I decided to take my chances.

We start exiting London. The driver visibly drives past about three turn-offs for the A1 and appears to be heading for the M1. One of the passengers shouts "you do know we want the A1, don't you?" and starts shouting directions. We turned off the A1 at Stevenage, the driver pulls in to the first bus-stop he sees and shouts "Stevenage!". Nobody gets off, owing to us being nowhere near the station. The man shouting directions earlier makes some remark about this not being the station, and walks down to the front of the bus to give the driver more directions. He got off at Stevenage station. My hopes of ever getting even to Hitchin were dwindling, and I was seriously considering getting off there myself.

We finally made it to Hitchin station with various passengers shouting directions. It was only going as far as Hitchin because "that's all he knows", but turns out he didn't even know that.
(Tue 30th Jun 2009, 19:00, More)