A new experience today… a late train.
The 1327 to Seville rocked up at 1333, towing the train to Granada. The ticket inspector had advised that I would need to stand at the far end of the platform. He hadn’t been kidding.
However, the far end of the platform was in the full glare of the sun, and none of the information displays were working. If there were going to be sudden platform changes, I wanted to know as soon as possible and be next to the exit point.
The Trainline app gives information like that. The Omio app, on which I had booked this train ticket, does not.
So when the train arrived, I set off walking to Seville to find my carriage. The train halted… and then slowly started moving again. I wasn’t alone in being slightly perturbed by this.
By 1342, we started moving… presumably having allowed time for decoupling.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be clock watching, but today I was planning to catch up with friends in Seville for the Manchester United game. They were on a train arriving after me (theoretically at this point) from Madrid.
Every journey had been smooth this far, and, to be fair, nobody seemed at all bothered at the delayed departure. I’m not going to assume lazy sterotypes. I decided to assume this was a very usual occurrence and that the train would make up the time on the journey.
Why the uncharacteristic optimism? Nobody was tutting, huffing or complaining. There was no sign of phone calls being made (which I view as a visual clue that something unexpected has gone wrong and people need to be made aware that folks are going to be late).
There were no announcements about delayed departures either. I just couldn’t believe that the rail service would be so crap that there wouldn’t be any onboard apologies. (I mean: that would give certain UK operators new depths to plumb).
Within ten minutes, the train was moving through flat countryside: green fields; fields filled with line upon line of small bushes; tracts of scrubland; acres of orange trees, interspersed with rows of olives and healthy crops of solar panels.
Meanwhile, the journey display board showed the (appropriately) orange line of miles to Seville disappearing ahead of the dot that was the train.
With ten minutes until the scheduled time, the train was more than halfway through the journey – not bad after less than twenty minutes travelling in what I thought was going to be a forty minute ride. Lewis Hamilton was obviously at the wheel.
I have no idea how quickly we were moving, but it felt a damn sight quicker than chugging across the North of England.
However, Lewis eased his foot off the accelerator, and we weren’t going to make the arrival time… which rather left me pondering the lack of announcements.
The train arrived ten minutes late. I was still earlier than my pals.
I love travelling on my own. I can please myself about what I do and where I go. I also find that you generally have more conversations and meet more people than when you travel with others.
One difficulty in travelling alone in Spain is tapas. Purely for the amounts of food that you’re served. Mealtimes are social occasions here – dining in groups (whether friends or family), so a serving of tapas (just the one dish) can feed about six.
So for an evening, it was great to catch up with friends and have dinner before they went to watch the United game.
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