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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for a charity and am trying to expand my horizons. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Deja vue - travel complications

It's happened again.

A couple of trips to London ago I decided to save time and fly to Stanstead. It made a lot of sense to land at that airport and be able to get to Arsenal without going through the centre of London. The trip up was a dream and I was at the accomodation at head office within 2 hours of leaving Newquay. Then it came time to return home.

I flew up the day before as the morning flight would not get me in early enough; travelling back I was catching the evening flight, as I could then go into work the next day. The checkin was smooth, there was wifi to keep me busy and I even got a decent seat in the grab what you can when you get onboard system of the low cost carrier.

Halfway through the flight came the dreaded announcement, fog at Newquay - diverting to Bristol. To begin with people thought that this meant we would wait there then fly down when it had cleared but the Captain soon put us straight. We would land at Bristol and the company would look into coaching us back to Cornwall. In the end, instead of getting in at 22.00 hours and home at 23.00 I got to Newquay airport by coach at 01.45 the next morning and home around 03.00 (slight detour on the way to drop off an elderly lady visiting family in the Redruth area).

I have already written about the delays a colleague suffered and then myself on the way up, now we have a delay on the way back into Cornwall. Being in Nottingham I was unaware that there were severe electrical storms in Cornwall, not the strength of thunder and lightning we've experienced in Corfu I feel certain but enough to cause chaos.

We are stuck at St Germans and have been told that the train signalling was knocked out across the county for a while today. We had a report, via the guard an hour ago, to say that staff were giving signals along the single line stretch of line near Trago and that there were trains at every signal between St Germans and Truro. It is 21.09 now and we have begun moving now the Bristol train has come up past us.

I am so thankful that we are on a Virgin Train. I have radio powered by the train and, most importantly, electrical power points to run this computer while charging my phone. The train is that quiet, four people in a carriage of 28 or so seats, I could plug in my battery charger to charge the batteries for my emergency Axim charger and fire up the laptop I am carrying too. In fact I have only fired up the laptop once this trip and that was to extract a couple of files from exe files to install on the Axim.

I am hoping that it is not raining when I get to penzance but I think I will treat myself to a taxi ride to the office, where I can get the work's car to get me home. Cathy is feeling very rough and, given the reported weather conditions, I am not going to ask anyone else to come out to collect me.

I just need a signal now so I can post this via the phone. I have used Diarist as it is definitely faster than my email client for posting to my blog and email posts have been a little patchy.

21.43 we are waiting for the Pilot to board us - yes I did say pilot. It seems that where there are no signals on siingle line track a signaler comes aboard a train and only then can it go through; there's only one pilot so only one train gets to go through, he shuttles backwards and forwards changing trains when he gets to the dual track. It was only last year that a second portion of single track was upgraded to two lines.

Latest estimate is that we are 1.5 hours behind.

More on the train types, having checked out the train magazine the trains that head up the West Coast e.g. Penzance to Glasgow, and that I am travelling on, is a Voyager train.

The radio stations on the Voyager trains, known as Voyager FM, are: Red Hot presented by Heart FM's Emma B, Over Easy presented by Radio 2's Ken Bruce, Kidz presented by Dick & Dom and Radio 4. I'd swear that we had Classic FM on the way up and no Radio 4.

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