It seems to be increasingly difficult to get anywhere these days what with long queues at ports, a Brexit dividend, cancellations, strikes, and transport infrastructures unable to cope with excessive temperatures. However, perhaps the most bizarre recent travel experience was that endured by Jim Metcalfe and his fellow passengers who boarded the Caledonian Sleeper on the night of 19th July in the expectation that by the time they woke up the following morning they would be in London.
Metcalfe, who has used the service for 15 years and struggles to get to sleep when the train is moving, boarded early and was sound asleep by 11.00pm. At 5.00am he was woken up by a steward who presented him with a roll, a sausage, a cup of coffee and the astonishing news that they were still in Glasgow as the service had been cancelled due to a fault on the line. As the platform on which the train had been sitting was now needed to run other services, Jim and his fellow passengers had to troop off the train.
Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper, Kathryn Darbandi, explained “we made all efforts to support guests impacted, including providing overnight accommodation on board and options for travel on alternative rail services the next day. All guests will receive a full refund”.
Her choice of terminology is fascinating and, presumably, intended. A passenger has the expectation of going from A to B while a guest just anticipates using static facilities. At least Jim had a good sleep and was not disturbed by the movement of the train.
I think I will just stay at home.