So today was a bit strange all round.

I was spare and asked to run a particular train. Then immediately told not to and instead sent to do a different train as somebody was running a little late. After hanging around on the platform for ages the train at last appeared. And I was told not to take it to the place it was going but to turn it round there and then. This was slightly annoying because I’d only been covering the other driver until I got back to *that* station and I doubted he’d now have time to race back over and take the train from me.

Fortunately the day was saved by some drunk smashing up the train. When I walked through I discovered that the glass in an interconnecting door had been smashed which means it’s not safe for customers to ride on it. I called it in and waited in the siding while they sent a Train Maintainer over. He walked up the train and looked at the smashed glass. That was his sole contribution and the reason that your fares are so high – Train Operators are not considered competent to know whether something is broken or not and thus a second member of staff must turn up to confirm it. Ho Hum. I was to turn the train round and take it the other way to the train depot but fortunately the proper driver was on the platform as I passed through and so took the train instead.

When I got back to our depot I immediately got turfed out again and sent to the train depot to pick up an unscheduled train. The thing about railways is that they are tightly scheduled. Trains move according to timetables, drivers are on duty rosters, particular drivers must be on particular trains – it all hinges on everyone and everything knowing exactly what they are doing and where they are going. But today – just for today – we decided to try winging it.

I’d been told that the train would “probably” be going a certain direction. This meant a move that I’ve only done about twice and both times were so long ago that I could barely remember what had happened. A dilemma. Whilst I could probably just wing it I like to be a bit more precise than that when I’m moving my train. I remembered that both poggs and passengeraction have somehow acquired a route knowledge dvd for my line. It’s something I have not personally watched but I’m aware of the general content. One call to poggs later and he was watching the appropriate move on the dvd and relaying the details to me. Win.

Of course this still left me with no real idea of where the train was going or when it should be departing or arriving. So I just made it up as best I could and things seemed to go moderately ok. From my perspective anyway: Apparently I left too early and when a large crowd turned up at one of the stations I had already passed through. Not really my problem though as nobody had said to hang back and really, once the train is on the line it can’t really be stopped for any length of time or the whole line snarls up.

All in all it was an interesting attempt but I doubt we will try random acts of traindriving to that extent again. They might come up with a destination or something.