Today got off to a bit of a slow start as early mornings are an obscenity unto Gord and I can be a bit of a ditz with timetables at times. So it took me three attempts to track down this week’s instructor. It occasionally happens that a trainee will miss whomever they are going out with but the remedy is generally fairly simple: if you stay in one central place they tend to swing by at some point. It’s a round and round kind of job. 😀
I don’t tend to like early morning duties but I later consoled myself that no matter how bad a day I was having it was nothing compared to what some other drivers were experiencing. When I finally had an instructor, some edjumacashun and some breakfast sorted we wandered back to a platform to pick up another train. There we found that the train already in the platform was having what are technically known as ‘problems’ and there was a soup of orange jackets milling around sorting them. Two of whom were the driver and his relieving driver whom we shall call Brian for no particular reason other than it’s going to get complicated in a minute. My instructor was swifly roped in to assist and he disappeared up to the back of the train leaving me to look after his bag and his coffee. And so it was that I came to be lounging on a platform watching severe delays in action.
After ten minutes of to-ing and fro-ing the train was ready to leave and Brian set off with the train and the original driver stomped off having had a complete damper put on his day. My instructor returned, retrieved his bag and tepid coffee and we got on the next train. About halfway to the next station one of The Voices called up for a natter but what with being a bit busy at the time I figured I’d let him go to my answering service. From the information I got it seems The Voice was a bit of a Baldrick and had hit upon a Cunning Plan. As the train in front was reported to have problems he wanted me (well, my instructor) to dump ours and switch to that one while Brian was to leg it over to our train and drive back the way we’d come. This can only be done at stations where there are both platforms and sidings and as one was coming up we would do the swap there. Presumably Brian’s train was intended to terminate there anyway and as ours was to go on it was easy enough to swap the signalling for those two trains (though possibly less easy to swap the disgruntled passengers).
When we got our new train we found a Train Maintainer there who was also wanting to check the train for problems. As it turned out the only problem we experienced on the rest of the journey was that we had inadvertantly nicked one of Brian’s train keys which doubtless put a bit of a damper on *his* day too. One needs a certain number of keys and a heck of a lot of panache to drive a train successfully and if one’s train is suddenly stuck in a siding then it causes all sorts of severe delays and swearing.
On the way back things seemed to be going well and we resumed my edjumacashun up until we heard The Voices pipe up again. It seems that a second train was experiencing problems behind us. Resulting in a similar swarm of orange jackets, severe delays and yet another driver having a very bad day.