45 Minutes to Longbridge
The roads were traffic free, and half the town were shopping.
I went the other way, and found to my dismay,
The glorious day the 'Bridge won away,
Was hampered by slow running.
At the time, the local line had rail replacement buses.
The outward journey ran as planned with the bus at hand,
Fifteen minutes late
With the fate of a burger passing off as dinner
Which was most delectable.
The game was no struggle, there was little trouble,
Besides a resident numpty element
Who crawled through the exit in the fiftieth minute,
Whilst the 'Bridge were still cruising.
We left the ground, 4 - 1 winners, and headed for the station.
Luckily for me, we found an early bus, towards our destination.
Our grand design took a long time.
Our favoured option turned out to be a lemon
For it had taken 45 minutes to Longbridge.
Usually, it was 45 to Shirley,
On the rails, which were closed from Redditch,
Even with the Birmingham connection.
By Bournville, the train was under threat
As I expressed regret, over catching this service.
The traffic was appalling, and close to crawling,
With most of our journey spent waiting.
By Selly Oak, we were close to panic, with the journey time most horrific.
What time was our train? Would we have to pay again?
The bus took all day down Edgbaston way
With an overnight stay by University nearing reality.
By Fiveways, we missed our train and had to pay again.
We tried in vain for late departures,
Till the ticket collector gave us an answer.
Due to one's chivalry and the guard's empathy
He let us get the later one at 1918;
A five car Voyager, with any seat we wanted.
After this trauma, we were most delighted.
We arrived at our station two hours later,
Then home in 45 minutes thereafter;
The same time the snail took to get to Longbridge
From Redditch, past Alvechurch centre.
56 Grid Attack
"You'd better go to Wigan Springs Depot", a Gricer said
"Why do something more boring than train spotting?"
Personally, a nil-nil thriller seems more fulfilling
Than standing outdoors freezing, and hoping for 'Grids'.
Class 56's, 3,250 brake horsepower,
Paxman engine, maximum speed, 90 mph
They deliver coal to Fiddlers Ferry
And are often stationed at Warrington Arpley.
Only today, I saw three at Wigan.
One with coal, one with four wagons,
And a Cargowagon train - through Wigan Wallgate
In the forty minutes before leaving for Southport.
Three weeks ago, en-route to Glasgow,
I saw a girl called Joanne, who was 'grid' crazy.
She knew they were built in Craiova, Romania.
Some thought she had it bad,
And gained this obsession from her dad,
A one-time guard at Kingmoor yard.
They shared the videos, and listened to Blyth Power,
Trains enthralled Joanne every hour.
In spite of privatisation, rail remained, her key obsession.
From Manchester Piccadilly, we shared a table,
Though fewer passengers were just as able.
They thought she was like no other female, different.
She never followed fashion trends and boasted few friends
Was this because she was different?
With the subject matters, I found common ground,
Though surrounding passengers cringed at her monotone sound
And lack of intonation, whilst both of us spoke at length,
On poor timetable information.
I understood, yet empathised - had I been there before?
She spoke also of Mansfield, its brewery and special school
And Inter-City 125's from Derby to Poole.
Whilst she 'spoke in poetry', the table opposite
Spoke of celebrity frivolity.
To me it was baloney,
Till they spoke on Elvis Presley,
Tabloid bigotry, Russell Brand and Wossy.
Then the display read 'Carlisle'.
"It's Carlisle Citadel", cried Joanne.
"I know", I replied, "...like Sheffield Midland and Hull Paragon,
They dropped these appendages circa '71".
"Carlisle, next station stop", cried the guard.
"Carlisle" she exclaimed.
"Yes" I replied.
"Yes", she said, prior to leaving the train.
She sounded like me.
The Closer readers opposite, agreed amongst themselves.
Hours later, Glasgow Central, 6.00 pm,
I checked my pockets and find a piece of folded paper.
A Class 56, complete with details, like 'Brush, Loughborough'
And 'Electroputere, Craiova, Romania'.
It was 56004, the sole survivor in Rail Blue.
It was signed 'For you, fellow grid fiend, Joanne (19)'