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The Train Cancellation Mess - Short Commuting Story

Updated on November 15, 2011

Lilly wasn’t in a hurry as the bus wasn’t late this time. She entered the rail station walking casually in the opposite to her usual run so she managed to spot quite immediately that two older ladies were standing on a different platform.

It raised the suspicious that something was wrong with the local stopping service they all used to take. She checked a departure board and found out that the local train was cancelled. ‘Great!’ she thought. She headed back to the other platform where old ladies were already waiting. It was the platform for a long distance train that was running only ten minutes later. Her destination was the first stop but the train was always crowded so she knew she will spend the time standing in the corridor.


Lilly looked around as she had nothing else to do in such a limited space. Next to her was standing a mom of 3 years old boy sitting happily in a baby buggy. They were occupying most of the corridor so she couldn’t see many more people except of a young woman with shoulder length hair and a fringe in the other corner. She seemed to be very upset and close to tears. She was trying to call someone frantically on her mobile.

Vicky was really unhappy at this moment. She was trying to get a hold of her boss on the phone to tell him she will be late but her phone kept losing signal. It was adding to her frustration so she was almost crying and had to try hard to retain her composure. It was one of those days for her, nothing was going right.

‘We are sorry to announce that 7:26 Southwest train was cancelled because of another train being broken and blocking the track. The service will be suspended until further notice’ the voice announced and Lilly felt quite lucky that she had an alternative. Some poor people getting off on any of the small stations on the route of the local service will have to find another way to get there.

The 7:36 long distance train rolled onto the station and people gathered at the doors to get on as soon as possible in a hope for any decent place. As Lilly predicted, the train was full so she found herself a quiet spot under the wall in the corner. The train departed very quickly so at least there would be no more delays.

She forgot to set her alarm clock yesterday so she woke up late today. She was in such a rush that she had no time to eat a breakfast and she also forgot the papers for the presentation she was giving today at work. She managed to get to the station just in time for her train only to learn that the train was cancelled. She was standing on the platform not knowing what to do as the train coordinator said the service was suspended so there was no point to wait for the next. She had to get off at the small station on the service route and because of the broken train on the track, nothing was stopping there.

She was devastated, she had a very important presentation at 9 am so she needed to get to the office somehow. ‘You should go on the long distance service and get off at the first stop. It will get you to the main station in the town you are heading’ the train coordinator suggested. Vicky took the advice and get on this train but had no idea what to do next. She has been in this job for one month only so she didn’t know the area. She knew how to get to the office from the small station on the suburbs but how on earth she will manage to get there from the town centre?!

Finally she managed to get a hold of her boss. ’Good morning Sidney, it’s Vicky here. Unfortunately the train I usually take was suspended and I’m on the later train to the main station. I’ll be late but I’ll try to get to the office as soon as I can’ she explained to her boss and felt a little relieved having informed him about the situation.

She looked around more consciously and noticed a boy in the baby buggy. He noticed her as well and smiled widely. She couldn’t help it and smiled back. The boy didn’t need any more encouragement. He started making funny faces and then laughed loudly. It was so contagious that Vicky found herself laughing loudly and happily with the boy and half of the nearby passengers. ’He will definitely do a career in the entertainment’ Vicky winked to boy’s mum who nodded. ‘I bet he will, whenever I’m upset he makes me cry from laugh’ she added.

It also worked for Vicky, she suddenly noticed that she is not anxious or unhappy anymore. She still didn’t know how to get to the office but was much less bothered with that. ’Did you miss your usual train?’ boy’s mom asked. ’Yes, it was cancelled so I’m going now to the central station and don’t have a clue how to get to my office’ Vicky explained. ’I see, let me help you then, I know the town pretty well’ boy’s mom offered. ‘If you can point me out in the direction of Argos shop on the high street I’ll be grateful’ Vicky said with a hope in her voice. ‘That’s easy honey - follow the crowd out of the station. There is pretty only one way to go. You will pass Burger King on the right and M&S on the left. As soon as you will see John Lewis, turn right and continue until you’ll see Argos on your left.’ ‘It really sounds easy’ Vicky said quite surprised, she was expecting it to be much harder. ’Thank you so much’ she added gratefully. ‘You are welcome honey’ the woman smiled and focused on her son who became a little hungry.

Soon they have arrived to the station and Vicky looked around. The crowd was mainly heading in one direction so she followed it and in less than 2 minutes she could see Burger King. ‘I’m on the right track’ she sighed with a relief and her mood lifted even more. Within next 5 minutes she could see John Lewis and after another 5 she noticed Argos shop in the distance. ’Wow, that was close!’ she was surprised. It took her another 5 minutes to get to the office. When she checked her watch she found out that she actually arrived a minute earlier than normal. ‘Amazing, I’ve just discovered much shorter route, who would have thought!’ she shook her head in astonishment and sat at her desk with plenty of time left to prepare for the upcoming presentation.


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