Taking Stock - October 10, 2011

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i like to think I’m the kind of chap who learns from his mistakes.

Why is it, then, I continue to put my faith in public transport when I know full well the train is far better at causing stress than taking the strain.

Before we go any further, let me explain.

With the brood tucked up in bed and a wedding anniversary to celebrate, My Good Wife and I decided to pop out to lovely Lytham for a pint or two and a bite to eat.

So, off we popped to the station for the short journey down the coast.

The fact that, on our arrival, at nearly 8pm, there were still football fans standing on the platform should have been a clue all was not well in the world of railways.

A little digging revealed no train had turned up for at least two hours – a lack of any information system prompting concerns for the next service due.

Of course, the only way to find out is to spend your own money ringing the rail inquiry service – who were able to say, helpfully, the train may, or may not, arrive.

That should have been the moment to admit defeat, hop in the car and resign myself to a more sober celebration.

But I’m a stubborn sort.

Surely one out of three trains would, bearing in mind this is the 21st century, make it to Blackpool.

Departure time came and went, as did many of the football fans, off to hunt for a taxi to Preston.

Never fear though, I had a plan B – the bus.

And it was all going swimmingly until, 100 yards after boarding, the driver turned right off Lytham Road into a queue of Lights traffic, which might as well have been a car park.

So, 50 minutes later, we finally arrived in Lytham Square, hot, hungry and scarred by the happy hardcore music which had been belting out of a teenager’s phone for the entire journey.

It’s not like it’s the first time.

I’ve spent many a miserable hour standing on the platform at Blackpool South to no avail.

I once managed to get on a late running train at Lytham, only to be turfed off again two stops later when someone decided there was no point carrying on to the end of the line.

Apparently, around the country there are plenty of lines which have been given names over the years. Nottingham has the Robin Hood Line, Norfolk, the Bittern Line.

Maybe then the South Fylde route might be best branded the Lottery Line – it certainly seems that way sometimes.

My problem? Well, I’m a gambler and my chosen poison is railway roulette.