The powers that be have decided that it is beneficial to all involved that passengers be made to remain on the platform (invariably in the cold) rather than boarding at their convenience apparently under the ruse that they are cleaning and preparing the train (such preparations invisible to the naked eye!). What aggravates the matter further is that invariably the driver is merrily sitting in their compartment sipping coffee and reading a newspaper totally blasé to the plight of the ever increasing masses outside his window. The one saving grace is that fortunately the platforms are covered so passengers are at least protected from the rain. However, the simple open nature of a station platform and the absence of heating ensures that temperatures are usually towards freezing and the prospect of a regular wait in the coming colder months is hardly top of my wish list.
Given the train’s engine is usually running and the presence of the ever watchful eye of the CCTV cameras in the carriages, it does seem odd that passengers are not permitted to board. Perhaps it is all part of some clever ruse to make the customer more grateful of the train’s limited comfort and therein their journey, irrespective of whether it is running on time. However, I tend to think disgruntled train staff enjoy a sadistic kick watching bemoaning passengers shivering outside on the platform whilst they enjoy 20 minutes peace and quiet tucked away in their warm cabin!
A slight element of comedy arose recently whereby a rather disgruntled gentleman approached me to ask why the doors were locked and passengers were not boarding. I advised him that this is all quite usual and the doors were not usually opened until a few minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. This failed to appease him and despite the fact that I am relatively confident that my usual business attire isn’t akin to a train driver/conductor/platform assistant, he was certain that I was wholly responsible for the delay and felt it necessary to vent his frustration at me for a further 15 minutes!
Perhaps I should time my arrival later to limit the time spent waiting – but then I wouldn’t be secure in the knowledge that I was towards the front of the queue ready to scramble upon the train like a scavenging vulture the minute the door light comes on…