I’ve told you before about getting into trouble on Friday evenings if I miss the 19h05 Sligo Express out of Connolly. It’s the last train of the day running all the way home… so, if I miss it the good lady wife has to drive all the way to Maynooth to collect me.
The only thing, these days when I do have a few after work bevvies I keep a very close eye on the station platform. Yes… I can see the digital display clearly from where we sit and enjoy the hour or so of unwinding. Last Friday I again kept close watch. At last glance I still had 11 minutes before the arrival of the DART to Connolly. That allowed me another 7 minutes… giving myself a full 4 minutes to get onto the platform. (Note to all… this accounts for about a 2.5 minutes reserve… for that just in case moment.)
This is where things really started getting messy… when I looked again… about at the point when I needed to say my farewells… I saw the DART arriving at the platform. I instinctively know my dash would be futile but I gave it a go in any case. Just for effect… and to sooth the conscience?
How is this possible? How could the train suddenly make an appearance as if by magic… how, I hear you ask… how indeed?
It’s not altogether uncommon… it always seems to happen on days when something goes wrong somewhere along the network. When you have a whole line of trains dealing with delays it seems the odd driver gets the signal to move it up when he has a clear track ahead. I’ve on more than one occasion seen the countdown of about five or six minutes happen in two or three… frustrating when you’re not watching closely! So… my mad dash was in vain.
I stood watching the DART set off toward Connolly. Another 12 minutes before the next one. I did a few mental calculations… if it’s arrival is also accelerated I may just make it… maybe… but what were the alternatives? A taxi to Connolly? No… not this time of the rush hour Friday… it would be quicker to walk. If I walk I’d make it… if I could cut about 5 minutes off my normal walking time… if!
My best bet? Wait for the next DART to Connolly… and with a bit of luck the delays will work in my favour. Not long after getting onto the DART I realised my luck is most likely going to be out on this one. We eventually arrived a platform 6 at Connolly… before the doors even opened I caught sight of the Sligo Express… no, my luck was holding. I made an almighty effort to get to the subway and across to platform 4 but as I ran up the stairs the telltale whistle of the train alerted me to its departure. Another dash in vain!
Now? back up to platform 7… that’s where the next Maynooth train would be departing from. There was a train parked at the platform… a quick glance up at the display. Maynooth. Great… another dash, just in case. I managed an entry as the doors were closing! At last… I was on something heading west. Third time lucky!
Now for the phone call.
Grand… the good lady understood. These things happen to the best of us. The trip west went without much indecent. I arrived at Maynooth at about the same time as I’d usually get into Enfield. I think that was my saving grace… the good lady could do her own calculations… my tale could not be too far-fetched, could it?
All the while something was nagging at me… that Sligo express must have been delayed by about 5 minutes at Connolly… yes… I would have made it if I’d walked! So… why did this lot irk me so much? Simple… not two weeks ago I’d posted my Dear Irish Rail post… now the rail gods seemed to have conspired against me. Teach me a lesson for giving out about the service…