Monday, 21 June 2010


We're in shock this evening - we had to be at Homerton Hospital in Hackney (London) at 9am.  They have no parking facilities.  Visitors are advised to take public transport.
So we decided to take the high speed train from Ashford International in Kent to Stratford International, London,  and then get a connecting tube train (2 stops) and walk from there.  We set out just after 6am.

We were horrified to find the fare Ashford to Stratford was £49.40 each (return).  The (high speed) train journey takes about 40 minutes.     We can almost fly to Fuerteventura for that price!!!   When we got to Stratford we were told the connecting tube train was out of action for an hour because of  'overhead' rail link problems??   So we took a bus to the hospital - luckily we had allowed plenty of time for the journey.

On leaving the hospital we got on the tube train to take us to Stratford (2 stops).  It broke down before reaching the first station.  After 15 minutes the tannoy announced the train would have to terminate at the next station and couldn't carry on to Stratford because of 'problems'.    We were told special transit buses would be laid on.  Yeah right!!   Having got off the train, the only railway employee we found knew nothing.   Their were no replacement trains laid on.  To cut a very long story short - we finally took a regular local bus to Stratford and arrived back at Ashford at 3pm having eaten nothing all day.    Our car had been in the car park for more than 5 hours which meant we had to pay the daily rate of £11.50.   So the whole trip cost us £120.     It was just a morning visit to a London hospital ... how can the 'powers that be' get away with these extortionate fares??   I've not been a commuter for a long time but I think somebody out there is definitely 'having a larf' as the saying goes!!

I've been asked to make some more changes to the portrait of 'Coco' but will leave it till tomorrow.  I'm so tired and frustrated after today's journey I shouldn't pick up my pencils tonight!

Anyway ...... Rant over and I feel a little better now!!

The sun is shining and the forecast is good for the next week ... I have a couple of horses to draw from very nice reference photos and a few 'human' portrait enquiries so I mustn't let Network South East get me down ...... but £120!!!!  daylight robbery isn't it?


Teresa said...

Ouch. What an awful trip. Hope you're rested and feeling a little better. At least you have good weather! :-)

Janet Pantry said...

Sue, your train debacle doesn't surprise me at all. We have such an abysmal train system in this country compared to other European's been so neglected. I'd have been mad too but I hope you feel better now after your rant (I usually do!).

You may have got your tickets cheaper by booking through the You pay online and pick up your tickets at the station. Worth checking out for next time.
PS. I love your train animation, brilliant!

sue said...

Thanks :o)

I feel much better now after my rant and a couple of glasses of vino!!

This was a bit of a 'one off' for stepson, Richard, to be assessed for the next stage of his rehab following his motorbike accident. He has been accepted at Homerton hospital (just waiting for a bed to be free now) so it was worthwhile. He will undergo rehab for 'several' months and we need to work out a more cost effective way of visiting - should be outside rush hour in future which will help. Thanks Janet - will check the link.


now I'm really chilled and back to normal (almost) :o)

K. T. Sparks said...

That is a lot of money just to get to a hospital, it is sad isn't it? I know you were very frustrated and I hate days like that. I did realize we have it good here in the states after I was in Scotland last summer. You know we love our cars here and have lots of parking for them.

sue said...

Yes, it was a lot of money, and a lot of frustration with non-running rail links, broken down trains etc. We are hosting the Olympics in 2012 and I just hope the transport system in London can be knocked into shape before then!!

ps: it would have been cheaper to have driven to the hospital and risked an £80 parking fine (so long as the car didn't get wheel-clamped or towed away of course)

Jilly said...

Crikey, what a debacle Sue. I do empathise. My hubby has been doing some work away recently in Exeter and decided to leave on Sunday evening - only to be told that there were no trains past St Albans and they had been replaced by a bus service. What makes them think that an extra 1 1/2 on a bus is an attractive proposition on top of a journey that's already 5 hours?
OK now I need some wine ;0) lol

Karen said...

Our railway service is a total disgrace. How can the government expect folk to use public transport when train journeys are extortionate prices and take so long. And how ridiculous for a hospital to have no parking!

Pet Portrait Artists said...

Thats just terrible, doesn't it make you angry, I would have had a rant too, trains are a rip off, its no wonder people use cars all the time.