Vile, vile, vile

Oh, vile was the journey home from Edinburgh last night.

Every now and then there is hand wringing about how few the number of people are who make the trip over from Glasgow (city of light and beauty) to Edinburgh (town of dark pleasures and dug-up roads) for arts events in the Edinburgh festival. Indeed, this year, they’ve installed a useful ticket booth for the Fringe in Queen Street station, pour encourager les autres.

That’s a good idea in itself, but access to tickets isn’t the primary reason that people don’t make the journey.

I can understand why they might want to encourage more people. After all, I’ve been at two of the top notch events in the official festival in the last week and on each occasion there have been many empty seats all around me. (Funny, isn’t it that empty seats at the Olympics are a national scandal whilst empty seats at the world’s premier arts festival cause no headlines.)

[In passing, I would also note with a slight grump that the Festival is now refusing to give a companion’s ticket to reviewers these days despite having all those empty seats to fill].

A big part of the reason for people not wanting to go to Edinburgh at night from the land of plenteousness in the West is that the journey can be just so vile.

You don’t want to drive to Edinburgh because in Edinburgh you can neither park nor drive. All roads in the centre are likely to be dug up or congested due to the long-running tram debacle which would be better described as a piece of performance art than a transport policy.

And the late night trains from Edinburgh are just so horrible.

Last Saturday night there was terrible overcrowding on the trains. They know that the Edinburgh festival is on its way presumably every year. And though there is the odd extra train very late at night, the capacity at 1030 pm just isn’t good enough. Corridors are full of people and toilets are full of…. well, never mind what they are full of.

Last night I thought I got lucky by getting a seat in the front of the train. However, that feeling of pleasure and delight was soon dashed from the castle ramparts above Waverley station as Glasgow’s generic, belligerent, loud, smelly, objectionable drunk decided to sit at my table. After announcing to one and all quite how p….drunk he was, he then proceeded to keep up a commentary on everyone else in the carriage. Young women were lampooned for being too fat for him, too thin for him or wearing the wrong clothes. Every man was a threat that made him nervous and tetchy. Anyone with a briefcase was subject to questioning about what they did and whether they had any money in the case.

Dozens of people had a miserable end to whatever kind of evening that they had had.

I chose the line of least resistance and feigned sleep. However, closing your eyes to such bad behaviour is hardly any easier than keeping vigilant watch.

Scotrail supposedly have a no alcohol and no drunks policy on late-night trains. If they are going to come anywhere near enforcing it then they need some staff on the trains. Last night there was no sign of a guard, conductor, ticket-wallah or whatever the whole vile journey.

Quite ghastly and bound to make one think twice about making the journey again.

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