Passenger Announcement at Croy

On the way home from Edinburgh, the train is frighteningly full and some drunk boys are “tanning” their Buckfast. They shout “Fuck the passengers!” and “Fuck yer Festival!”

It’s not even the last train home. We’d torn ourselves away early in the hopes of avoiding this all-too-predictable Hell. Thankfully, nimble Laura runs ahead and snags a four-seat table for our party. This is more than just a miracle: I never assume sitting will be possible on a festival train. My habit is to stand in the vestibule, cling onto a pole with my bum cheeks, and to hope against hope that there aren’t so many passengers that my face ends up squashed against the glass.

The relief of being able to sit under these conditions–and with friends instead of strangers!–is more blissful than I can describe. I cannot believe our luck and I barely notice when we pull out of Waverley ten minutes late.

Even so, the hot train is rammed with human meat. The standees puff and blow and roll their eyes. It’s awful. The train even feels heavy and I imagine the back bumper screeching against the rails and leaving sparks in our wake.

There’s a passenger announcement at Croy (a station whose name I always think sounds like a small tinned fish), to apologise for the delay. Astonishingly, it explains that the train managers had wilfully departed late to “let as many passengers board as possible.” What?

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