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3:11pm on Friday, 13th June, 2008:

Wrong Headline


My wife commutes by train to London to work. Normally, I pick her up at the train station at around 7:15pm.

On Monday this week, the seasonably hot weather "somehow" caused one of the overhead power lines on the London-to-Colchester line to come down. A train caught onto it and dragged down a mile of cables before it stopped. As a result, my wife didn't make it to Colchester until 10:30pm.

Next day, they were running only 6 trains an hour out of London (Liverpool Street), 8 carriages in length instead of the normal 12. People were standing, packed tight, and it was 7:45 when she got back. On Wednesday, repairs still weren't complete, and I didn't pick her up until 8:30. Oh, and there'd been severe delays getting into London on both days, of course.

On Thursday morning, the damage had been repaired and everything returned to normal. On Thursday afternoon, however, a freight train derailed. My wife finally materialised at the station at 9:45pm (she took a taxi home, so I didn't miss the last 15 minutes of House — incredibly generous of her under the circumstances, I thought!).

Several thousand people a day commute to London from Colchester, and these incidents affected them all. However, when I bought the (weekly) Essex County Standard this morning, the headline was: Girl a week with body, court told. The rail story was on page 6 inside.

My wife was not happy. "Why is it talking about some court case?! The headline should be Rail Hell Misery Hell Hell"!

I think a future in journalism beckons for her...

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).