At the Mercy of Transport For Wales

Englishstudent living

There is nothing like a Transport for Wales catastrophe to bond you with people you otherwise never would have met. 

There was the boy who played trombone. We met whilst stranded in Crewe - he went to university in Huddersfield. He said he was from Shrewsbury. I had just made a friend from there. I assumed it was small, like Aberystwyth – small enough for practically everyone to know one another. I asked him: ‘Oh, do you know Martha?’ Meeting his puzzled look, I continued. ‘She’s… really short?’ 

Turns out Shrewsbury is bigger than I thought. With disdain in his eyes, he replied: ‘I don’t know everyone from Shrewsbury, love.’ 

I was embarrassed. Luckily for me, we were soon interrupted by a hen do. They enthusiastically convinced me to sip a can of strawberry daiquiri when they identified me as a fellow woman. 

There was the old lady, a poet, who sat with me on a replacement coach. She saw me reading Kate Chopin and we talked about books. She said Wales was a good place to find inspiration. I’ve learnt that boredom is another unexpected reason to be grateful towards Transport for Wales. 

I joked around with a boy at the train station here in Aberystwyth. Whilst waiting for a late train he told me, mysteriously: ‘I go to university in Wales.’ 

I decided to take a shot in the dark.  ‘Aberystwyth?’  

‘How did you know!?’ He asked, genuinely shocked. I laughed and revealed that I study here too. 'How strange…’ He was only going back for an evening, to have dinner with his family in Birmingham. 

Now, when I see first years checking Trainline as though their lives depend on it, I make sure to intervene before the inevitable panic attack. I was once eighteen and freshly out of school, too. I remember thinking that my life might end if my connecting train left without me. 

‘You’ll be okay,’ I tell them. ‘At least we’re in it together.’