Previously on Townmouse, your heroine had resolved to tackle her existential despair by heading up to Edinburgh make her puny voice heard at the Climate Day of Action – it’s not much but the mere threat of it seems to have been enough to persuade Rishi Sunak to change his mind and head to COP27 after all.*
So that just leaves the small matter of getting there. The march kicks off at 12 noon and as it turns out there’s a train from Lockerbie that arrives just after 11:30 – perfect. There’s a bus that connects (with a half hour wait, granted) from Bigtown. All about as seamless and convenient as you can expect when you live in a rural forgotten corner of Scotland, and a journey I’ve done a dozen times without a single second thought in the past.
But that was back in the before times. I’ve not taken that train to Edinburgh since Covid changed lots of things, including any sense that a TransPennine Express service might actually get you somewhere as advertised. The last time I had to take the train back from Edinburgh the last one of the evening was abruptly cancelled about 5 minutes after the preceding one had departed and I was left with the replacement bus (actually a taxi) and a long and overly stressful wait at Waverley while the station staff attempted to work out where this might be departing from (the train company has at least put an end to this particular fun by simply removing the – by now largely mythical – later service from its timetable). The mid morning service to Edinburgh is a little more reliable, but when you’ve got two hours to wait for the one after that, it only takes one cancellation to throw your entire day’s plans out of the water.
It’s no wonder that the last three times I’ve headed to Edinburgh it has been by bike or, slightly less epically, by bus. Indeed if the bus weren’t scheduled to arrive 20 minutes after the march has departed, I might have opted for it again, as it may be slow and uncomfortable but it does have the reputation of actually turning up and getting people to Edinburgh. The Lockerbie trains, not so much (there is also the option of taking the slow train to Glasgow and heading across from there, but that will require leaving at silly o’clock).
I think the real stress in all this, is that there’s no real plan B. If the train is cancelled, that’s it. The only option might be to have found out in good enough time to take the bus instead and hope the march sets off late enough that I can catch it. Or to aim for a much earlier train in the hope that they aren’t BOTH cancelled. I suppose I’ll just have to go as planned and hope for the best. But is it any wonder people drive?
I suppose that’s why we march …
* Other explanations are available.