Birthday treat for Dereham woman turns into epic journey due to snow
PUBLISHED: 16:32 21 January 2013 | UPDATED: 17:42 21 January 2013
A Dereham woman has described how a trip to London to celebrate her birthday ended with a seven-hour journey home due to the snow.
Jenny Tullis, 45, went to the capital with her daughter Lauren, 21, on Sunday to see a West End show.
The journey down from King’s Lynn was not without its problems and they had to take bus to Ely due to engineering works. But it was when they headed back to Norfolk in the evening that things went from bad to worse.
They got to King’s Cross station in London, hoping to get the 6.15pm train to Cambridge. But all Cambridge-bound trains had been cancelled.
Jenny, who works for Hood, Vores and Allwood solicitors in Dereham, and Lauren, who is a hairdresser in Holt, were told by ticket office staff to get the 6.10pm train to Hitchin and then get a waiting bus to Cambridge.
Jenny said: “We got on the train, only for an announcement to be made that it wasn’t stopping at Hitchin. They then told us to get the 6.23pm train to Hitchin to get the waiting connecting bus.”
The problems continued at Hitchin.
“Everyone was just standing in the car park being told nothing. One man was wandering around who vaguely knew what was going on, but was only talking to the people at the front of the queue.”
Jenny estimated there were about 170 people waiting, and they were told four coaches were “on their way.”
An hour later three coaches turned up.
“It was a mad scramble as everyone wanted one of these golden seats that was going to get them home.
“The three buses filled instantly, leaving myself and Lauren and probably 30 others standing there.”
Jenny said a man told them that another coach was on its way - and they then heard trains were starting up on the Cambridge line again and one was coming at about 8.30pm.
She continued: “That train turned up about 8.50pm and was absolutely jam packed from King’s Cross. Somehow us 30 or so managed to squeeze in the already heaving carriages. It was very hot and really not pleasant. People were trying to make a joke of it which was really the only way to be!
“After a stop in the middle of nowhere waiting for a signal to go ahead and stopping at Letchworth, Royston and Baldock, we got to Cambridge.”
They then had to hop on the train going to Norwich, which stopped at Ely.
There was a bus there and they were supposed to go direct to King’s Lynn - but they had to get on a bus that stopped at Littleport, Watlingham and Downham Market, before arriving in Lynn after a one hour 40 minute journey.
“The roads were not too bad and he was a good bus driver.”
And they then faced a tricky end to the long journey with difficult driving conditions as they arrived back in Dereham at 1am.
“It was good to get home!” Jenny said.