i live in Kontich, Belgium. yesterday, in my search for work, i had an interview with a company in Groot-Bijgaarden, near our capital. since I don't have a car, and i wouldn't trust my own driving in the past weather anyway, i went by train. Kontich to Groot-B. is about 40 kilometers in total. the train trip i would take was from Kontich to Mechelen, then from Mechelen to brussels North station, then from Brussels North to Groot Bijgaarden station. 3 different trains, would take about 1.5 hours from station 1 to station 4. if you want to check this on google maps, the names I gave are the ones mentioned on the map of Belgium.
I thought this would be yet another job trip. it turned out differently. I encountered EVERY SINGLE ISSUE that could plague railroad traffic:
1) I was dropped off at Kontich Station by a friend. when i arrived, the train I had to take was canceled. luckily, my friend could drive me directly to Mechelen.
2) at Mechelen, i could take my train with 2 minutes delay, even though the train i took in the end was scheduled to arrive 10 minutes earlier than the train i was planning to take.
3) the train i took then decided to stop for 10 minutes in between the first and second stop, and when it arrived at the second stop (Brussels North, the one i needed to disembark), the doors wouldn't open. because of this, i missed my connecting train, even though I had a 15 minute buffer for delays.
4) the next train that went directly to where I needed to go was an hour later. I *could* take a train sooner and get a connecting train in the next station, but that one ALSO was 12 minutes late, meaning i'd likely not make my connection in time.
5) finally, the train I took switched tracks 3 minutes before it arrived, meaning i had to move from platform 1 to platform 3.
in the end, i was 45 minutes late for my job interview. they were very understanding about it though, since the NMBS (belgian railway organizers) has a tendency of messing up on days with this kind of weather. however, that doesn't mean it's okay for them to just horribly mutilate the roster and leave the traveler in such stress. it actually made me feel somewhat ill that it went this badly.
I'm really thinking about filing a complaint, because while it was cold and the snow hadn't melted yet, there was no new snow and they should have had plenty of time to clear the tracks enough for at least some decent travel.
do you have some similar experiences with public transportation?