Date: 4th April 2014 at 10:46am
Written by:

For the first time in almost a couple of months I was able to make my first uninterrupted train journey this morning.

Portsmouth is where I was born, and will always be the place I call ‘home’, but I have lived in Devon for some 25-years now, and in recent years Dawlish so this is actually home these days.

This part of the world saw, as most will know I am sure, the rail links virtually destroyed in February but due to tireless around the clock work network rail, and the local community here, have hit the deadline set – well bettered it in fact! – and I rolled back into Dawlish a little after 9am to get off the train at the station for the first time in weeks…

Obviously every other week or so I am looking to make the journey to Portsmouth, but due to work – my work for Vital Football, not just VP of course, needs to be supplemented by part-time work too – I have to travel Plymouth way and back once a week, this involved bus journeys regularly.

Whatever way I was heading out of Dawlish it meant a bus to kick-off.

I have to say that it was pretty emotional coming into town today, the station was packed with locals and many of the workers that had got us back on track, no pun intended, with the place awash with TV and camera crews once again.

What a welcome I got, I have never been greeted with cheers and smiles the like, ok perhaps maybe jeers!

These weeks leading up to today have restored my faith in ‘local community’ first hand.

Of course with Portsmouth Football Club without the efforts of the fans globally we might not be here now, but the local community of Portsmouth also pulled together, and continues to do so, but only visiting for games I cannot really get a true sense of this.

I can imagine, perhaps on a larger scale in Pompey of course, that this community spirit and coming together is similar to what has been witnessed here in Dawlish. So Pompey and Dawlish, both important to my life, probably have more in common than most might think.

Both are now ‘finding their feet’ once again, quite literally in some cases rising from the rubble…

You cannot underestimate what an impact the loss of rail links has had on the economy here in Devon and Cornwall, which would therefore impact on the country as a whole I would think, but it has been an emotional time that thankfully, and all being well for the long-term – with work still to be done to ensure this – things are back to normal, most importantly of all for all the carnage and destruction, as much as livelihoods, homes and lives were impacted no one actually lost theirs as the result of the devastation caused in so few hours in February.

I know most will think little of this has much to do with Portsmouth Football Club and should not be published here on VP, but as I do and it all intertwines in my personal opinion I decided to share a few thoughts. Like I say, on different levels, the similarities can be seen with both quite clearly things mean a lot to me so the whole story does go hand in hand…

My father-in-laws 60th birthday today means that my journey for the game with Hartlepool tomorrow is on hold, but I will set off early on Saturday morning safe in the knowledge, all being well, that I make my first journey Pompey bound in what seems an age without having to board a bus to begin with!

Journey times decreasing and the ease of them are welcomed and as much as I will not look forward to my early start tomorrow, after what will likely be a late one tonight, I look forward to this journey for a game, which I am really looking forward to I must add, being made by rail.

Now I just have to hope not to hear the dreaded ‘we are sorry to announce’…

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