Railways, Children

Before I begin this article, I want to make it explicit that this is in no way a political one, but I will say this: my views on what should be done with the railways are simple. Nationalise them. The east coast had nationalised rail for a while and it was fantastically successful, then it was privatised and things returned to how they are in the rest of the country: nicht gut. It also seems we can nationalise our rails to other countries, but not ours. But for now, allow me to address the real issues on our railways (bar the poor service and ridiculous prices).

Convenience prices.
This applies to service stations regards petrol, but after you've traveled too for far too long on an overcrowded, overheated, human sardine tin, you want a cuppa that'll cost less than two quid. You're not gonna get one.

Poorly signed platforms.
It took me four months in my university city before I learned where platform 3 was. I've seen a lot of train stations and I'm yet to find one that's well signposted and easy to navigate when you first get there.

Nottingham's station.
I can never get out the exit I'm looking for. I've been there so many times and am constantly lost. I know it's all very pretty and such but I always end up at the exit I don't want. A mystery as powerful as the Bermuda Triangle.

London Euston.
a). The station - never got the bloody hang of that thing. Anywhere south of Watford Gap I cling onto my Tube map and look wide eyed, but Euston is a particular navigational hell hole.
b). The recording that announces the stations. She announces "London Euston" with such satisfaction like it's the answer to everything.

Stockport station.
Ideal for cheap trains. Someone on the local YikYak kindly explained the concept of their platform 0, but the fact the others are 1, 2, 3, 3a, and 4, well, that still baffles me.

Sheffield station.
Lovely, organised, one-exit station. Never, ever, ever, got there on time (once three hours late - see below).

Crewe station.
Actually a lovely station, but I once got stuck there for two hours and cried the entire time because no trains were leaving and it looked like I might be stuck there all night,

Tamworth station.
Generally.

Ticket barriers.
Absolute bastards. I keep my train tickets because I am sad and love the reminder of being able to leave at any time. But ticket barriers just pinch them. I'm not about that.

Announcements.
The random announcements you pause your music for in case they're useful are bad, but the thing that annoys me more than anything is the pronunciation of "service". Have a listen next time you're in a train station and you'll hear it.

London Midland trains.
Unnecessary stops. Slow trains. The announcement of all the train destinations is as long as the train journey itself. And they're so overcrowded. They cost £6 in advance and you soon learn why.

Replacement bus services.
No explanation needed.

Virgin trains.
Stoke to London feels like a roller coaster, seriously. The sky is next to you and the ground is above you.

East Midlands Trains.
It takes over fifty minutes for a sub forty minute journey.

I rest my case for now, but I'll be giving a more reasoned argument next week.

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