Thursday, 10 December 2009

Chiltern Railways

Chiltern Railways is again becoming something of a victim of its own success. Travelling on a morning trip from The Hawthorns to London yesterday, I was amazed at just how full the train was, with people standing from after we left Banbury.

It's good to see so much more use of trains generally these days. I'm aware that I seem to have been using them much more lately, not just to and from London, either. Unfortunately, if people's experience of rail journeys is negative (“I had to stand all the way to London”) then they will just head back to their cars, leaving public transport back in the status of being a “distress purchase”. In particular, although I'm used to Chiltern providing only a trolley service (and then only at peak times), I'm surprised that there's no buffet car on Cross Country Trains between Birmingham and Manchester.

But despite all this, rail still has much to commend it. Certainly, I prefer to relax, read, write and watch the changing panorama from a train than to slog up and down the M40 or M6 in the car, which is the ultimate alternative. If there's a station near when I'm going and if there's a train when I want it (two big “ifs”, those!) then as long as the price is roughly comparable (another big consideration) then I'll take it.

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