This is brilliant. Writing in Saturday’s Guardian, Lucy Mangan has made of list of what Britain’s rail network really needs.
It turns out the What Britain’s Rail Network Really Needs is not ever-so-slightly-faster high speed rail links, but instead Lucy proposes what she calls ‘a bit of tweaking to highlight its true attractions’:
Make it possible to buy an online ticket, without being reduced to weeping tears of blood down the phone to a helpline manned by people rejected by the KGB for being too protective of information.
Sprinkle ramps and porters on to platforms with a liberal hand, so rail travel does not become the sole prerogative of county sportsmen aged 20-34.
Sticker not just “quiet carriages” banning mobile phones but “reading carriages” that proscribe all electronic devices, non-bookish children and noisy eaters and “reverie carriages” with little pillows to cushion heads that wish to rest against windows while daydreams dance within.
I’d add to that list:
Conductors whose job is to ensure that all passengers behave with good conduct, rather than pounce upon the passengers that are accidentally sitting in Standard Plus or on a train five minutes too early for their off peak ticket.
A buffet car that opens when the train sets off and closes when it arrives. Just because we’ve passed Doncaster doesn’t mean I’m not thirsty.