I’m not one of those people who thinks that the trains in Britain were far better before privatisation – they certainly were not – they were much worse; just like TV in the 70s and 80s, the clothes, public services, schools, museums…. Most things are much better now. But our expectations have risen. So when I try and contact Cross Country Trains by phone because their website does not allow me to reserve a place for my bike at the same time as my seat (which the very same website tells me I must do) and I get transferred to another continent who cut me off after having made me wait while they “check the back office”, am I right to be annoyed? Probably. I gave up on Cross Country Trains after having rung back and being told that not one train on either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd August is capable of taking my bike (I just don’t believe this! All Cross Country trains have bike compartments and as the trains are very short, I cannot imagine that it is impossible to get me and my bike from Reading to Berwick-upon-Tweed on any of those days…). Stop! This is becoming a rant. Just one last thing: I now know why they are called Cross Country Trains – and it has nothing to do with them going diagonally up and down the country.
But I have bought a first calss single ticket from Kings Cross to Berwick leaving at 9.30am on Saturday 1st August with National Express East Coast. First class? That’s a bit extravagant Andrew! Well, no. The logic of 21st Century train travel in the UK dictates that it was cheaper to do that than buy a standard class single ticket. I shall spend 4 hours in the lap of luxury in my cycling gear in first class. There is one downside to first class on a train: usually, I suppose in the expectation that most people who take bikes on trains don’t go in first class, the place where you can store them is at the other end of the train…
Just to make me feel better, here are some seriously pissed off train users 🙂