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Public Services – or not?

With the utter failure of various commercial entities trying to run our Eastern rail, the names on the trains have once again been changed  – this time to the singularly unimaginative “east line”.  It is lunchtime on Sunday and having had our very expensive first class tickets checked while standing in a queue in the station, we’re now sitting on the train having them checked again.

In the background I can hear a member of staff uttering “I don’t make the rules” as yet another disgruntled passenger fires off a salvo. In the space of 5 minutes we’ve been deafened by the Tannoy, followed by another message buried in static.. and now we’re told there will be no trolley service due to the over-crowding (we’ll it beats “leaves on the line” as an excuse”). The first class compartment is packed – this is not going to be a pleasant 3-hour journey to Newcastle.

It worries me immensely that on the one hand many of us have worked our entire lives to maintain a level of comfort and yet our various public services live in another world completely and simply don’t see our comfort as being important. If the car as a method of transport fails in the future due to fuel shortages or climate change dictats – are we to suffer being treated like cattle as we’re forced onto public transport? The cost at worst of getting from London to Newcastle on the train would take most budget holidaymakers to France AND BACK…indeed it would cover a month’s car payment for many -  and VASTLY exceeds the combined fuel and depreciation costs of a typical motor-car despite what you might expect to be economy of scale…  and yet I cannot remember the last time I got on the train WITHOUT a Tannoy apology for SOMETHING they’ve gotten wrong… and that was in commercial hands… goodness knows what delights we’re in for now that the government has it’s grimy hands the trains again.

As we leave the train late afternoon, the staff have left the trolley to one side of the door and a bag of waste to the other – handy for them, about as ill-placed as is possible for those leaving the train, as a fellow passenger pointed out to me!

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