Dear Mr Train Company Man

So I’m finally on my way home and a holiday to Las Vegas is beckoning me, but before I can think about that I need to traverse the country and fight my way back home to Kent. What better time to discuss public transport? Especially after asking an attendant on the platform for some assistance and his reply was a blunt “what do you want?” It’s a good start to the journey.


I’ll start by saying that the train companies in England are largely evil. I went to a comedy night starring the wonderful Tom Wrigglesworth earlier this year and his entire show revolved around the shocking way the customer is treated by rail companies and have to put up with because we don’t have a choice.

There is very little fairness or choice when it comes to travel by rail in the United Kingdom. The only way of getting a reasonable price is by booking online weeks in advance. But 70% of the time, you do not have the luxury of forward planning. A ticket booked online through an automated Internet service may cost £17, but try buying one on the day and it costs £40. Go figure.

And have you seen the price of first class tickets? £119 from Leicester to London (that’s booked in advance). Yet they still insist on having several first class coaches on every train despite never filling them. You pay treble the price and all you get is the pleasure of sitting with other rich morons (they have to be morons to pay that price) and have your own table and get a cup of tea or something (probably instant crap). Now I could list several things that £120 could be better spent on. For instance, rather than taking a trip to London, you could fly to Spain and enjoy the sunshine and casual racism. One of my trips to London was so busy that in every coach, the walkway was filled with standing people who had paid for a seat, yet there were three empty first class coaches. Something’s not right.

So that’s rail travel roundly blasted. Time to lighten the mood with some suggestions to any rail companies who read this and let them know what might make their ticket prices value for money. Consider this an open letter to all the rail companies.

Suggestion one. Having paid for a seat, I not only want an actual seat, but I want a seat with a built in back massager and a little control pad on the arm to become master of my comfort throughout the journey.

Suggestion two. If you insist on charging sky-high prices, could you at least tell you staff who come round and check our tickets to smile and maybe try and look less suicidal?

Suggestion three. A little TV on the back of the seat in front might be nice like on a plane. Maybe include DAVE, Sky Sports and a few naughty channels to peruse at my leisure. I realise massaging chairs and naughty channels is a risky mix, so maybe a simple hand woven curtain made from golden spider silk should separate each seat.

Suggestion four. Drinks holders. You know that little indent on the fold down tables that are meant for drinks? They don’t work. Cinema style cup holders would be lovely.

Suggestion five. The scenery can sometimes be a little dull, so if you wouldn’t mind replacing it with something a bit more exciting. I think dragons flying across a magical holographic landscape will suffice.

Suggestion six. A disco ball in every carriage.

Suggestion seven. My own sexy personal attendant to see to my every whim isn’t too much to ask. After a long walk to the station, you need someone to give you a foot rub.

Suggestion eight. The food on your trolley service is rubbish; please install a Dominoes Pizza on every train that can deliver to your seat.

Suggestion nine. I like Jackie Chan. Could you arrange for him to sit next to me rather than some chunky, smelly old guy?

Suggestion ten. Journeys can get a little boring, if you could alter the tracks to incorporate some roller coaster elements along the way it might spice up the dull experience a little.

I don’t think these things are really too much to ask. The prices you charge should mean I get at least nine of the ten suggestions on my next journey. I say only nine because I understand that getting your staff to smile may prove difficult.

One response to “Dear Mr Train Company Man

  1. Ok, I missed this when you first wrote it. I properly lol’d (is that a verb? ;) )at this article.

    I used to work in London & used to commute an hour and a half each way, so I know your misery with trains. Mind you tubes are worse…

    But I can share a few funny stories about people sitting next to me – from people vomitting on my feet (maybe not so funny) and men fighting over mobile phones…

    Once again good article :)

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