Thursday, 3 January 2008

Trains Misery: West Coast Main Line To Reopen

The headline says it all. The one thing worse than the West Coast Main Line being shut is the prospect of having to travel on it.

While I was bombing up and down to Cumbria on that line, the service truly was terrible. Yet, even then, it was frequently engineering work or other technical issues rather than any failure on the part of Virgin. It was a traumatic experience: week after week, arriving hours later than scheduled.

The last couple of times I have travelled between Glasgow and London, I must say that the service is much improved. I love the new trains that Virgin has, but the problem remains: decades of poor planning of the infrastructure mean that the line is not, in the 21st Century, safe enough to allow these new trains to hit top speeds. It is astonishing to reflect on the fact that we invented railways, just as we have invented most of the technology that makes our lives easier. Where has the innovation and genius gone? Do we not produce intelligent people any more, or are there other reasons why nothing works?

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