Tuesday, April 24, 2007

But Trains Can Also Be Good

Yesterday I went by train from London Paddington to Hanborough Train Station in Oxfordshire. Hanborough Station is a few miles North-West of Oxford.

Hanborough has one platform (it is on a single track stretch of line) and the trains I caught to and from London were a couple of carriages longer than the platform. There are not many trains- should there be any in the next couple of hours, this link will provide their details.

Fortunately my reason for visiting the area ran to time and I caught my return train fine- it was two hours until the next one!
  • Both trains were on time.
  • The journey from London Paddington was only 64 minutes, with Hanborough being the 4th stop.
  • With my Annual Gold-Card Discount, my Cheap Day Return ticket only cost £11.35.
  • The were plenty of seats and the "Adelante Class 18" were comfortable.
The ticket machine on the platform wasn't working, but the guard was perfectly happy to sell a ticket.

Now, I don't carry my camera around with me for work, so you will have to imagine the scene...
  • Me, stood on small platform in the middle of nowhere. Nobody else there.
  • Massive train train thunders into platform (two carriages too long for the station).
  • Doors opened by cheery guard right by me. Nobody gets off.
  • I get on.
  • Guard says "Welcome to Hanborough International".

It is lines, stations and services such as this that say so much about traveling around this country by train. Sometimes clearly what is being offered is, indeed, a world class public service. Well done First Great Western.

There are obviously issues about the sustainability of ongoing train services along small country lines. The existence and membership of groups such as the Cotswold Line promotion Group should, in my view, be encouraged.

After a bit of rural idyll, there were Chavs on the Line at Reading, but that is the fault of society not that of the railway company.

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