Welcome to The Future, just Now Flavoured!
Ok, enough, I will stop with the ‘amusing’ living in the future references, but seriously people how cool is this; I am in the Standard Class carriage of a train, in the UK, and I am connected to the internet… For Free!
That’s right Virgin, Cross Country and First Group – For Free!
Hooray for National Express (Rail), and their properly forward looking approach to customer satisfaction; if only I had more reasons to use their services…
Now it’s not all wine and roses, because I am a bit peeved with National Express for other reasons, but I have to be honest that allowing me to blog, catch up with email and find instructions for running an OpenSSH server on the Virtual Windows Machine on my Mac without needing a dongle or a connection to my phone is just marvelous! So on to the bad news…
I am on my way to the wedding of perhaps my oldest friend, Nick (The Vet)… No that’s not the bad news! Anyway, I booked my rail tickets about three weeks ago, and arranged a simple journey to Knaresborough for myself, that would leave me time to get to my hotel, check in, and still make the matching on time. This week, National Express announced planned engineering works between York (my connecting station) and Knaresborough, meaning that the last leg of my journey would need to be made by bus and at a considerably slower pace. Now, instead of arriving at my destination with time to spare to organise my life, I will have to barrel off the replacement bus and into a taxi with all of my luggage and arrive at the venue on the very last minute, which I hate, needing to find a kindly member of staff who can provide me with safe luggage stash space. Having discovered all of this I made the extra effort to arrive at Kings Cross early this morning, in the hope that the staff there would be able to offer me an alternative train at a nominal extra cost, considering the circumstances. How much do you think it was going to cost to modify my itinerary..? Over fifty quid! I could not believe it! They’ve already had the better part of £100 from me for travel over this weekend, and then having frustrated my original booking by announcing changes to the service after I’d booked they are unprepared to offer any kind of reasonable solution.
People wonder why I hate trains, why I get pissed off about MPs getting thousands and thousands of pounds worth of travel paid for as an expense when I don’t get any kind of help with my travel requirements, or why I loathe the fact that every train company in Britain is on the receiving end of millions of pounds worth of subsidies annually, but to me it’s obvious why I loathe trains… They are unreliable, over-crowded, and worse still, grotesquely over-priced – I can fly from Heathrow to Ediburgh with a week’s notice for £40-£50 less than I can travel between London and Edinburgh by train from Kings Cross. Now I don’t know about you, but in my world the idea of domestic air travel being cheaper than traveling by train, particularly considering the massive differential in environmental impact, is seriously fucked up. Still it’s okay, I can use the internet while I’m being ripped off and crammed in…