Possible Rail Doom

The Company are sending me to a site in Hastings tomorrow, and since I don’t drive I am going to have to brave the train. Why they are sending me I’m not sure, I think nobody else is mug enough. There’s no overtime, and I can’t take hours in lieu so I’m supposed to make it there and back within 8 hours, and since the journey takes 2 hours what they expect me to achieve is dubious. Every site apparantly has to send someone or there will be ‘trouble.’ They only rung me today (my day off) to ask me to go so I haven’t had much time to plan.

Anyway, the simplest journey requires 3 changes, but needs more than one ticket. The most complicated only takes 1 ticket but requires 5 changes. Go figure. I’m going to try and get on one with only four changes. This is all made far more complicated by the awfulness of the National Rail website. Attempting to print out a few options in case events take over, I ended up cancelling (just in time) a whopping 15 pages! This was just the outbound journey. The return journey wanted to print out 17, so I’ve been reduced to copy-and-pasting into a text file and printing that. No option for ‘printer-friendly’ pages or anything, just an option to send me a text message (for 25p!) that only carries the 3-letter codes for each station and no platform information. The enquiry process is incredibly long winded, and at the end only shows you one price, returns are not shown, and since I only found out today that I’m going there’s no time to buy an advance ticket. Not that I could have, that section of the website didn’t appear to be working.

I wish I could rant about how much better (or worse) it was under BR, but unfortunately I am too young to remember. I have a feeling I could have just bought one ticket back then but I’m not even sure about that. Had websites been around I’m sure it would have been worse…

The main thing I am wondering is how much easier it would have been if we had a proper free market for rail instead of licensed monopolies. Not knowing much about how the rail system worked prior to nationalisation I’m not really qualified to make a guess.

If I survive I will post further musings tomorrow…


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