29 January 2007
Brian Micklethwait

Boris Johnson piles in on the (not actually – we wish!) First Great Western train disaster:

Unbelievable! And even if they did want to lay on more capacity now, the Government interferes at every turn. There are currently 14 officials in the Department of Transport who are working on the railway timetable, and at a recent meeting with angry MPs Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, was seen to be poring over his copy of Bradshaw and musing on whether or not an 0848 service could be added to some branch line, in addition to the 0932. The Secretary of State!

The Government is simultaneously blaming the train companies for the mess, while bleeding them of cash and micromanaging the timetable to destruction, and at a time when passenger numbers have risen by 40 per cent over the past 10 years.

That was up at the Boris blog four days ago, so sorry about the delay linking to it.  But, I don’t suppose things have improved that much since then.

Some interesting comments at Boris’s, of which this was my favourite, from “idlex”:

I got lost on the subway of a Japanese city some 18 months ago, laden with shopping, baffled by the ticket machines and the maps. All of six Japanese people came to my assistance, one after the other, independently of each other, and guided me to my destination. The last one came up to me to simply ask if I needed any further help.

I wonder if that ever happens in London?

Probably not.  In London, we mostly mind our own business.  Which can be scary, I’d be the first to admit.

Most of the rest of the comments are of the “You started it”, “You’ve had time to fix” it, political bickering variety.  Apart from some nincompoop recommending this.


  1. Where I live, I recommend that we freeze the river and all skate to work.

    Posted by dearieme on  29 January 2007 at 11:51 pm

  2. I realise that my thing in brackets at the beginning is ambiguous.  Not the first disaster?  Maybe not.  But what I had in mind was: not the original Great Western.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on  30 January 2007 at 03:12 am

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