I see The Telegraph is asking if train travel has got better since 1997. And the replies are filled with the usual complaints about delays, fare increases and overcrowding1.
For what it’s worth I think things have got a lot better in recent years - certainly in terms of the service. Punctuality, cleanliness, customer information, lighting, the general state of the stations, ticket issuing all seem better.
A few weeks ago I even bought a Travelcard and took a tour round some of the lines round London just to check that we in the South West weren’t just receiving special treatment. I found that things seemed to be vastly better everywhere I went3.
Of course, this is just my opinion and readers may well have their own.
My real beef is with the cost2. Subsidy to the rail industry is estimated at £6bn. In the last days of BR it was about £1.5bn.
1. Doesn’t it seem rather bizarre that we manage to get complaints about overcrowding and high prices? My view is that in many cases fares are too low but there you go.
2. Oh, and seating
3. Or, still at the rare high standard of five years ago.