November 4, 2010 by Jools Stone
I’m delighted to be hosting consumer travel blogging A-Lister Darren Cronian in this guest post on the many shortcomings of the British rail network.
Besides Travel Rants and his local blog My Life in Leeds, Darren provides a great service to the travel blogging community in Europe by co-organising next week’s Travel Blog Camp with Kevin May of tnooz.
This takes place in London on Tuesday, during the big trade exhibition World Travel Market. I’ll be around at both if anyone wants to say hello. Now, over to Darren…
Improving the rail network in UK
From Kuala Lumpur to Poland and Belgium, I have never travelled on such an unreliable train network than that in the UK. Airlines are reducing the number of domestic flights, and from an environmental perspective, that is good news, but in its place needs to be much improved rail links between our major cities and airports.
What would you do to improve the rail network in the UK? Here are a few suggestions to start you off.
Nationalise the rail network
A number of people suggested on Twitter that the government should nationalise the rail network and I have to agree. Brighton-based freelance journalist, Nikki Bayley said, “It should be about providing a public service, not for profit, shareholders take precedence over customers.”
Improve customer service
At the weekend, my journey back to Leeds from London took an extra two hours because of engineer works on the line. Our train was diverted and there was no mention on the East Coast line website or at Kings Cross. Frustration amongst everyone around me set in because we all wanted to get to our destination.
Andy Jarosz who writes 501 Places told me, “The attitude of train staff needs improving because too often they treat customers as the enemy, and ‘service’ is sadly lacking.”
A weatherproof rail network
When I asked people following me on Twitter what improvements need to happen, the majority said we need a rail service that runs all year round. When it comes to the cold weather, wrong type of snow, wet leaves on the track; the network seems to come to a halt. This should not happen and trains should be able to cope with the diverse weather conditions.
My advice on booking train tickets
I travel to London a few times a year on the East coast line and book two months in advance – I book two single tickets, and travel off peak where possible. The later you leave it, the more expensive the ticket will be.
How can we improve the rail network?
So there you go; what would you add to improve the rail network in the UK? How do you think the service compared with other countries? I am interested to hear your experiences travelling on the British rail network, so please add your comments.
Darren Cronian has written about consumer issues in travel since April 2005. Travel Rants is a great place to share your opinions and experiences on various travel discussions, from the latest travel news to hotel rants and travel advice.
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