10 crappy things about getting the train…

1. The amazingly expensive fairs at peak time. One minute it’s a mind boggling 70 quid from Manchester- which is considered ‘cheap’, the next it’s at least triple that- wow! what do you get for that? is everyone sat on thrones and having their feet licked and grapes pealed for them by slaves? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

2. The ‘Euston rush’ The mad dash for the first cheap train at 7 O’ clock is common knowledge amongst the long suffering travellers. The ‘stupid price’ fare hike, as they are commonly know amongst the weary passengers occur at rush hour between 4 and 7 on weekdays- although, of course, these times vary. This results in this insane bottleneck of passengers at 7 O’clock sprinting across the station trying to get a seat on the train. Often the train is so full that you get to stand for big chunks of the journey- well worth £70.00.

3. The train not turning up and having to get a coach. If I wanted to get the coach, then I would pay a lot less and get the fucking coach…I didn’t pay all that money to end up winding up and down country roads driven by a driver who is quite clearly lost.

4. the Virgin trains magazine- it’s really boring and in its city by city breakdown of what’s happening in the UK seems to think that Brighton is a major conurbation along with Leeds or Manchester.

5. Having your ticket checked over and over on the same trip– as you get on the platform, as you get on the train, when you are on the train and when you get off at the other end- look the crooks are not the passengers, the crooks are the people running this country…

6. First class carriages – come the revolution and that’s going. The train is packed, babies are screaming people are standing in the aisles, it’s hot and sweaty and everyone is pissed off. The first class carriages are all empty- what is the logic in that? open them up for the people before we get pissed off with you saying ‘Let Them Eat Cake’…

7. The heating is always full blast right into April. If I wanted to be a oven baked Turkey I would be one and if I wanted to sit in a sauna I would take all my clothes off…

8. Tannoy feedback screeech, whiiiine…the train will be mwanaananananammmmumble drone (muffled speech). For fucks sake fix those tannoys will you!

9. rail enquiries does anyone who gets employed to give train info on the phone have a map on the office wall? or any sense of the way the UK is laid out? or any idea of the train times? help!

10. The complex fares The fares are still complex and byzantine and so confusing that you could quite easily end up buying the wrong ticket…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. The new platform barrier at KX – a nightmare. Don’t expect the barrier staff to have a clue which platform your train departs after you’re through the barrier. If they are in a nice mood they might let you back into the station from the platform to look at the depature board. Customer Service eh?

    Drive to Watford – THEN take the train into London.

  2. Train fares are utterly insane. Recently I was coming home from Glasgow on a Sunday without an advance ticket, so I had to pay the full on-the-day fare. Now there’s no direct train service Glasgow to Manchester on Sunday mornings, you have to change at Carlisle, Preston or Lancaster. Decided to stop off and see a mate in Lancaster on the way down, and discovered that buying a ticket to Lancaster, then buying a ticket to Manchester from Lancaster when I got there, actually cost £17 LESS than buying a ticket from Glasgow to Manchester… on exactly the same trains… Talking about it to friends I’ve discovered similar completely legal “blags” occur all over the country as a result of anomalies in pricing. So if you are ever travelling anywhere at short notice and the on-the-day price is too expensive, it can be worth having a play around on sites like thetrainline and costing up different sections of the journey.


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