From the BBC News site this week, quoting the Metro:
Metro, a free newspaper largely targeted at commuters, is never short of horror stories from those using Britain’s public transport network.
But in the story of the 07:29 from Brighton to London Victoria, it may have hit the mother lode. The paper says official documents have shown the Southern Rail service was not on time on any of its 240 journeys to the capital in 2014.
One traveller is quoted as saying: “‘I don’t expect to arrive on time. The train always slows down.
“The Brits put up with it but it’s always been the same, trains have always been bad in this country.”
“The new revelation comes only a week after rail commuters – who fork up to £5,000 a year for a season ticket – were forced to pay 2.5 percent more for their fares,” Metro adds.
Southern Rail chief David Scorey says: “I don’t think we’re delivering the level of performance customers expect.”
But he adds that demand for seats and trains makes the network his company operates seem like the M25 at rush hour.
“If there is the most minor of problem or delay on a train, another train can be thrown off its path or slot on the network by a couple of minutes which can sometimes then snowball,” he tells the paper.
“The options of what we can do are quite limited,” he concludes.
The Times editorial imagines an exchange between two Southern Rail employees.
“Is a late train that’s always late actually late?” muses one.
“Yes. Yes it is. 240 times in 2014,” replies the other.
“No, no. I mean like if nobody is there to hear it, does a tree falling in a forest make any sound?” the philosophical railwayman continues.
“Don’t care if it falls in the forest. Only if it falls on the line. And it’s bound to happen, eventually,” his more literally minded colleague responds.
Brighton line commuters may appreciate the Waiting For Godot-like quality of the Times’ sketch while they do some waiting of their own.
Sean – is this your fault?