Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Man in Seat 61 and timetables

The Man in Seat 61's book is on our shelves and has been used to aid our European travels. Of course the Forsythe Collection at York is packed with European railway timetables and material produced by the British Railways departments concerned with cross channel travel. Now The Man in Seat 61 is the topic of this September's Railway Magazine interview. How fascinating it is. One man has privately taken over the role of a British Rail department. Doubtless some advocates of privatisation and removal of wasteful spend will applaud although my conclusion is somewhat oversimplified. Actually DB Rail and the French Railways have been two of the bigger beneficiaries of this process. The article includes this telling quote "Britain, where train operators often seem reluctant to fully co-operate with each other in terms of information and connections". Yes, what a struggle it is to work out a journey compared with the mid 1980s. In getting to the Tom Rolt symposium which has NRM involvement at Tywyn this year I shall have to confront the vagaries of a long cross country journey by train into Wales. Something I have not done in decades. I have already discovered that The Corbett Arms in Tywyn is not what it was. Thankfully it appears nicer alternatives do exist. To plan my journey I have finally given up on the printed timetable. I do have the full PDF version and I shall next Monday go and see my friends at Chester Le Track who we rely on to fix our long distance train travel nowadays. I shall be taking nearly a ton's worth of smackers in rail vouchers delivered by East Coast in exchange for the last cock up they made when I ventured out on a long distance rail journey. The same Railway Magazine throws out on p10 the prospect that the new ERTMS signalling on the Cambrian is far from what it should be. I hope I come back in one piece.

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