Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Trouble on the tracks

I took the Caledonian sleeper train from London Euston to Glasgow on Sunday night. This is what the train did: it left Euston at 2330 and made its way to just south of Watford Junction, where it waited for twenty minutes. Then it went back south, on a different line, to just north of Kings Cross station. In all it took 94 minutes to take us, effectively, 300 yards from where we had started out. The reason for this was that the West Coast mainline was closed for engineering works, so the train needed to be diverted via the east coast mainline. The only way to get from Euston to the east coast line is to follow the procedure I detailed above. Why, then, couldn’t the train have started out from Kings Cross in the first place? The train staff told me it was because under the current arrangements they are “not allowed to”, because it’s not their station: they must start out from Euston.

I was not inconvenienced as a consequence, I ought to say. I mention simply to demonstrate the utter absurdities that have come as a consequence of privatisation and the split between train companies and Network Rail, and with train companies competing against each other. Re-nationalise!      

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