It's no way to run a railway with all this confusion about the future of the West Coast line.
The answer, of course, is to put the system back into public ownership. Have it run by professional train people and not money people. If the Italians, French and Spanish can do it, so can Scottish Rail. While we're at it, here are a few suggestions of how we can choo-choo back to the future:
n Cut prices by re-introducing third class. Do you remember third class? Me neither. Apparently it was all wooden seats with passengers in the luggage racks. Travellers might also be accommodated on the train roof like in India. The weather would be a problem, not to mention overhead electric wires.
n More onboard toilets so Billy Connolly fans can hide in the lavvy when the ticket man comes.
n A facility for paying fares with jam jars. I may be getting confused here with cinemas of yesteryear but the recycling idea is sound. Ginger bottles at least as legal tender.
n Bring back the guard's van. A place for people to put their bikes. Or for third-class passengers to go when carriages are full. British Rail could get back into the delivery business. We can resurrect the story about the greyhound in transit which escaped at Kilwinning station and was pursued up the platform by the station master shouting stoap that dug, it's a parcel.
n Bring back the man with the wee flag to wave the train away. Totally pointless these days but nice.
n Bring back platform tickets that used to allow you to go and see your auntie in Corby for tuppence.
n Bring back a simple fare structure which is affordable without having to book a Super Apex for the second Tuesday in November next year. Make the bus pass valid on trains.
n Bring back a few steam trains so weans can stand on a bridge and get a row from their mammy for coming home covered in soot and with an eyeful of cinders.
n Re-introduce sideways carriages with no corridors but doors where you lowered the window using a big leather strap. Ideal for children to terrify parents by hingin oot the windae. And for fugitives from the law to climb outside and escape the polis as the train goes over the Forth Bridge.
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