For anyone stood at Euston station on a friday evening hoping to get on a train out of London it can be hellish. The crowds, the surge of bodies towards a platform and the fear that the reservation system may not be working. This scenario is a regular one for me as I visit family in Preston frequently. I have now taken to leaving work early and using precious holiday time so that I can avoid the crush of people on a friday, and the delays of Sunday travel.
I am a great advocate of train travel, and believe that we really should be investing more as a country into our train lines. Train travel is part of our history, we are after all the creators of the steam engine and once had the greatest train networks in the world making our nation rich. As well as being practical and environmentally friendly, there is also the pleasure of train travel, sitting back and watching the world roll by.
Over the years I have tried to perfect my train journey. Sitting on a Tuesday 12.30pm London Euston to Preston train was one of the best I have had. The train almost empty, meaning peace and quiet, two seats to myself and an easy journey to the food carriage. Obviously travelling on a tuesday is not an option for everyone but there are ways around avoiding the crush. If you can try and leave work a little earlier, perhaps take a half day if possible so you dont have to travel at peak time on a friday. For sundays, take a train a little earlier, trains after 15.00 are always going to be busier than the earlier ones.
Another way of making the journey a little more enjoyable is booking your train early so you can get a cheaper first class ticket, because that extra space and service makes all the difference. If you book between 2-3 months before travel you can usually get a good bargain, and on a sunday quite a few of the train lines have caught onto the first class weekend upgrades so its not just Virgin that offers this service anymore.
What we need is a more reliable rail network, offering the same quality what ever company you travel with so that people want to go by train over their car.