Everyone loves a trip by train, but with today’s trains often so expensive, it’s becoming a rare treat. Of course, many believe the issue is that the trains are now in private hands, so this means fares has become so expensive, often it’s cheaper to go by car or even plane. You can find discounts using Network Railcards for certain times.
Read rules and tips for train travel with pets. Animals must be kept on leads or in carriers, and bring plenty of water and treats, to keep them happy and relaxed. Pets are not allowed on seats or escalators (they must be carried) and never allow animals near train.
Split My Fare offers a way to get money off reserved tickets. Say you were travelling from London to Glasgow. Instead of buying a direct ticket, often it works out cheaper to buy 5 tickets rather than all-in-one). Just enter your destination and this site works out the price and can give a pass to print the tickets at the station. Also read whether travelling First Class is worth it.
Join the campaign to Stop HS2, a disastrous high-speed rail project that will kill 22,000 wildlife per year when complete, based on international comparisons. We don’t need high-speed trains for rich commuters, we need better rolling stock and updated trains in areas that don’t have them. Already the project has destroyed England’s second-oldest pear tree in Worcestershire, and destroyed whole swathes of Buckinghamshire countryside and wildlife.
GO-OP! is England’s first community rail line, developing routes using a program that will see the public own its own trains (a bit like a community shop but for trains). The first route aims to connect Somerset to Wiltshire, focusing more on areas with poor train travel, rather than (like HS2) always focusing on London.
If travelling to Europe, Interrail offers good passes, either for one country or one pass to travel through several countries.
give our train stations a makeover
Although many of our train stations are housed in beautiful buildings, who decided that all of them should have the same branches of WH Smith, Costa Coffee and Greggs Bakers? In the beautiful film Brief Encounter (filmed at Carnforth, Cumbria), the lovely tea room is still in existence, as tourists flock to remember a bygone age. Do yourself a favour and take your own lunch and drinks with you, until all train stations go back to providing nice places to drink and eat, while you wait for your train.
The problem is that these days, the trains, tracks and stations are all private, meaning that often this can cause accidents, but on a less serious but still depressing note, profit is the main motive, rather than the pleasure of taking the train. In some areas, train stations almost have a monopoly on the prices they charge. Some people have unsuccessfully campaigned for free water fountains in train stations, but the powers that be refused, as they would not be getting high rents from coffee chains, if people were hydrated for free.
Making areas pedestrianised and linking bus stops to train stations would help, as would giving licenses to indie cafes and shops, over all the main usual chain store players. In Portland (Oregon), volunteers walk disabled and blind people through confusing platforms until they are confident, and all the train stations and platforms have information in Braille. Having accessible toilets also helps, especially when people have to wait a long time for train delays.
And with all the wonderful graphic designers around, why are all schedules (trains and buses) so badly designed and confusing? Surely someone can redesign them? It’s confusing enough for most of us, let alone for people with bad eyesight or mild dementia etc. Look at what Canva offers as a sample template, someone could surely fill in the information to make schedules easier to read?