Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Trains, Beer And Automobiles

Is it just me or does it feel like the apocalypse is nigh? (Just me then. As usual.)

I cycle into the hurricane-force wind and through torrential rain yesterday teatime to make my usual train home, arriving sopping wet at Inverness station to discover all services had been 'suspended' due to the weather.

I soon learned the train from Aberdeen had hit a tree on the track near Huntly. My poor pal Totally Green Tania was left to fend for herself (and her bike) and eventually made it home to the Highlands after many, many hours.

As I stood in Inverness station creating a huge puddle around my feet I could hear tannoy announcements barking about cancellations and suspensions, two ambulances screamed down Academy Street and a rescue helicopter flew overhead. And then someone mentioned Iceland had blown another volcano.

Through all this chaos who came to the rescue? A motorist. An anti-regulation, climate change sceptic frequent flier of a motorist who happens to be a friend. If I had my smugometer with me its reading would have been off the chart had I pointed it at him. Anyway, I was grateful for the lift home, although when we arrived we noticed the power was off.

The train into Inverness was cancelled this morning. Has one tree really felled an entire rail service? It seems a poor show to me and gives succour to those who love the car.

Actually, at the weekend I was on the verge of going off the train. Yet again I had to endure a journey in mobile pub. What is it with the trains from Aberdeen? They're routinely crammed with bladdered football neds, reeking rig workers or screeching hen parties. The train into Inverness on Sunday morning (Sunday morning!) was festooned with a singing, swearing crowd whose tables were littered with whisky miniatures.

The train home to Nairn at 6pm was similarly clarted with empty cases of beer. (As my pic here shows.) Trains are enclosed public spaces and in the same way as you're not allowed to smoke on them and you're not allowed to swig booze in the High Street I fail to see why these rules don't apply on the rails.

I recall a few years back asking Scotrail if they had any plans to change their alcohol policy. No was the very short answer.

If we're to encourage people to use public transport we must make it more attractive. The Scotrail franchise must be up for renewal soon. Time for a rethink? Or should I rename my blog Green Prude?

Anyway, must go. It's started to snow...

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