RICHARD OVERTON, a foreign exchange dealer, will go down in the annals of British Rail as the one who did it from the Isle of Wight. He is already talked about in awestruck tones by fellow commuters to London, like some modern-day folk hero of the track whose bravery inspires others to rise above the awfulness of their daily commute. For the last seven years his journey to work has looked like this:

5.20am Leaves house, drives half a mile to Ryde pierhead

5.55 Catches catamaran ferry to Portsmouth Harbour station

6.20 Boards connecting train from Portsmouth to London Waterloo

7.52 Arrives Waterloo. Takes Northern Line Tube four stops to Tottenham Court Road

8.10 Arrives at his office in the Centre Point building 'before anyone else is in'

4.30pm Leaves office

4.50 Catches Portsmouth train from Waterloo

6.20 Arrives Portsmouth, takes connecting catamaran

7.00 Home for supper

Mad? Not at all, he says. He has weighed journey-time against quality of life. It involved swapping an overcrowded, shorter railway journey for a longer, kinder journey package which altogether costs pounds 3,400 a year. 'I used to live in Sidcup and take the Dartford Loop. I could never get a seat. It was dirty, there was no guarantee a train would arrive at all. Ugh] Chaos] Also, I know that all my family is safe on the island, the pace of life is slower, and that is a lot of worrying taken off one's mind. So it makes the journey better.'

(Photograph omitted)

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