Susie Rushton: The seductive power of first-class travel

Urban Notebook

Share
Related Topics

What had got into Liam Traynor, the 20-year-old from north London who this week was in the Old Bailey after cheating nearly £20,000-worth in train tickets in eight weeks? According to his lawyer, he was "seduced by the comfort, tranquillity and adventure of first-class travel".

Traynor, who doesn't have a job but rode in the most expensive carriages costumed in the respectability of a pin-striped suit, became obsessed by superior service and wider seats.

And who can blame him? I haven't gone to the lengths that he did – defrauding the hand-held ticket machines used by inspectors – but in recent months, I've got into the habit of trawling Trainline.com, in search of cheap first-class fares. To be affordable, the journey has to be planned several weeks in advance, and I have to commit to a particular train. But the hassle is worth it: the relative peace, the reclining chair with a slightly thicker pile of faux-velvet, the little lamp on the table, the free cup of tea. While air travel has become the cheapest way to get around, with an experience to match, railways still offer some glamour.

Unfortunately, as Traynor himself discovered, the parvenu traveller can very quickly get used to sitting in the carriage at the front (or back). When the day arrives that you find yourself back in standard class (I miss my specified train, say, and wind up having to buy a whole new ticket; Traynor gets caught and has to pay the defrauded fares back out of his trust fund) – boy, does it feel like a bumpy ride.

Curtains for the cosy local

Pubs are closing at a rate of 50 a week – and this weekend I thought our local was going the same way. A corner pub with a shortage of outside seating and a slightly soulless, black-painted interior, I've never felt much affection for The Curtain's Up (there's a theatre downstairs, since you ask), apart from for its convenience, and that it doesn't show sport.

Last week its windows were suddenly papered up, apparently having taken its final bow. Then, yesterday, came the thrilling news that the closure is temporary: a bright pink sign appeared outside the pub announcing that a chain had bought it, and that from early August its swing-doors will lead into a wonderland of eggs Benedict, wine that's not only from Chile and, yes, televised sport. It's archetypal of what's happening to the old boozers across the country: as pricey pints of lager become less popular, the successful publicans aren't the mum-and-dad-run establishments, but award-winning companies that specialise in food and satellite television. "An atmosphere just like your own living room" is what we're promised at The Curtain's Up. The last hope of the British pub is that going out is the new staying in.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?