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

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Early Years Teacher - Jan 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Apple CEO Timothy Cook  

Tim Cook coming out as gay publicly for the first time matters to young men like me

Leigh Dowd
 

Daily catch-up: war on drugs, shocking polls and Balls family news

John Rentoul
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes