LETTER: Railway success stories

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The Independent Online
SEVERAL of the anecdotes in your "Great Railway Disaster" series date back far longer than any preparations for privatisation, such as the restriction on breaking the outward journey of a Saver ticket and the omission from local timetables of certain long-distance trains stopping at Watford, etc.

True stories resulting from moves toward privatisation include benefits for travellers. For example, an acquaintance who is wheelchair-bound tried just a few years ago to make a local journey involving a change of train but, because of lack of staff co-operation, had to be carried across the tracks by a relative. This summer he was given every assistance as each station telephoned his next port of call. First-class day return tickets have been re-introduced on some former InterCity routes and at least one now offers a full breakfast service on a Saturday.

Many companies offer far more information than previously: Anglia Railways' timetable contains 18 pages of guidance, including a detailed plan of Liverpool Street station, details of catering available on specific trains and costs of a wide range of tickets for many journeys including some out of the region. East Coast offers a clear leaflet detailing which trains are restricted for Saver/Supersaver tickets and several companies have arranged special offers to attractions within their region.

Already that "dead hand" - not only of BR but also of the unions - is being removed. An awareness that passengers come before jobs is clearly emerging. It would be helpful to the nation, the environment and the railway employees, if, just occasionally, some attention were given to the good news.

Jeremy R Lucas

Colchester, Essex