The great rail inquiry disaster: Letter

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The Independent Online
Sir: Saturday, King's Cross ("Rail gets its lines crossed", 16 October). Attempt to get copy of London to Cambridge winter timetable, which began two weeks ago. None left: "They only sent us a few. You'll have to get one from Cambridge."

Monday, Brighton: Manage to get timetable for trains out of Brighton. For timetable, read "timetables". Instead of one, I now have to have four.

Monday, Cambridge: Discover why I have to walk 200 yards from station to taxi rank. Taxi driver tells me Railtrack tried to triple British Rail's charges for picking up outside station.

Tuesday, Cambridge. Phone local train inquiries - referred on to national number. Phone national number, recorded voice tells me: "No information available to callers from London" (but I'm phoning from Cambridge!). Referred on to a London number; permanently engaged. In desperation, phone old Network South East information number; get through after five-minute wait.

Yes, Sir George Young, you have every right to your complacency. Privatisation is succeeding more triumphantly than anyone could have expected. By starving travellers of information and throwing multiple inconveniences in their paths, your fragmented and incompetently managed rail services will soon achieve the ultimate in privatisation - a mass retreat to the private car.