Monday, January 04, 2010

The Noughtie side of Commuting

With all of these "that was the decade that was" lists that have flooded the the news-stands, the airwaves and just about every other medium (and I'm not expecting it to finish just because the decade has), it occurred to me that there is one glaring omission. No one has yet turned the lense on one of the most basic British activities, and its "progress" (or lack thereof) in the last ten years. And so it falls to the Happiest man on the rails to fulfill this important role which the mainstream media, with its unfathomable fixation with celebrities, hairstyles and fashion, has passe over.

The decade began with fatal train crashes at Hatfield and Potters Bar. Not the most auspicious of starts for a purportedly light-hearted blog, but not something that can be ignored. Then we had the Railtrack fiasco, widespread (and inevitable) media coverage of the state of the nation's railways and the supposed fact that we were placing our lives at risk every time we stepped on a train. There was also the Tube derailment at Chancery Lane, the subsequent closure of the Central Line, and a Virgin Trains rail crash in Scotland. And of course, we had the events of 7th July 2005. Hum hum, I'm definitely not in joke territory here. Seems a bit crass to start cracking gags about the food/toilets/fares/etc. Still, a comedy blog's gotta do what a comedy blog's gotta do.

On the plus side, we had the launch of Virgin Trains (I think that was 2000), which provided plenty of laughs (laugh a minute, actually, which was faster than most of the trains). There was the launch of the Oyster Card, the grand opening of St Pancras, the collapse of GNER (privatisation's Emperor's new clothes moment), and of course numerous sterling contributions to the annals of tragicomedy from Eurostar.

Gosh what a busy decade. This is going to need more than one post. Anyone else got anything?


At 4:44 PM GMT , Blogger Laura said...

how about eurostar in december last year with people being stuck in trains i n the tunnel, frozen electrics and whatnot?

hmm, the failures do seem to be outweighing the successes in public transport (english or french!)

At 5:21 PM GMT , Blogger JD said...

Worry not, Laura. My next post will detail a decade's achievements in railwayland.


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