29th November 2010 | Last Week in Trains

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So the big news last week was the £8bn investment in rail the government has promised over the next decade. I’m not sure ‘sorry’ is what I felt for Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond facing probing questions from one BBC news presenter. But it’s obvious you’re going to face criticism if you say a big number then slap conditions on to it. I suppose if someone told you they were going to buy you a pony for your birthday but you had to wait ten years for its legs to grow, you might be a bit miffed (unless, like me, you’ve never really wanted a pony… but I digress).

What Phillip Hammond was offering wasn’t all bad though. 650 carriages over the next two years with more after. The losers were those who had been waiting for news of the London to Swansea electrification. Their answer remained the same: It’s on hold.

On a lighter note, December’s issue of ‘Today’s Railways’ brings news that SJ (Swedish Rail) has surveyed passengers to find out what annoys them the most. With results as follows:

1. Other people’s screaming children

2. Mobile phone users

3. Ill-tempered passengers

4. Unwashed passengers or passengers with bad breath

5. People making noise in quiet carriages

6. Intoxicated passengers

7. Seat kickers

8. People listening to their music too loudly

9. Passengers not flushing the toilet or leaving the seat up

10. Loud passengers who swear.

Sounds like the things that annoy me at home then…

And lastly, on Friday an elderly woman in a Nissan Micra (what else), blinded by the sunshine, drove through red and white level crossing barriers, ripping them off. The car travelled a further 100 meters before stopping safely. The windscreen was smashed but she was unscathed. The incident happened at Caherdaly, just 500 metres from the village of Ardrahan, Co Galway, on the main Ennis to Galway N18 road. And the driver of the train on its way to the area was alerted with enough time to stop.

Full article in the Irish Independent