Monday 24th January | Last Week in Trains

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There was some hilarious news in @TheFactCompiler’s blog recently, if you want to go and check it out. But I’ve got amusing angles on otherwise mildly mundane news. Yippee. Though I’m sort of glad rail news isn’t filled with headlines like ‘Godzilla tramples huge section of London to Manchester line – passengers lucky to be alive.’ It’d take away from the reassuring fact train travel is the safest means of transportation.

Anyway, I digress… Last week, the BBC reported that hundreds of station car parks have seen fares go up by twice the rate of inflation – East Midlands, First Capital Connect, First Great Western and South-West Trains all raised prices by 8% though not for all stations. They also stated that, ‘More than 50 stations operated by the South Eastern rail franchise have increased charges from £3 to £3.50 this month, an increase of 16%.’

But, do not panic yet – happily, on Saturday, The Guardian’s Travel insert had an online & mobile section which listed in its ‘quick tips.’ What a brilliant idea – you can search a location and see what parking spaces people who live nearby are offering for less – which’ll save you money a lot of the time.

The Telegraph helpfully brought us news they had found the busiest commuter train in the country. ‘The 07.42, operated by First Great Western, carried on average 326 passengers more than the train’s capacity of 533.’ The figures come from 2009, however. So I assume the numbers have probably changed, in fact the report goes on to say some of the problem has been tackled… and a ‘snapshot survey’ is unlikely to be wholly reliable. Some of the other points raised are worth a look – such as Theresa Villiers’ statement that more than 2100 additional carriages are planned to roll out at some point and not to forget the to-be-completed Thameslink and Crossrail.

Photo: PA

Finally, reported the express route from North to South Wales is to be given additional investment of  £3.5 million from the Welsh Assembly. This means services will increase to two returns a day and Arriva Trains Wales can lease additional rolling stock to operate the extra services from Cardiff to Holyhead.