This is the age of the train….

I wish I was back in 1976…

Sometimes I wish I was Sam in Life on Mars, stranded back in 1976, well I know it was 1973, but what’s three years between friends?


The High Speed Train is now over thirty years old, introduced in 1976, they have been travelling at 125mph across the UK for over three decades (except when I am in a hurry and then there are speed restrictions which means we crawl along at a walking pace).

High Speed Train

First Great Western, now I know on this blog I have thrown a lot at First Great Western, and when I say throw I mean in words via this blog and not literally throw physically at the train as that wouldn’t be very nice (and is probably illegal as well) and is something I wouldn’t do and you shouldn’t either, no matter how many times you find the train going nowhere or really slowly. So where was I, ah yes, so I have whinged and moaned about First Great Western a fair bit, but compared to some other train operators, naming no names, cough Virgin Trains, cough, First Great Western travel for me has on the whole been pretty good. Being a typical consumer, I write when I have something to complain about, not when everything is going well.

Well, yes this is a complaint, I have noticed (apart from on my route) that First Great Western have been updating their high speed trains, taking the thirty year old beasties and stripping them down, giving them a bit of a repaint and completely redoing the inside.

Yes they do look okay, well I am not a fan of pink are you, on the outside, and they do look nice on the inside, mauve is not my colour, but I guess it appealed to the focus group.

First Great Western Seats

However my compaint (getting there) is that I try and work on a train, well try and write on a the train using a laptop which is work in some respects and not in others; on the older unrefurbished trains there were a reasonable amount of tables, so I could get out my 15” PowerBook and get writing. The problem I have with the refurbished carriages is that there are only two tables in a carriage and therefore getting a seat with a table is nigh on impossible, so I have to use these airline style fold down table thingy, which is, well not conducive to a comfortable writing position. I can’t even use my mouse, and don’t get me started on using my trackpad and the problems with that.

Okay so I have written this on the train, using one of the wobbly floppy certainly not large enough to hold my PowerBook airline tables, and I have written quite a bit, nearly four hundred and seventy words (well it’s over now that I’ve written four hundred and seventy, adding this has pushed it over five hundred) according to the word count in my word processor. But writing this is certainly not as comfortable as saying sitting on a soft leather chair at a desk, but I guess I wouldn’t find that on a train!

Okay I will say one positive thing about the refurbishment, First Great Western have finally come round to the concept that we live in a connected world and some of us use laptops, mobile phones and other electrical devices on a train (well have you read the First Great Western magzaine, it makes inflight magazines look high brow). First Great Western have now provided us with power sockets. Which is great, however, as every train I have recently taken on the First Great Western network has been on the older unrefurbished (is that a word, or should I have just written furbished) carriages, I have not known about the sockets, so I left my power cable at home. So with 51% of my battery remaining and no internet access, I should really try and finish this entry and start to read the paper instead.

Do you think I should point out to First Great Western that some train operators provide free wireless on their trains, or do you think that would be pushing it?”

4 thoughts on “This is the age of the train….”

  1. Now I have just a little more time, I can add to the debate about trains, train design and train travel. I quite like GNER but most of their stock is old and when the new franchise takes over, it will have a renewal job on its hands.
    Unlike you James, I prefer the airline seat design of most Virgin trains. They do have the odd table, but the table prevents me from stretching my legs – I always feel cramped and miserable when sat at a table (and there’s always someone with his iBook and papers spread out anyway!)
    I bought my small Toshba especially for knee work in the airline seat and always carry a spare battery – like the wise man suggested

  2. I wish we could bring those days back. And i wish they could bring that Advert Back. This is the Age of the Train. And i wish it was back in the Charts as well the song. Now i never heard it on the Radio before in my Life. Not only that. They could change it to This is the age of the Gaileo. The person who use to know Astromomy in the olden days. If Jimmy Saville doesin,t do This is the Age of the Train anymore. Why not get a Replacement.

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