06 August 2010
Train up to Leeds. Useful thicket of reservation tickets but few people sitting down. Usual stress of looking at tickets, trying to work out if a seat might be free, settling down and then worrying about having to move.
As we sleepwalk towards a book-ahead longer-distance railway, where any flexibility will be very expensive, we are in danger of throwing away one of the key advantages of the railway in our small island. Frequent services give people choice and that is how they like to use the railway. If we go book-ahead it may fill the trains but change the nature of the rail experience forever. Business users may flee as trains are perpetually full.
Best to have a debate about this before it happens.