Friday, 13 January 2012
Czech Railways - It Restores Faith In The Train
When you see smiling, smart ticket collectors on a train, similar to the lady in the poster above, I seriously considered taking up trainspotting as a hobby.
Oh how easy it is to run down Britain and the overpriced, overcrowded, oversold and over-almost-about-everything-else rail network. The Czech railways seem to work mostly, apart from the apparent unwillingness to replace light bulbs in many of the carriages.
But I can live with that.
Clean trains. regular. Reasonable prices. Not too crowded, and above all else a train in which you can open the door and windows by yourself. It was a joy to be away from the usual sweaty cigar tubes, regurgitating the stale air and pumping out freezing cold air conditioning.
Even the ticket collectors smile as they come into each compartment. It was reliving the romance of my youth where comfort was paramount on the railways.
It wouldn't work at home. Health and safety would stop doors and windows being opened. And the train companies would never allow compartments as they would dent their profit margins and fewer sardines could be crammed into their tin cans.
The stations in the Czech Republic all seemed to be manned. Staff came out and waved discs. There were porters, interesting shops, good food and coffee.
It actually made the inglorious performance of public transport quite enjoyable.