News of train travel these days seems constantly far from encouraging, unless you are so blessed you don't need a train to get to work in time.
Today the industry offers another face, rather removed from insufficient staff and brand new timetables that don’t work. It's good news in two areas.
|Easy riding ... Taking the strain out of taking a bike on a train.|
If you cycle, National Rail has encouragement and now spells out the fine print. Taking a bike on a train would be very useful for many of my journeys, but in the past, I've not been at all sure what's allowed and what would have my bike thrown out of the carriage.
For instance, what times can you take a bike with you? Does such and such a train even allow bikes?
Now you can find out by clicking on a Plusbike link on National Rail websites. ‘If you are a cyclist and have questions about bringing your cycle on your train journey, PlusBike is here to help,’ the organisation says.
'PlusBike is a free resource tool with all the information you need to plan a seamless journey when you take the train and you plan to cycle along the way.’
Are you a sailor ...
Ticketing is being greatly improved, too, we learn. When you buy a ticket online, as presumably most people prefer to, the details can be emailed to your mobile phone. Then, as National Rail puts it, you ‘scan the barcode on your phone at the gates.’
That really is a plus for travel, although it doesn’t take much imagination to see the massive queues building once a barrier scan stops scanning.
'Take the easy route'
Still that won’t be new. It’s what happens often when a ticket-reading gadget won’t recognise the ticket you’ve just bought.
‘Take the easy route,’ coos National Rail. ‘Why should you go mobile? Because we want you to feel … the satisfaction of skipping the ticket office queue, and stress-free not having to manage all those paper tickets … and good about yourself for being kind to the environment.’
It might be a way, too, of easing some of the sting from exceptionally high prices charged these days for train travel.
Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.