Ever since I found out that there was no such thing as a first class ticket on my train into work, I’ve wondered why SouthWest Trains have continued to provide first class sections on the trains. Now, many years later, they’ve finally done something about it.
Normally I try and avoid the carriage with the first class section in it. Even though you can sit in the first class, there are fewer seats and so it tends to be a bit more crowded. SouthWest Trains likes to keep us on our toes, so it sites the two first class sections at random along the length of any given train. Avoiding them means not committing myself to any given spot on the platform until the train has appeared close enough for me to crane my neck and look out for the tell-tale pale blue blobs on the side of the train that mark out the First Class seats. So this morning, there I was, craning away, looking for the second of the first-class compartments, but seeing no blue blobs on that half of the train at all. It was only as it glided to a halt that I saw what had happened. The blobs were still, faintly, visible, having been painted out. And the first class carriage had been refitted with scum class seats, crammed in a little closer together but still with a few faded remnants of its old glory (chiefly, power sockets for your laptop* and heating set all the way up to ‘hinges of hell’).
So woo. Give them enough time, and SouthWest trains eventually do something sensible. Give them longer, and they may well bring back guards vans as well (do you think if I mention it often enough it will happen?). And tomorrow, I shall be craning my neck looking for the first class carriage, not to avoid it but to get on it. Because we’re up to Scotland again on National Depress, having left our purchase late enough that it was almost cheaper this way (honest). And I’m just hoping that they hold off the Easter Engineering Festivities to Saturday as advertised, otherwise we’ve just gone and bought ourselves the most expensive coach tickets in the world…
* Clearly labelled ‘this is for laptops and mobile phone chargers only.’ What do they think people might bring onto the train to plug into them otherwise, hairdryers? Lawnmowers?