Cor blimey! It don't half cost a packet to take a train ride these days. Back in the good old days of British Railways you could hop on a choo-choo for a few bob and go anywhere.
The Man With the Big Chopper
Then along came dear Dr Beeching who took an axe to the rail network in the 1960s and closed half the lines. Then in the 1990s Her Majesty's government decided to privatize the rail network. Things went from bad to worse.
Money is No Object
When the railways were nationalized (i.e. state-owned) fares were cheap because the bottomless pockets of the British taxpayer paid all the bills. Once privatized the government offered subsidies to the private network operators to aid in transition from a publicly-owned to a private network.
Yippee, Another Chance to Pay!
The subsidies are, of course, paid from the bottomless pockets of the British taxpayer. I took a trip to my former home and native land a couple of years back. For reasons of expediency, I landed at London Gatwick but I needed to be in Manchester.
Ra-ta-ta-tah ... ra-ta-ta-tah
Back in the good old days of British Railways I would have hopped on a Southern Region electric train from Gatwick Airport rail station, rattled my way up to London Bridge station, humped my suitcases onto the Tube to Euston (mind the gap) then caught an Inter-City Express to Manchester.
World Warm 1
In the reality of the twenty first century it was cheaper and easier to fly up from Gatwick to Manchester which is exactly what I did. But, in so doing, I left a huge, honking great carbon footprint on the British Isles. Those who preach the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it as a result of World Warm 1 would have been appalled, of course.
My Bottomless Pockets
Just like the British taxpayer, my pockets are bottomless. But the bottoms fell out of my pockets as a result of wear and tear. Wear and tear from shelling out too much money for almost everything. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse I heard some news that made me rush to the doctor's office for a hearing test.
A Thousand Bloomin' Quid?
You must be joking I thought. The BBC newsreader on the jolly old telly was talking about a £1000 train fare in Britain. "Struth" I thought to myself. "Have the Brits gone bleedin' bonkers?".
But no, it was true. You can buy a First Class Return from Newquay in Cornwall to the Kyle of Lochalsh in Scotland for a cool thousand knicker! Gordon bleedin' Bennett!!!!
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