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Thursday, December 2, 2021

TFL trains – the diary of John Redwood

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Last weekend I tried one day back to London from Twyford by train. While this line is outside my constituency, it is close to the northern boundary. I left through TFL and returned through Great Western.

A large sum has been spent on changing logos, posters and installations at the stations to introduce the TFL brand. The roundtrip trains were little used. They carried too many carriages. TFL trains have nine carriages when two or three would have. The seats were hard and uncomfortable, especially at the Great Western.

The TFL railway was designed for mass travel five days a week. The trains lack restrooms and provide for many people standing still, using hanging straps in the large open central areas of the carriages. The seats are on the sides. The idea seems to have been to sell travelers an uncomfortable hanging leash experience at a high price. Network Rail’s poor service is one of the main reasons people don’t want to go back to work for five days in an office. The pandemic allowed a major revolt against the nationalized train service with schedules and standards set by the government.

The train I got on was an expensive way for taxpayers to take a leisure trip. Clearly, TFL needs to see how to make it more attractive to leisure travelers, who will play an increasingly important role in providing passengers to offset the decline in commuters. The nationalized railroad has yet to show any desire to publish a plan to innovate or change the source of its revenue to justify its huge state-backed costs. Getting to the station by car, parking, paying and then crossing the road to access the station was not easy. Rail planners must understand that most of us need to drive to get to a station and see that as part of the journey. State railroads must work with the Council’s roads and highways to make things easier.

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