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laptop, geek, MacBook, bursting, breakout

Train fares again

Ho hum. This time I approached train fares with a view to simply confirming that it would probably be quite pricey to use a train to get to London next week. But while I was looking at the standard prices, I checked out the First Class prices, too.

The First Class prices seem to be out of the realm of "pricey" and well into the region of "mindblowingly stupid". Who pays £233.50 to get to London and back (about a hundred miles) on a Friday night? On a train? Is there actually anyone, or are these fares some strange artefact of the booking/pricing system?

Surely for that money, you'd hire a limousine instead, or just buy a car, and therefore either be free of parking problems or be able to change your return plans easily.

I might suggest this as a Top Gear challenge, actually. How ostentatiously can you get from Bristol to London and back on a budget of £233.50, given a week to make your plans?
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Academics will pay those fares rather than hire a car because they can use the actual travelling time to work. Although obviously they'd rather go 2nd class, sometimes 2nd class Mcr-London is more than your 1st class fare.

That's if they can actually get a seat and a table, presumably, which in my experience isn't even guaranteed in first class.

Working while you travel is a fair point, although I'd rather save a couple of hundred quid and content myself with listening to an audiobook -- or reading on the coach, maybe. I've just worked out I can get to London and back on the coach _and_ stay overnight in a London hotel for less money than the standard-class train fare would cost me.

When you've got 400 exam scripts, you'll take every opportunity you can for marking. Travelling is dead time, and therefore ideal for marking. And if you've got a meeting with a Minister in London in the morning and a lecture to give in Manchester in the afternoon, you'll take all the chances you've got!

My boss will happily* get up at 5 for a 7am train to London, returning for an afternoon lecture, taking a variety of reading with her. I get the task of printing papers out 2/side and double-sided (remembering to put fresh paper, rather than reused in the printer) so she doesn't have too much to carry.

*Okay, maybe not happily. But it's her choice, she doesn't try to rearrange meetings or teaching.

Yowch. I did used to be vaguely productive on the train, at least doing some writing. But I think I'd need to develop a lot more focus and concentration power to know I could work on a train. Someone's irritating phone conversation or real conversation or loud headphones or whatever would probably get to me quite a high percentage of the time..

Mind you, first class is generally quieter (the last half of my few years of commuting from here to Swindon was done in first class, mostly because I got fed up with not having a seat on the way home) and I guess a lot of the secret is just practice, and I've never had to work on a train on a regular basis.

Go to bed, I am going to right NOW ! :)

I have no idea what it costs but our CEO has a taxi to drive him from Bristol to Cambridge one day and then another to take him back the following day.
Apparently he uses it to work, which I kinda guess he does.

I can see why you might prefer it; Bristol to Cambridge is a pain in the arse on the train; there's two changes and if you want to travel first class (and therefore get a pretty good chance of a seat and a table, even if you've not made a reservation) then you're looking at the sharp end of £200. Easy to believe that a cabbie could make a profit on it charging him something a little less than that... And both methods of transport take about three hours for the journey.

Edited at 2008-01-06 12:14 am (UTC)

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