Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit

THOSE following the investigation into the Hatfield rail crash have been surprised to learn that trains were allowed to run at full speed along a stretch of track which Railtrack knew to be faulty. Are there no safety rules concerning this sort of thing? The good news is that the railway system does have plenty of rules; it is just that most of them seem to be targeted at maximising the inconvenience to passengers.

A friend who recently bought a ticket to Cambridge inquired whether the train stopped at Shepreth, one of the village stations just short of the city. Although he needed to travel back from Cambridge, it would be more convenient for him to get off a stop early. The response from the ticket man was swift. `Not technically allowed to do that, sir. You're supposed to buy a return to Shepreth; then, when you come back, buy a single from Cambridge to Shepreth. …

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