15 February 2008

The lap of luxury

There was a generous trainload of people trying to board the 1848 to Cheltenham Spa this evening - my preferred train over the 1845 to Swansea, which is always packed (well, the sleeping Welshmen who are on the train from Swansea in the morning have to get back to Wales somehow). But Coach C was a derestricted first class coach, so not only was it comfortable and spacious but most of the casual travellers passed it by assuming that it was not for them.

I took the trouble to ascertain that it was indeed derestricted by asking a passenger who was already in place, and then confirmed that she didn't mind me sitting opposite her - first class coaches offer pairs of seats facing each other on one side, and sets of four arranged two-by-two on the other with tables - broad, useful tables - between. None of your new-fangled airline seats here. Cramming passengers in is not the aim.

"This is nice", I told my new companion. "I'd pay extra for this - but not twice as much."

A group of twenty-something women, carrying bottles of wine and talking loudly - a typical Friday evening group on the trains - came into the carriage. One of them observed that it was a first class coach, and they made to leave again, then hesitated. Did we tell them it they were entitled to take a seat, that it had been derestricted? What do you think? But they worked it out anyway.

No comments: