15 August 2012

We shouldn't mourn Virgin trains

For some sort of unknown reason there appears to be a lot of sympathy for Richard Branson and his Virgin group for losing out on the West Coast rail franchise.  But I for one don't share it.

Virgin trains were one of the first rail franchises and were responsible for changing the travelling experience for the worse for the majority of rail passengers.  Out went buffet cars, dining cars and tables in standard class.  In came the shop, airline style food and aircraft seating.  Dining cars became just another first class carriage because it allowed them to cram the maximum number of fare paying passengers into a fixed formation train.

And as a result all the other rail franchises eventually followed the Virgin model - ending last May when East Coast finally succumbed.  And the UK's railways are much the worse for it as a result.

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