the weekly


Think of all that is worthwhile:

The quality of sandwich bread –

There was a time, when BR’s vile

Ham baps would leave you sick or dead.


See the station like a church,

The vaulting roof, the vast arcade;

The old times left you in the lurch,

Cowed and cramped and half-afraid.


See now, the door that shuts on you

When you are passing through (perchance):

The Virgin failsafe three-lock loo –

My goodness, what a great advance.


Apologies across the tannoy,

Crisp and kind and spoken clearly –

Travel then was half like Hanoi.

The seats were ripped, or very nearly.


In those days, time was wasted and

The halts and judders tried your patience –

The vans and cabs were over-manned,

And oh! how many bloody stations!


Platform tickets: what a laugh.

Porters! Now we’re fitter, leaner.

And now we have some trolley staff

Who trudge along with bright demeanour –


Their coffee may have run out, true,

But how much softer is each seat,

How perfectly you see the view!

How many sorts of ticket! Sweet!


Il Duce would have felt the pride

Rising in him like a fire –

We’ll vote for you if you decide

To hike the prices even higher.



Click here for a Guardian article


Click here to buy Bill’s poetry collection Ringers


Click here to follow Bill’s New Statesman research






Price rises on trains were set to rise (again) by about 3% above inflation, or perhaps more.

20 August 2014


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