A funny thing happened on the way to York



King’s Cross Station, 2007. From a photo by David Iliff.

(Click to see original photo and for details of licensing.)

Just a brief posting, as regular readers of BTWT will no doubt guess, I am somewhat busy these days. Have you heard the story about a couple of lasses from the Railway Museum in Warsaw who were sent by their boss to visit the National Railway Museum in York?  They flew to London (few Poles seem to know that some of Britain’s other cities have airports as well) and spent the evening with friends. In the morning they joined the ticket queue at King’s Cross station. Imagine their surprise when they discovered that the walk-on fare to York was double their weekly wage. In the end a helpful ticket attendant pointed out that if they waited several hours and left King’s Cross after 09:30 they could buy an off-peak return.

How many of the millions of tourists who visit Britain every year experience a similar dénouement? At what cost to the UK’s economy? For years ‘independent’ consultants financed by the road lobby have argued that in order for Britain to maximise its tourist potential the country needs more road investment. Having all but destroyed the UK’s railway network they are now busy selling their bad advice to Poland.


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