When Public Transport Goes Right

One of the things that’s struck me now that I’ve returned to the UK is the huge focus on being green. For example books on how to be ecological at home, reducing your carbon footprint and generally feeling better about yourself by helping the environment fill the shelves at the local bookstores. We can only hope they used recycled paper. Combined with the rapidly increasing extortion happening at British petrol pumps it’s now even more sensible to use public transport, in theory at least. In practice the now privately owned railways seem to enjoy creating ever more complex and confusing ways to charge us more, especially at rush hour. Government subsidies anyone?

At least this was what I thought until we wanted to make a trip up to Norfolk to see the family this weekend. Hiring a car for a long weekend would have cost us at least £100 before we even got to insurance and the petrol – so much for easycar then. Not sure what to expect I headed over to the National Rail site, central search facility of all the local rail services. A bit of searching later, and I’d managed to find a few six quid advanced singles between London and Norwich – giving a round trip price of £24 for the two of us*. Amazing and totally unexpected, especially as we were leaving two days later.

Our green pound well spent, we enjoyed a wonderful long weekend with the Norfolk and Suffolk parts of the family. Full of the wonders of highly changeable British weather, inquisitive ducks, potty training nephews and the chance to expand Miette’s experience of English culture with a classic spotted dick. More wine, vicar?

*For comparison, my sister is coming down to London during rush hour from the same station and is paying £40 for a return – almost four times the cost. Plus we had the bonus of seeing Piers from The New Statesman seeing someone off from the platform. Splendid.

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