Having been booked for a performance in Englandshire recently, I had to catch a train to Birmingham, then change for Northampton. Easy enough.

Except that at Birmingham the connecting train didn’t move. The minutes passed and then it was announced that the train was cancelled, as were all other trains travelling that line, due to a problem on the track. Everybody off. Tough cheese, travellers.

Okay, they didn’t actually say that last bit, but that’s what they meant.

It’s at times like that you realise that the railway system is run by individuals who couldn’t find their own backsides with a torch and a hand mirror.

But you can’t let these people get in your way. Which meant I had the added burden of a very expensive taxi fare from Birmingham to Northampton. The show must go on, and all that.

Not including the taxi fare, the round trip cost in excess of £400. I’m not making this up – it really did cost that much.

So, if you live in West Lothian, and you want to do business down south, you had better be prepared to clamber over all sorts of obstacles and spend a week’s wage on travel.

Which is odd, because my journey of 323 miles (plus return) works out at £1.23 a mile. However, you can fly the 3,200 miles from Edinburgh to New York for £394 (yes, return) which is actually LESS than it cost me NOT to get to Northampton.

The New York flight works out at 12p a mile in a comfortable plane, in case you’re wondering, as opposed to the £1.23 for each mile travelled by train. Yes, mile-for-mile it’s 10 times more expensive to travel by train in the UK than to fly to America.

If you’re a West Lothian businessman, I suggest you consider doing business in New York, rather than anywhere in the Midlands. Not only is it less expensive to travel there, but you have a better chance of actually arriving at your selected destination.

Now, is it just me, or is there something seriously crazy about that?

Drew McAdam


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