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Rail Fat Cats' Happy New Year

January 2, 2018



































Little usherette, piping hot drinks positioned like a cow-catcher at the front of your brushed steel trolley.


In this world of narrow aisles and apoplectic travellers, you are a purveyor of overpriced beverages and snacks attempting to slice your way from rear toilet to front toilet.


Frequent clandestine administration of minor burns parts the fatberg of standing commuters.


Today the elbow of an architect clogs your progress, aided by his Antler briefcase and huge drawing pad clutched like a drool-drenched blankie.


Blisteringly hot coffee in a sleeveless cup shunts his bare wrist but makes no headway.


This conjurer of Gherkins, Cheese Graters and Motorway Service Stations is a battle-weary veteran of tin tube capitalism.


Maybe asbestos has grasped its Darwinian moment, coating his skin to dull jabs, pokes and spontaneous spills of boiling Nescafe which Groundhog Day this juddering abattoir of hope.


Despite your bonhomie and occasional belching of Bernard Hermann film scores, you know that this is the rail equivalent of letterbox sided lorries which trail tumbleweed down the hard shoulders of Britain’s creaking road network.


Increasingly breathless sheep ponder nationalisation of the transport network while frantically Googling images of luxury ruminant transporters traversing the spectacular fjords of New Zealand.


Aboard the 7:50 to Waterloo you have reached limbo between carriages F and E, remaining upright with a figure skater’s balance and a sloth-like grip through the soles of your sequinned bootees.


Ensconced in this fare dodger's hinterland the sudden paraphrased commentary of Rosa Luxemburg first ear-worms then Febreze's a urine perfumed moment.


The flap of toilet paper fouling your cart axle is the least of your worries as the genius revolutionary Socialist offers a searing critique of South Western Railway and its chronic customer betrayal policy.


'The trains full of commuters are no longer accompanied by virgins fainting from pure jubilation.


They no longer greet the people from the windows of the train with joyous smiles'.


Down the carriage, the grey grumpy faces of today's clientele are far from joyous and as the train clatters through Surbiton fainting virgins felled by pure jubilation have yet to manifest themselves.


A coffee starved scowl from a woman trapped in the automatic door of coach E breaks Rosa's spell.


Skidding forwards still dragging a crumpled paper flag of surrender you cheerily offer Walker's Shortbread and Quavers to the agitated throng.


This lot though have had time to read the morning paper and launch a vicious attack on the £1 million plus pay packet of South-West Railway's CEO.


You beg Rosa to return with her withering Marxist theory.


Instead, you are trapped mid-carriage, sold out of Quavers, pondering your minimum wage as the scrum to disembark commences, flinging you onto a flip down table replete with a cup of red-hot tea, which burns and stings as the trickle-down effect works its uncomfortable magic. 


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