High Speed Domestic better be worth it

Watched Top Gear on Sunday evening, and the dual between Jeremy Clarkson in the new Nissan GT-R muscle car against Richard Hammond and James May in a Bullet Train.  (To see the video, click on this link)

Of most interest was that Hammond observed that in Japan, only 13% of trains arrive ‘late’ at their destination – 87% of trains are precisely on time.  But the definition of ‘late’ in Japan is one minute past the predicted arrival time.  If your train arrives a minute or more late, the rail company gives you a pass to explain to your employer the reasons for your late arrival, and a voucher for a free rail journey.

In the UK, the definition of ‘late’ is more than ten minutes adrift.  Your employer gets nothing apart from “used to it”; you get an incoherent, disembodied electronic message as you hurry along the platform.

Oh – and far from a free journey, our fares are increased by several times the rate of inflation, and on the Tunbridge Wells line, most of us have to stand up all the way to London.

This high speed domestic service better be worth it…


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