The Wrexham & Shropshire: the future is the past

ws-mapA story of a tiny rail operator taking on Branson’s Virgin Trains in the UK is featured in the FT and elsewhere.

Almost everyone, from MPs to Welsh grannies are rooting for the small ‘quirky’ firm Wrexham and Shropshire and not the modern but faceless Virgin Trains.

The FT describes the experience:

Wrexham & Shropshire’s style of operation harks back to the days before Dr Beeching took an axe to branch lines in the 1960s. Its little trains meander along at speeds that, at times, a well-maintained milk float could better. Passengers can stretch their legs in comfort in the 40-year-old carriages – something that only an Oompa-Loompa could manage on a Virgin Pendolino.

Reservations are not displayed via failure-prone LED screens above the seats; instead, they are printed on cards attached to the headrests.

No onboard computer announces the stations as on some other cross-country train services – that job is handled by a nice lady called Jane in a smart black and claret uniform. Nostalgic poet Sir John Betjeman would have revelled in halts with names such as Chirk and Ruabon, complete with pretty sandstone station buildings.

I for one would most definitely chose this over Virgins modern fleet and it seems like of a lot of other people would as well. So what does this say about modern travel?


One response to “The Wrexham & Shropshire: the future is the past

  1. I’m writing this on the 16:33 Wrexham and Shropshire service from London Marylebone. It is indeed a pleasure to travel on this train.

    I wish they ran more weekend services, making it more viable for leisure travel, but for business I prefer this to the faster, more cramped and more prone to delay Virgin train service.

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