It must be great living in Railway World

What is it with train companies? Like banks, they seem to live on a completely different planet to the rest of us. Last night Chris and I were booking transport from Heathrow to Manchester for when we return from Gran Canaria and, on failing to book a domestic flight because we get into Heathrow too late in the evening, we were left with no alternative other than a train. This is fine, trains from London to Manchester are fast and frequent and usually very well priced, not to mention the fact that they’re way more environmentally friendly than domestic flights.

So I went onto thetrainline.com, which is apparently the only national rail booking service (so it’s not like they have any competition to be price-conscious with), and searched for trains from Heathrow terminal 1 to Manchester on the evening of Monday 12th May. I specified standard class and two adults. The minimum price quoted was £159. First class tickets were in excess of £400.

This, as you will agree, is quite ridiculous. I know that trains to Manchester, off peak, in standard class and booked far enough in advance can be booked for as little as £13.00 per person. I also know that the Heathrow Express and the tube, which the quoted price included, cost £15.50 and £3.50 per person respectively. So I did another search, this time for the last train from London Euston to Manchester, and sure enough it came up as £26.00 for both of us (£13.00 each). This means that the previously quoted price included £133 for 2 adults to travel from Heathrow T1 to London Euston, when I know that the actual price will be £38, buying walk-up tickets.

Where the hell are they getting this extra £95.00 from? For the privilege of not having to buy separate tickets for the various legs of the journey? We could buy the walk-up tickets, throw them in the bin and take a cab to Euston and still have a decent number of notes in our pocket out of that £133 that they wanted me to pay to get 20 miles from the airport to Euston. What the fuck?

Incidentally, were we able to take a carbon-belching domestic flight from Heathrow to Manchester it would have been £88 for the two of us, including all the taxes. Go figure.