Should first-class train travel be abolished?
Trains have traditionally been riddled with class distinction and snobbery. As our crowded commuter routes come under pressure to stop segregating, author Andrew Martin ponders what we will lose with the scrapping of first class
Feeling flush one recent Saturday afternoon at Victoria, I asked for a first-class train ticket to Brighton. “Why?” said the ticket clerk. “There’s hardly any difference.”
It was quite an effective guilt trip – coming only a few days after the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, had suggested first class ought to be abolished to create more space on certain commuter routes. When agreeing future deals, he said, train companies would be told they “can’t start segregating”, and some reduction in first-class provision may be required of whoever wins the Southeastern franchise next year.
For 150 years, the trend on our trains has been towards a railway egalitarianism
There’s a drastic shortage of glamour on modern British trains, which are cheaply made, narrow and low-bodied
Related: The Inequality Project: the Guardian’s in-depth look at our unequal world
Source: Guardian Transport
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