Below is a 125 HST running on the West Coast Main Line between
Doncaster and York.
On the left is a restaurant car on a train I took between London and
Inverness, Scotland, in 1979. Take a look at my
. Check out a typical
from the 1980s. Service in restaurant cars, usually
a first class section converted for food service, could be very
expensive and, in those days, quite stuffy. For savvy second class
riders, one could often spend most of a trip in this setting with the
purchase of a meal. This practice is continued by some of the
privatized companies today, though I have found many restaurant cars
too crowded for this to be a successful strategy. The most popular meal
in the 1980s was 'The Great English Breakfast', a caloric bomb of eggs,
tomatoes, potatoes, banger sausages, bacon and bread. We'll be doing a
special set of pages on the privatized railway, but it is fair to say
that the food offerings in Britain are far more diverse (with regional
dishes available on some lines) and even elegant than in the US. Some
companies (eg. Virgin) pile on free food for first-class and business
customers, leaving coach passengers to use the buffet care, while
others still offer either restaurant cars (eg. Great Eastern) or full
meals at one's seat (eg. Midland Mainline). The
photo on the right is the ancient trainboard in the English Channel
resort city of Brighton.
On the left a typical presentation of train services, in this case in
Leeds. On the right a view from my 125, rolling through South Wales.
We end with a shot of Invincible, a BR engine leading an intercity
train into the sunset -- for British Rail and its passengers -- from
Reading, on the main line to the West of England. We don't know the
fate of this engine, but we do know that to many it was inconceivable
that the British Railways system was so vulnerable to the political
pressures which led its end -- and many current arguments for its
return in the face of growing public need and vastly inadequate private
and public investment.
Return to this page because we will be unearthing more photos from our
British Rail travel. We'll soon be posting many pages of our extensive
travel on the privatized system, as well as on Scotland.