Northern Rail revealed radical plans to deal with its timetable disruption today, with the announcement that it will now just place a single, completely stationary 5,000-carriage train on the tracks between Preston and the Lake District, leaving commuters to walk through the train themselves to get to their ultimate destination.
‘This looks like a particularly efficient solution to the problems we’ve been facing of driver shortages, late running engineering projects and difficulties in implementing a new timetable,’ argued a spokesperson for Northern. ‘You can get on at your usual station, whenever you want, and stroll through the carriages at your own pace, enjoying the excellent scenery and the interiors of our classic 1970s rolling stock.’
‘Under this new service, we don’t actually need any drivers, which is a bonus for us,’ continued the spokesperson. ‘And we’re pleased to announce that we’ll be employing a couple of extra staff to sell customers Kit Kats and cups of tea – for information, they’ll be in carriage 1842 just outside Lancaster, and carriage 2776, two miles past Oxenholme.’
‘I’m pleased to see these innovative solutions to what is a difficult situation for us all,’ noted Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport. ‘Journey times are expected to increase by a few minutes under the new arrangements, with times between Oxenholme and Lancaster estimated to be five hours for a reasonably fit 30-year-old woman walking at a brisk pace, rising to 35 hours for a clinically obese 55-year-old man, a figure which takes account of the fact that he would have to edge through the carriages sideways on.’
‘Unfortunately, since the trains are stationary, passengers will not be able to use the toilets at all,’ continued Grayling. ‘However, since this has been fairly normal for Northern commuters for many years now anyway, we don’t anticipate this will cause any significant problems.’