I was smirking to myself, taking pictures at Hull's Paragon Station, when I was rudely interrupted. "Excuse me sir" the burly Pinkerton man said "No pictures allowed in the station". The man looked familiar, I'd definitely seen him somewhere before. I inquired what he meant. "Station rules, no pictures allowed", he said "Particularly of the signs". "The signs?" I asked, intrigued, "Why?". The guard used the one word which seems to have become a catch-all explanation, covering everything from allowing the Government to install CCTV cameras everywhere to removing garbage bins from the unlikeliest of places - "Security".
I puzzled the link between a possible terrorist campaign and Transpennine Express . I realize that terrorists have targeted rail stations before, and of course it is no laughing matter. But anyone trying to co-ordinate any kind of campaign depends on split-second timing, and to be honest, a good half hour's reconnaisance at any station run by Transpennine would be enough to persuade the most ardent evil do-er that scheduling an attack using Transpennine as a delivery method is militarily a bad idea.
The poster that caused the problem is featured above and advertises many statistics. One I would like to highlight. Transpennine boast that there are 18,000 miles between breakdowns. Impressive sounding at first, I have to admit, but applying their figures to the Hull, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool line which is only one of the lines they operate reveals a slight problem. The distance between Hull and Liverpool is approximately 200 miles by rail, and there are approximately 15 scheduled retrun trips per day between the dissimilair ports of Hull and Liverpool. This means that daily, Transpennine travel 6000 miles per day, just on this one line. Therefore, the theoretical train that sails this route breaks down every three days.
Even Transpennine's own figures damn them. They claim to have 280 scheduled trains per day. Assuming, conservatively, that each journey is 40 miles long, that means they cover about 11,200 miles per day. There is therefore a train breakdown every 1.5 days. On a network which despite it's 48 million pound per year profit refuses to invest in new rolling stock AND admits that they do not have enough trains, this is not good news for passengers. No wonder they have, as they boast in their poster, the longest station bench in the world. The passengers need somewhere to wait., refraining from taking photographs while they do so, of course.