Wednesday, 14 July 2010

About public transport in the UK (14) [Despre transportul în comun în UK]

Offering images of how British trains look like (quite comfortable, I’d say), I can only ‘illustrate’ the pictures with a little description of how Romanian trains are.

Apart from enumerating the classical epithets – old, slow, noisy, dirty (except for the sleeping cars where I had a pleasant experience this spring), expensive, always late, often crowded – I’d rather mention some anecdotical quotes.

They were offered to me by a British who had worked in Romania for some years until about a year ago, and who is quite familiar with the sad realities of our country.

Given the fact that he loves a Romanian woman, and that he is quite fond of Romania, I hope that his opinions couldn’t be considered a malicious exaggeration.

Here’s how he described to me the four categories of trains run by the Romanian state rail company (CFR) + some of my comments in square brackets.

1) Intercity – “the most expensive, and most bearable” [a bit cheaper than airplanes who are 14 -15 times faster, of course];

2) Rapid – “Oh, this one has got functional toilets” [if you’re a real expert at keeping your balance if not – God forbid! – sitting on it while the train is on the move]; 3) Accelerat –“a bit faster than very slow” [not recommendable at all];

4) Personal – “the kind of train that passes through and stops in every station where no one would like to get off” [good for an as short as possible journey, as a genuine Romanian experience].

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Anonymous said...

very funny (but sad in the same time, because is real)how he described the four categories of trains

Mihai said...

A few weeks ago I had a 16.5 hours train trip (it should have lasted 13 hours). It was an "Accelerat".

There is no need to say that 16.5 hours is a very long time and it was a real struggle to stand against the strong feelings of despair and frustration that were assaulting me.

Apart from the huge delay they didn't even had a power outlet !!! And it was at first class !!!
So even though I had my laptop with me, I couldn't use it for more than 2.5 hours.

Eventually I accepted the situation and started thinking about my destination, a beautiful monastery from the Apuseni mountains. That was very helpful, I managed to keep away the dark and ugly thoughts.

So traveling by train in Romania is a great way to test your endurance capabilities.

MunteanUK said...

@ Mihai

Oh, a 16.5 hours train journey is way over my own personal record: Bucharest to Satu Mare in 14.5 hours. Thank God it was a night sleeper :-)

It had sockets and electricity, but that trip was the last time I charged my photo camera batteries, as afterwards the charger would breakdown.

I couldn't say it was the train's fault, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn this :-(


Train travel in Romania can be anything from appalling to very interesting, however, apart from these, it remains a very tiring experience.

I wish I had experienced sleeper trains in the UK, but I found them a bit too expensive:


All I can say (and I guess I said it quite clearly thoughout this series) is that commuter trains in the UK seemed very good to me.

Some Brits may be complaining about many things, yet I advise them to take a Romanian 'personal' train (let alone an Indian or Pakistani train!), and see the differences.

Anonymous said...

some years ago I had the "chance" to travel by a commuter train, which had...third-class wagon...It had wooden benches, mice, etc...
a very interesting journey...

Anonymous said...

the "chance" was in Romania...not India or elsewhere...

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

My mother (almost 61), and my late grandmother (she died six years ago at the age of 86) told me about third class carriages with wooden benches...

...and it's really strange to hear that even you traveled with such old trains.


I imagine that any little mouse woulsd wreak havoc in a British trains, the old and younger ladies screaming, the engineer stopping the train...

...and ultimately all TV channels would broadcast the 'big news' about the 'little mouse'! :-)

Anonymous said...

It happened about 18 years ago...
and I...captured a baby mouse...(just for fun - I didn't kill him of course, because some colleagues screamed and I scared them...:-))