back to article Give nerds their own PRIVATE TRAIN CARRIAGES, say boffins

Anyone who has ever commuted on a train in the south east of England will have at some point considered ways to improve the service – such as, say, introducing actual cattle trucks onto the network for more luxurious travel. But tech enthusiasts from Cambridge have another idea entirely. What about a designated nerd carriage …

  1. fridaynightsmoke
    Pint

    I commute in a private carriage,

    It's had to get any work done along the way, but I can blare music as loud as I want and smoke.

    The only problem is all the other feckers in the other private carriages, obviously.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: I commute in a private carriage,

      Me and FridayNightSmoke going to work on a morn

      :-)

      (SFW, old game intro)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    want to connect Oxford and Cambridge via Kings Cross to create a "mega hub"

    Wouldn't it be more logical to connect them via Luton, might be an incentive to upgrade the airport as well?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Aren't they already doing this?

      The Chiltern Railways line is being hooked up to Oxford via Bicester at the moment. Then once this is done, they're re-activating the line between Oxford and Bedord.

      A quick Google later: link to project

      Turns out they've only got funding and approval for the Aylesbury-Oxford-MK-Bedford bit so far. It would seem a bit illogical not to then continue it, as new infrastructure appears to be in fashion again politically, and this route has already covered 2/3rds of the distance.

      Also, why more transport links for a hub at King's Cross. It's already easy to get trains to Paddington from Oxford, and Liverpool Street from Cambridge. Surely it's not beyond the wit of our putative tech-pioneers to get a tube and meet in the middle at King's Cross. Or even walk...

      Hell if things get too desperate, there are even buses.

      1. Mog_X

        They can't rebuild the Bedford - Cambridge part on the same route now - some of it was built over (and I now use part of it as a cycle track on the way to Sandy).

        If they had thought of this back in Beeching's time it might be a bit different.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          >They can't rebuild the Bedford - Cambridge part on the same route now - some of it was built over

          Buildings obstructing route isn't a problem, just look at HS2...

          The real challenge is whether they get to reinstate the line before the Bedford rowing lake idea gets funding...

          1. Mog_X

            The rowing lake idea was proposed several years before the London Olympics, so I doubt it will ever get going.

            Knocking down some houses might upset some friends of mine - if they move the route a bit further south it will go through my vegetable patch as well (you'll know where I live if you know the area, based on my username)

            I ain't Spartacus - I cycle pretty fast, so I think I wouldn't hold up the Class 153 units :-)

            1. Simon Harris Silver badge

              @Mog_X and your bicycle.

              Do you by any chance ever cycle through the site of the old Willington Station (next to the Danish Dock)? I'm working on a modelling project based around there and am wondering if there's anything left to make a site visit worthwhile.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "If they had thought of this back in Beeching's time it might be a bit different."

          I doubt it. Had some knob-end said "I know that fewer and fewer people want to use the railways, but let's keep all these loss making lines open in case somebody needs a handful of route miles in half a century's time", I daresay they would have been laughed at.

          And rightly so.

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Actually the line survived Beeching, but the Beford to Cambridge and Oxford to Bletchley services were stopped by British Railways later, in 1967, when it had become faster to get from Oxford to Cambridge via London.

      2. Stuart Moore

        Or even...

        Or even get the direct train from Cambridge to Kings Cross (which is faster)

        But once crossrail comes in it'd be possible to do a direct train (although via a ludicrous route which they'd never do in reality).

        I think the main issue with Bedford -> Cambridge is that the old line has been built over, and so it's tricky to know where to route it.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Or even...

          I think the main issue with Bedford -> Cambridge is that the old line has been built over, and so it's tricky to know where to route it.

          If we can get Mog_X to get his bloody bike out of the way, we'll be sorted...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Paranoid explanation

      The people who run London are afraid that if you could get from Oxford to Cambridge without going via London, London might become totally redundant. That Shoreditch roundabout would certainly wither on the vine.

      1. Wommit

        Re: Paranoid explanation

        Try driving up the A34, A43, A14. Oxford to Cambridge sorted. Or do it in reverse. :)

    3. Frankee Llonnygog

      Definitely make Luton a hub

      Preferably for the intergalactic invasion fleet of the giant vampire cockroaches. House prices are cheap there, so it'll be very cost-effective for laying their egg-clusters

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Definitely make Luton a hub - and another thing

        Beeching deliberately changed the rail regulations in order to make lines that ran at a small profit loss making, so that he could close them and boost his shares in road making companies.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Definitely make Luton a hub - and another thing

          "Beeching deliberately changed the rail regulations ...."

          What a load of old cock. The model railway enthusiasts are still bitter that Beeching closed so much of their 1:1 trainset, and wilfully ignore the tide of rising car ownership through the 1950s and 1960s, and the depopulation of rural areas as mechanisation and modernisation meant fewer rural jobs and more urban jobs.

          Beeching was of course an outsider, and what would he know about railways, eh? The answer to that was explained years before in the rail "experts" own disastrous 1955 Modernisation Plan, that involved scrapping steam relatively new steam locomotives, introducing a large fleet of unreliable and expensive diesels from makers who often had no experience in making them (more than a few of these assets were also very short lived), which didn't do a thing to the fundamental problem of a changing and more wealthy population that didn't want or need as much rail transport as the industry was set up to deliver.

          The laugh is that the anti-Beeching brigade still can't see that they are defending a network essentially built by Victorian entrepreneurs, many of whom went bust. So the underlying cost-justified economics weren't there even in the first place, and where routes survived it was because they reflected where people lived and worked in Victorian times, along with their lack of alternative.

          Beeching did a good job in a bad situation. From memory railway losses continued to climb, but that reflected the societal issues mentioned above. Even modern day railway miracles like HS1 have managed to go bust despite the "benefits" of modern planning, and the case for HS2 is similarly farcical, and will result in big losses that will ultimately be underwritten by the tax payer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Definitely make Luton a hub - and another thing

            Yes, brilliant Beeching closed the Buntingford to St. Margaret's line which made a loss of a few thousand a year, failing to notice that passengers were almost all going to London and contributing £24000 a year to the London line. Oops...that's what happens when you try to do operational research in the days before spreadsheets.

            Where railways run is a very chicken and egg situation; house prices tend to rise and people commute where there are good transport links.

            But in any case, and I am perhaps sorry to have to write this to someone with whom I often agree, anybody who defends steam locomotives is in my view unqualified to write about railways. Unreliable and expensive Diesels? Compared to the overall costs of steam? Pull the other connecting rod, it has a Walschaerts valve drive on the end of it.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Definitely make Luton a hub - and another thing

              Yes, brilliant Beeching closed the Buntingford to St. Margaret's line which made a loss of a few thousand a year, failing to notice that passengers were almost all going to London and contributing £24000 a year to the London line

              In fairness to him, Beeching just provided the report on the lines' current status. It was the government of the day who decided which lines to close based on his figures. Figures which were all based on current steam-hauled trains, the government didn't consider the reductions in costs which replacing steam trains by railcars, etc., could have offerered. Which is one reason why it's now proving viable to re-open closed lines, with modern rolling stock.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Definitely make Luton a hub - and another thing

                "Which is one reason why it's now proving viable to re-open closed lines, with modern rolling stock."

                But the anti-Beeching crew fail to see that of the 5,000 miles closed, a trivial fraction have shown the potential for re-opening. Round my neck of the woods there's miles and miles that were closed under Beeching's recommendations, and which don't reflect any transport need in the past forty odd years.

                And the anti-Beeching luddites equally fail to acknowledge that under their golden age of state ownership after the war and pre-Beeching, some 3,000 miles of line had been closed. Or that the modernisation of traction HAD BEEN TRIED AND HADN'T WORKED. The 1955 Modernisation Plan was supposed to make the railways profitably (being charitable, cost neutral) by 1962, and instead the losses had widened to the point that the government had to take radical action.

          2. N2 Silver badge

            Re: Definitely make Luton a hub - and another thing

            Beeching diddnt close anything, he wrote the reports for the government.

            When 50% of station receipts provided just 2% revenue and losses of £300,000 a day, something has to change.

  3. Detective Emil

    Take this train to Luton, um, I mean Bedford

    See www.railfuture.org.uk/ox-cam/

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Take this train to Luton, um, I mean Bedford

      Or take the X5 coach, which is rarely crowded and has free wifi.

      1. ravenviz

        Re: Take this train to Luton, um, I mean Bedford

        Does 'rarely crowded' mean that everyone has a seat to sit on?

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Take this train to Luton, um, I mean Bedford

        "Or take the X5 coach, which is rarely crowded and has free wifi."

        And takes an age. Source: me.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how about Bletchley?

    There were once upon a time trains from there to BOTH Oxford and Cambridge.

    Bletchlety - Oxford will be restored in a few years. Sadly the line from Bedford to Cambridge went for housing years ago and will take a lot more time and money to restore.

    Seriously.. Nerd Carriages would just be a target for the Neanderthals who insist in spending their time on the train shouting 'I'm on the Train' into their Phablets. some of us prefer to just read a book or take a little nap.

    However given the state of the Cattle Trucks(sorry Coaches) we have to endure during rush hours, I'd like the Railways to begin applying Animal Livestock Transportatino Laws to passenger density. We'd all appreciate the extra space.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: how about Bletchley?

      "Sadly the line from Bedford to Cambridge went for housing years ago"

      Not just housing, but radio astronomy too - the area around Lord's Bridge (last stop before Cambridge) became the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, with the railway line being used for the 5km array Ryle Telescope. The observatory is still using the splendid old LNWR station building and goods shed, typical of that stretch of railway between Blunham and Lord's Bridge.

    2. scrubber

      Re: passenger density

      I always think of this advert when I hear people complaining about the cattle trucks they endure to get to their sickness-inducing desks for the 9 hour (if you're lucky) grind to be able to afford their overpriced rent and £5 beers:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX9h558Tz1E

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: passenger density

        problem isn't just the lines but the rolling stock too. The Carlisle to Newcastle train is woefully underspec. The two carriage shunter or at best a pair of them bolted together is always sardine can daily, not to mention the last train of the day is another sardine can. Since it doesn't even stop at the small stations when crowded why wont they add a bigger train? Because they are nobheads is the only reason I can come up with.

  5. frank ly Silver badge

    Video conferencing

    Wasn't that supposed to do away with the need to travel anywhere?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Video conferencing

      Will the nerds on the train get paid for the work that they're doing, before they 'clock-on' or is this just another way to pressurise people into working for free?

      Also would this apply on the journey home as well?

      very sorry state of affairs if you ask me.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Video conferencing

        When I do travel by train to work, I always travel First Class, the amount of work I can do in that 40 minutes each way is amazing, it is pretty damned impossible to work on those tiny seats you get in cattle class..

        Sure it costs more to travel, but worth it IF you can afford it..

      2. N2 Silver badge

        Re: Video conferencing

        Agreed,

        Somewhat like the horrid term 'working lunch' - no thanks, Id rather go hungry.

  6. Phil E Succour

    Garland of Flowers

    Reading some of the ideas in "How to make the most of UK Innovation" makes me suspect Steve Bong chaired the group that produced it...

    1. Steve Button

      Re: Garland of Flowers

      I agree. I mean what the fuck are these people smoking? Have they actually been on a train before, or just seen them from a distance? Wave at big screen. Jeez.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Garland of Flowers

        I mean what the fuck are these people smoking? Have they actually been on a train before, or just seen them from a distance? Wave at big screen. Jeez.

        This is the inevitable result of allowing civil servants and think tank staffers to ride around first class. They actually think that's what the other carriages look like.

        We could better leverage our train capacity by doing the following:

        1) Remove all first class carriages. Capacity would then increase by roughly 80 people per train due to being allowed to stand between the seats.

        2) Install free wifi on every train. Seriously - its like the dark ages on there.

        3) Ensure a stable signal such that a phone call can be had, where necessary, out of main line stations and into the suburbs without 30 disconnections. If you wanted to be radical, you should be able to begin a call in Epsom, use the Tube, and finish your call in Cambridge without ever being cut off. I make no comment on necessity of the call.

        Improvements to our GDP would begin immediately, and would compund up nicely over time. Better than funding some mobile dream machine with an investment return somewhere close to never. We could even look at putting in air conditioning or turning off the heating in summer, but those are just pipe dreams.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Garland of Flowers

          "Improvements to our GDP would begin immediately, and would compund up nicely over time. "

          What utter fucking rot!

          Enabling mobile phone shouters to spend the entire journey saying "I'm on the train, can't talk in public, call you later" won't improve GDP by one brass farthing. Students being able to stream Spotify as they take their laundry home at weekends, again, not a razoo towards GDP. Commuters fielding emails from their bosses can already do that because they don't need a continuous connection, so again no net gain to GDP.

          The telecoms infrastructure to enable this will on the other hand cost several billion quid. Now, if you take a cost of several billion quid, and extra benefit of zero, how's that going to help GDP? Unless (of course) you subscribe to the HS2 School of Fairytale Economics.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Enabling mobile phone shouters

            Bravo! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who lives for the blessed silence brought about by the tunnel, the most massively useful structure ever invented for making hairless plains apes shut the fuck up.

            Personally I am in favor of legislation requiring people to prove they are more intelligent than the phone they are buying before they are allowed to walk out the door with it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Enabling mobile phone shouters

              "the tunnel, the most massively useful structure ever invented for making hairless plains apes shut the fuck up"

              Proven and effective.

              Unlike mobile free carriages and "noise free" carriages, which are a natural magnet for noisey gobshites who are either illiterate, thick, or assume that rules/requests apply only to other people.

          2. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: Garland of Flowers

            Enabling mobile phone shouters to spend the entire journey saying "I'm on the train, can't talk in public, call you later" won't improve GDP by one brass farthing.

            You seem not to understand what GDP is or how it is measured. You also seem not to understand what a quiet carriage is for if you're so annoyed by mobile phones. Certainly you won't enjoy quiet under the proposals to which this article relates as the purpose of the whole shebang is to get them talking.

            Students being able to stream Spotify as they take their laundry home at weekends, again, not a razoo towards GDP.

            This doesn't alter the above issue with your lack of understanding of GDP.

            Commuters fielding emails from their bosses can already do that because they don't need a continuous connection, so again no net gain to GDP.

            This bit you have right, but your thinking is too limited. Most large corporates are busily flushing productivity down the crapper of security theatre (we all know of restrictions put in place that achieve nothing while actual issues go unaddressed). In order to do productive work (not emails from the boss) many people require a remote connection to their works PC. Enabling people to do extra work will improve GDP immediately: it has too, unless the work they do is wholly unproductive. Again, you may need to correct your understanding of GDP before responding.

            The telecoms infrastructure to enable this will on the other hand cost several billion quid.

            No it won't. You only need a connection speed of say 1 MB/S to sustain a remote connection. It doesn't need to be fast enough to stream video. For example, half the trains leaving Kings Cross have onboard wifi. The other half, despite using the same infrastructure don't. Why? It simply cannot be that expensive to fit the same system to the other trains. As most trains have equipment at either end, the signal doesn't drop for most blackspots or bridges. For longer tunnels, yes, there would have to be investment made.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Garland of Flowers

              "You seem not to understand what GDP is or how it is measured."

              Err, excuse you, fuckwit. I have a degree level education in such matters, I work in an industry dominated by economics, and I'm firmly in the (supposed) target market for HS2, which is founded on similar nonsense arguments about raising GDP through either improving on-train productivity, or avoiding on-train non-productivity.

              The simple reality is that better connectivity on trains won't raise GDP by any recognisable amount. Those who look out the window at the moment will continue to do so. Those relentlessly tapping away at mobile devices will be no more or less efficient. And people on calls will still be unable to do real business because (even with a reliable signal) because there's no privacy. Now, if you want to say that students using Spotify represents a measurable increase in GDP, you're entitled to that view, bollocks though it is.

              But why let the big picture get in the way of an ad hominem attack? You clearly can't understand the argument though, so I suppose I should tip my hat to you for giving it your best shot.

              1. LucreLout Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Garland of Flowers

                I have a degree level education in such matters

                And? Quite why you think that makes you special or even informed is a mystery to me. A degree simply doesn’t mean anything in an age when half the population goes to university. I can already tell, by your lack of maturity, that you’re a relatively recent graduate. I have two degrees, one of which is advanced, but it doesn’t convey any specialist understanding not obtainable from some reading coupled with a decade or two of experience.

                I work in an industry dominated by economics

                Yes, so does our office tea boy.

                The simple reality is that better connectivity on trains won't raise GDP by any recognisable amount.

                That you lack an effective understanding of what GDP is and how it works is a fact. That you think better connectivity won’t raise GDP is an opinion, and not a well constructed one.

                Those who look out the window at the moment will continue to do so. Those relentlessly tapping away at mobile devices will be no more or less efficient. And people on calls will still be unable to do real business because (even with a reliable signal) because there's no privacy.

                That you can’t imagine any other way for connectivity to be useful simply indicates that your intelligence is extremely limited.

                Now you have two choices: You can either go off and learn a thing, or you can simply jog-on; but before you go, I’ll have an English breakfast tea, white, no sugar. Thanks.

              2. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                Re: Re: Garland of Flowers

                There's a certain irony in having a pop at someone for an ad hominem argument by calling them a fuckwit.

                Please cease and desist from this, amusing as it is for the rest of us.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Garland of Flowers

            The telecoms infrastructure to enable this will on the other hand cost several billion quid. Now, if you take a cost of several billion quid, and extra benefit of zero, how's that going to help GDP? Unless (of course) you subscribe to the HS2 School of Fairytale Economics.

            And how do you think that infrastructure comes to be? I must admit a degree of bias here after frequently having to fight monster telecoms bills for the sheer pleasure of living near a border, to me it's only right that the sods actually invest some of their ill-gotten gains into doing something decent with the infrastructure, which means work and jobs. As for H2S, that will pay itself back pretty quickly by re-importing locals to do the jobs of the people that have been pushed out by insane house prices. Heck, maybe it'll become a UKIP campaign promise..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Garland of Flowers

          @Lucrelout - "This is the inevitable result of allowing civil servants and think tank staffers to ride around first class."

          That privilege, (generally to civil servants of HEO rank and above) was lost several years ago. When it was in place, I disagreed with the privilege and chose not to book first class travel when using the train for duty travel. However my older colleagues did point out that fact that it was originally given in lieu of a pay rise many year earlier and so they understandably felt they had the right. Of course, the privilege was removed temporarily, never to be-reinstated.

          Bear in mind, many civil servants commute by train and we are well aware of what all the carriages and human armpits are like. I can't answer for the think tank staffers and 'Special Advisers' however.

          "1) Remove all first class carriages. Capacity would then increase by roughly 80 people per train due to being allowed to stand between the seats"

          Agreed, first class offers very little more than standard and wastes carriages for commuters. Also, I struggle to see how having several empty first class carriages is cost effective for the rail companies. The first class ticket would have to be seemingly hundreds of times more expensive to make up for the fewer number of people in the carriage.

          "2) Install free wifi on every train. Seriously - its like the dark ages on there."

          "3) Ensure a stable signal such that a phone call can be had, where necessary, out of main line stations and into the suburbs without 30 disconnections."

          If it's a choice, I'll take #3, as the wifi in the stations is shit, no point having shit wifi on the trains as well. Would rather they allowed the mobile operators to put their infrastructure on the lines, might also reduce rural connectivity problems. As line electrification is an undertaking at the moment, they could do this at the same time.

  7. cosymart
    Megaphone

    Really Hard Living in London

    "The same could certainly be said for any poor soul attempting to get to north London via the capital's woeful commuter train services."

    Think yourself lucky you have some form of transport, most folks outside the M25 have to rely on cart tracks and charabancs. I do wish the whiners in London would lift their eyes up from their newspapers or smart phones from time to time and join the rest of the UK!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really Hard Living in London

      "I do wish the whiners in London would lift their eyes up from their newspapers or smart phones from time to time and join the rest of the UK!"

      I've got my fingers crossed for half an inch of snow to fall across London. Then the BBC can breathlessly report that unprecedented weather triggered by climate change has caused gridlock across the south east, and that twerp Cameron can summon COBRA to plan the air drop of skinny mocha soya lattes to stranded urban hipsters, and flasks of warm milky tea to civil servants unable to get into the office and wreak their productivity on the nation.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Really Hard Living in London

      Think yourself lucky you have some form of transport, most folks outside the M25 have to rely on cart tracks and charabancs

      Oh not entirely. I'll give a grateful shout out to Chiltern Railways for managing a very reliable and pretty fast service between London and Birmingham. It's true that some people have to stand but usually only those who get on at the penultimate B'ham stop so it's only for five minutes.

      Oh and CR offer free wifi. And quite zones (though sadly you do get the occasional bell-end who can't read or just doesn't care).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nerds, by definition, are unlikely to talk to anyone in a train carriage.

    All you really need to provide is an internet connection so they can meet in cyberspace.

    I'm not sure these "boffins" are worthy of the title.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      The only people talking will be the PITA recruitment consultants

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Can't we have a murder carriage?

    For, you know, people who like to read crime fiction, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes etc. You have to workout whodunnit by the time you reach Oxford...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Can't we have a murder carriage?

      Oh. I'm disappointed. I thought you meant a carriage where we could murder people. Would certainly reduce over-crowding...

      I guess that would create its own problems though. After all, the queue for the murdering Piers Morgan carriage would be huge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't we have a murder carriage?

        "After all, the queue for the murdering Piers Morgan carriage would be huge."

        "Hello - I'm on the train, looking at the countrycide"

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=285DD7QECzY#t=65 (Uxbridge English Dictionary)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't we have a murder carriage?

      That seems an eminently civilised idea, as long as readers of Dashiel Hammett and Raymond Chandler are welcome too ...

      1. Rustident Spaceniak
        Holmes

        Re: Can't we have a murder carriage?

        Yeees, but what about nerds who like reading crime novels?

      2. fixit_f

        Re: Can't we have a murder carriage?

        We could have a bloody dogging carriage as well while we're at it. Comes with free lube and hand sanitiser.

  10. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Stop

    Nerd Carriage

    I would steer clear as it would be a hotspot for getting your stuff swiped whilst you are playing flappy bird *COUGH* I mean working.

  11. Otto is a bear.

    Crossrail and the East / West Link

    Sadly, Crossrail belongs to TFL, so it's very unlikely that through trains from Cambridge to Oxford via Kings Cross will ever be allowed, no matter how useful. (Oxford is due to be wired in the next few years).

    The East / West Link is however likely to be built, it's in the strategic plans, other possibilities are Via Hitchin or Stevenage, but again development has encroached. Peterborough to Bedford via Corby is still possible, but very roundabout.

    The plans are actually for a new route through Sandy or Stevenage, rather than using old track bed.

    A carriage full of nerds, my idea of hell.

    1. BearishTendencies

      Re: A carriage full of nerds, my idea of hell.

      It wouldn't be a carriage full of nerds. It would be a carriage load of digerati spouting shite like this.....

      "Decoded have pioneered the global zeitgeist around code education creating a new generation of digitally literate, enlightened and empowered professionals." And that's a real example. They sell one day 'coding' training classes that teach you everything.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: A carriage full of nerds, my idea of hell.

        "Decoded have pioneered the global zeitgeist around code education creating a new generation of digitally literate, enlightened and empowered professionals." And that's a real example. They sell one day 'coding' training classes that teach you everything.

        And people wonder why I've spent the past 20 years saying what our industry needs most is a professional regulator; something like the GMC.

  12. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    Nerd carriage?

    Surely to be an actual Nerd Carriage, in order to be able to get a ticket you should need to do at least four of:

    1) Write a quick "Hello World" in at least three languages, at least one of which should be generally regarded as "niche" and/or obscure.

    2) Name at least three characters from Escaflowne.

    3) Deliver a plot synopsis of Star Wars in under 2 minutes (not by leaving stuff out, just by talking very quickly).

    4) Explain the difference between "dwarfs" and "dwarves".

    5) Present your smartphone with NFC capability and refuse to pay with it on security grounds.

    6) Name every Marvel film considered canon in reverse order of release date.

    etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nerd carriage?

      Yeah, but they should be forced to answer in Klingon.

      1. Rustident Spaceniak
        Meh

        Re: Nerd carriage?

        I think the first problem with nerds is, they like getting actual work done on the train, such as writing a quick analysis on a complex problem, or at least setting up a spreadsheet that helps them analyse a simplified version thereof. And those nerds i know hate being interrupted by people talking on the train.

        Second problem: in the real world, including (to a degree) the Oxford-London-Cambridge triangle, the density of nerds working in the same field of business is low, even on board trains; there are so many different varieties of nerds that the partial pressure of each is low enough to make direct interaction unlikely.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Nerd carriage?

          All that's necessary is Wi-fi in every carriage, use full face crash helmets with a version of Gurgle Glass, a microphone in the chin piece for Voice to Text and VoIP, use the visor as a VR screen with a virtual keyboard option and incorporate an ocular command interface ( http://www.cs.tufts.edu/~jacob/papers/hartson.pdf ) for typing.

          Then nerds can operate hands free while doing their thing in Cattle Class.

          Ah! Two little antennae on top of the helmet would be a prerequisite.

        2. LaeMing Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Nerd carriage?

          "there are so many different varieties of nerds that the partial pressure of each is low enough to make direct interaction unlikely."

          Cool kids get 'peer pressure'

          Nerds get 'partial pressure'

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nerd carriage?

        Yeah, but they should be forced to answer in Klingon.

        va'egh!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nerd carriage?

      7) Quote Monty Python's Knights who say Ni.

  13. Gazareth

    One way?

    I can understand people wanting to flee Cambridge for Oxford, but why on earth would you want to go the other way?

    1. Jon127

      Re: One way?

      Because you have to get the rolling stock back there somehow. Otherwise people can only leave at the rate you can build the trains.

      You can send all the new spares up north when you're done with them though. We've not seen any in the last 30 years.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: One way?

        If you believe one what I heard today during the Autumn Statement then the age of the Pacer is coming to an end.

        I'm sure that Northern Rail would love to keep them because they are cheap to run but if NR wants the next Franchise they have to promise (with fingers crossed behind their backs) to get rid of those '4 wheel not so bendy busses'.

        Yeah right, pull the other one. Still EU (so don't vote UKIP or you may have to suffer them for longer) will make them illegal to operate around 2020. No Disabled Toilets etc.

        1. Robert E A Harvey
          Unhappy

          Re: Pacers

          No disabled toilets? Whenever I get on a pacer the toilet is always disabled.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: One way?

      @Gazareth

      I have to rise to this because I "studied" at Oxford and live near Cambridge. Both score equal points for their historic centres. Oxford has nice Victorian suburbs that are mostly lacking in Cambridge, but it also has Cowley, Blackbird Leys, etc. The countryside around Cambridge is something of an acquired taste; the Oxfordshire environment is mostly picturesque, but it's a bit Chipping Norton.

      1. Gazareth

        Re: One way?

        Ha, I studied so hard at Biochem that I now work in IT :)

        Cowley wasn't that bad!

  14. Dixey

    Douglas was definitely right about a lot of things.

    I think the following quote sheds some light on the whole issue, though it does apply to roads (another traditional talking point):

    “Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash from point B to point A very fast. People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what's so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there, and what's so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there. They often wish that people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be.”

    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    1. Andrew Meredith

      Re: Douglas was definitely right about a lot of things.

      Apposite D.A. quote ... have an upvote :-)

  15. Cowboy Bob

    Yes, Give Them Their Own Carriage

    That way on my daily commute, those sad sacks that insist on working when they're not at work won't constantly elbow me in the ribs when typing, saving them from the occasional dig in the ribs back when doing their worst chicken dance impressions.

    Alternatively, just drag them behind and put them out of their misery

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, Give Them Their Own Carriage

      Sad Sacks?

      Ah! Those will be the Facebork, Twatter, WhatAp etc addicts constantly updating the world (and their dog) of their progress to work

      'Hello World. Just passed Surbiton, 5 mins late, leaves on the line'

      Then 15 mins later

      "It's me again. Waterloo in sight stopped for signals"

      1 min later

      "Still stopped at signals"

      etc etc ad nausiem (and it does make me sick)

      Yours,

      Boring old fart who refuses to sign up for FB etc because I simple have better things to do with my life. (yeah, I know I'm wasting time writing this reply but this place ain't FaceBook (yet))

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Yes, Give Them Their Own Carriage

        + Like

  16. RobHib
    Pint

    A cleaver and very splendid idea.

    I think this is a cleaver and very splendid idea. Gone are the days when techies, nerds and special technical interest groups would meet in local trades/industrial halls on Friday nights to discuss and argue their interests, and we're much the worse off for the loss.

    Despite its marvels, the internet is still no real substitute for personal contact. And I can't think of a better way to do this than in a moving venue. It would ensure a much greater intermingling of people than what happens with the frequenters of fixed-location meeting places (that's if we still had them). Moreover, a mobile meeting place that comes to you and eventually returns you home allows for a multitude of new and innovative ways to meet new contacts--the possibilities are enormous (even mobile science demos/lectures to school kids by experts comes to mind).

    Incidentally, trains need not be distracting places: years ago, to my great surprise, I got my highest score ever for a physics lab practical by writing up the notes on a train (mostly from memory). I was late in submitting the docs (a not uncommon occurrence) and the deadline for submitting them was 9AM so I had no option other than to write them up (and draw the graphs and diagrams) on the 3/4-hour train trip to uni. The subject was 'transient impulses through electrical networks'--you know, all that Fourier stuff and such.

  17. vahid

    WFH defeats this

    So IT workers get out of bed extra early to join the office workers on the densely overcrowded transport systems and the best they can hope for is this ?

    How about they rethink the entire model of working life specially for those in IT to allow more remote work i.e. working from their home and thus defeating such stupid ideas.

    We can outsource and allow IT workers to work remotely in some remote part of the world but we can not promote working from home when our own transport system is crippling.

    No nerd carriages needed just a little bit more common sense please for the sake of humanity.

  18. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The Long Island Rail Road has instigated a Quiet Car policy in which one car is set aside for getting away from Foghorn Leghorns on Phones.

    Of course, this being the Long Island Rail Road, who are to ideas as soup is to concrete, there are a few "gotchas".

    a) The Quiet Car is always the west most car in the train, which means in the morning the one in which every rail crossing is signaled by blowing a rack of airhorns located *under* the said car. Nothing says peace and quiet like FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRN! every three minutes.

    2) Compliance is voluntary. By doing this the Long Island Rail Road has inadvertently invented the world's most powerful Git Attractant.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Bah!

      The "Quiet" carriage is often misunderstood to be the carriage that has the least noise inside.

      In fact its true purpose is to attract and contain the loud mobile phone users, and by doing so makes all the other carriages quieter.

  19. Oh Bother

    Trains ...

    Double decker trains? Or are the bridges too low?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Trains ...

      The bridges are definiterly too low... But sometimes i think they are still not low enough.

    2. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: Trains ...

      Hmm. I travelled on a double decker train in Holland recently and I wondered why we don't have them here.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Trains ...

        Bulleid designed a double decker EMU for the Charing Cross to Dartford service. In reality it was more 'deck and a half' rather than the true double deckers of continental services as the upper and lower decks were staggered - upper decks alternated with lower decks - the upper decks' seats being about at the height of where a lower deck's overhead luggage rack would normally be. Designed in the late 1940s, they were finally taken out of service in 1971.

        unfortunately, the rather restrictive UK loading gauge doesn't really allow for true double deckers.

  20. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    You don't know how lucky you are

    I've only ridden trains from London -> Salisbury, Windemere, York and Amsterdam, at off-peak times, but man, do I wish the U.S. had more rail service, even if wretched. Paris, because you lucky lot can train to Paris at 100+ mph without having to endure the indignities of U.S. TSA Neanderthals.

    1. Andrew Meredith

      Re: You don't know how lucky you are

      What the holy Grud have you got against Neanderthals !!??

  21. Gannettt

    Nothing new

    Saw a programme on BBC2 about 5 years ago called "Meet the British", a compilation of clips from Central Office of Information films shown overseas to promote Britain. One clip from a 1970s film featured "The Brain Train", where earnest young things talked earnestly on a train between Cambridge and London.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Nothing new

      earnest young things talked earnestly on a train between Cambridge and London.

      we used to get regular security lectures about not talking business on trains, after one of our directors heard two engineers in the seat behind him discussing a yet-to-be-released product. Fine with me, I just took a book & bought a beer.

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Would this work?

    Would this work? Honestly, the few times I've been on the train, I have not felt like talking to anyone. If anything, I'd want to get some work done or zone out before getting to work; which I don't need a special train car to do.

  23. Truth4u

    I want the cattle trucks

    Take the seats out, they're too small anyway.

    You could fit many more people on the train if everyone stood up. I think all rush hour trains should be like this and people who are not able-bodied should not be allowed to travel at rush hour, quite frankly.

  24. StuartF

    The boffins at the Fletcher Academy for Regional Transition Strategy (FARTS) have recommended merging National Rail and the NHS into a single body

    Fast efficient operations while you travel to work and for the lucky few a flat bed all the way. Mobile doctors surgery with appointments in that wasted travel time. Get on the train at Ashford wake up without a pancreas at St Pancreas.

    Delicate operations would need to be performed on lines without points. Or a vasectomy in Vauxhall could be a sex change by Basingstoke

    No more expensive building of hospitals use that spare capacity outside of rush hour to take the hospital to the people.

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