"By the time you've made a couple of changes of line it gets distinctly unpleasant."
Getting on the first train is distinctly unpleasant, rubbing shoulders and viruses with the great unwashed. I did 10 years commuting daily by train in the UK and can categorically state the following facts:
a) 2 out of 10 trains per week were late or cancelled.
b) I've never had as many colds or influenza before or since. From Oct-Apr every year, every day someone on the train would be sneezing in close proximity without using a tissue or handkerchief to catch the spray.
c) 5 out of 10 trains per week I had to stand for at least 50% of a 50 mile journey.
I'm sure that is quite good compared to what I hear Southern Rail is like these days in the UK.