I put this up about 2 weeks ago on The Tap Blog. It didn’t last long, before Google removed it…..
There is something very fishy going on with the trains and the stations. Bath station has been done up, and still is being done up. Huge amount of money going into public transport. At last. Amazing transformation. I really like it! …….Until yesterday when I started noticing things.
I got a train from Bath to Swindon yesterday. Bath station seemed to have an almost military style presence. There are security guards everywhere that look like armed police. There was a policeman on the platform. No friendly ticket inspectors any more, just automated barriers. We were sort of herded onto the train. The whistle was blown several times before we were all on, and those of us that were still queuing to get in were getting a bit fearful. My guess is that they are now employing a certain selected personality type to patrol stations and trains.
A few months ago, body scanning was trialled at Bath station for security reasons (security of OWG of course), supported by our LibDem MP, Don Foster who used to be ok I thought. At Swindon, there was a security announcement on the station, reminiscent of the IRA terrorist threat times. The guy at the shop said this has been happening for ages, since 911. Well we don’t get those announcements at Bath station. Why not? I am guessing there are very different population types in Bath and Swindon, which have very different purposes planned for them. On the way back on the train, another security announcement to remind us, of course, that there is a big threat that is getting worse, and we would be much safer if only there were more controls in place. Soon the people will be begging for more control!
Back to the stations. I got out at Swindon (this is probably an unusual journey, Bath to Swindon, most people from Bath would not get out at Swindon! I live here, I know. The contrast is huge). The front of Swindon station is being redeveloped too! What a strange coincidence. The security guards and barriers are already in place. Now they are working on better access to the entrances with good turning circles (I think the cover story is for taxis at Bath). At Bath they now have 3 vehicle approaches instead of 1, and 3 entrances to the station instead of 1. And there has been a big fight over the vehicle/disabled ramp to the London bound platform which has now been removed… I am sure that is significant, but can’t work out why at the moment. They seem to be doing the same at Swindon station i.e. improving the vehicle access.
It is odd that the vehicle access is being improved if private cars are going to be out of use. Will it be buses or trucks? The access barriers only take anonymous card tickets at present, but soon of course, they will be ID stamped tickets so all our movements in and out of the stations are monitored. This already happens in London with the Oystercard scheme, which I thought was really good until today!
I was in London in November and we went to look at Kings Cross station to see platform 9.5. The whole station has been massively modernised, big airy spacious, loads of room everywhere. For the Olympics, perhaps? The Olympics is the biggest cover story of the year, (cover up, that is, nothing to do with the cover sheet of the newspaper). Paddington looks pretty good too. Though I am more curious about the ones on the Monopoly Board, which I think might hide some secrets. Liverpool St, Marylebone, Kings Cross, and Fenchurch St, wherever that is? I mean why put stations on the Monopoly Board? Monopoly is so obviously a OWG invention.