Trained in the art of drinking
Commuting can be a chore at the best of times… And once upon a time, in a more, (or is that less) enlightened time, the custodians of our public transport knew that. They cared for us and wanted our journeys to be better, more enjoyable experiences.
So they did stuff like put bars on, or in, tube stations. Sloane Square had a lovely little pub on the westbound platform. Well, when I say lovely, I mean it had a pub on the west bound station, which while not being a on a par with the American Bar at the Savoy, did serve its purpose well… Allowing weary shoppers and workers to have a stiffener before heading home.
I suppose at some point health and safety stepped in with concerns about inebriated travellers stepping out of the platform and onto the live tracks. Or the bar simply wasn’t making enough money. Whatever. It’s gone now.
Of course train stations still know the power of a well timed drink…
Most of the big ones manage to pack in at least one or two bars. Some like the snazzy new St Pancras international are positively brimming with swish establishments. Others like Waterloo, which while surrounded by bars in the close environs, still relegate their own bar offering to a subterranean circle of hell down some dingy steps that gives you the impression that you’re descending to the gents loos.
To give Waterloo their credit though, they have made an effort to improve matters with a new mezzanine floor. But you get the feeling this isn’t about catering to the needs of travellers, and more about relieving them of lots of their cash before they embark on their overpriced train journeys.
My advice? First and foremost it’s don’t drink pints before getting on the train… it ends in tears! Or a forced exit in search of a loo, or a long walk through a crowded train on the hunt for the one loo, which, if it is working fills you with the dread that the door will open at any time and expose you to the derision of other passengers.
Other than that, it’s every man and woman for themselves!