I had lunch last week with Team Nottingham and our guest was Lilian Greenwood – MP for Nottingham South. Lilian is in the shadow Transport team and has specific responsibility for rail. That is clearly a really interesting gig – especially with HS2.
But we did have a discussion around more pressing things about rail. Notably the service from Nottingham to London on East Midlands Trains. I use the service a lot. In fact this blog post is (slowly) being written in Carriage G!
Many of the group in Team Nottingham have the opportunity to use the East Coast Main Line – and rave about it. It is quicker, cheaper and has brilliant wifi.
I wouldn’t suggest for one moment that EMT is cheap – unless you book in advance. And booking in advance takes away all flexibility. So if I miss my train that’s it – the ticket is worthless. It’s ok for EMT to be 5 minutes late but it’s not for me.
But my real issue is the wifi – which in first class if free. But free shouldn’t mean useless? The service is woeful. It is slow and frequently drops. Sometimes it’s better to tether to my iPhone. Except that the phone signal is equally poor. EMT have a quiet carriage where phones are banned, in my experience most of the carriages are quiet – because phones don’t work…
I know that technology moves quickly and it’s easy to get left behind. But wifi is now such a critical part of business that this is a top priority! It’s not just about trains, it’s actually about our cities. We need to make sure that people can connect and work almost anywhere. I wouldn’t dream of booking a hotel now unless it had free wifi.
One of life’s essentials?