The state of British railways in 2018

There's one man and one woman. She's chatting away to his smiling face.

She's describing toilet roll holders. Not the 'contained ones' the man mentions and describes by moving both hands downwards, as if stroking a large orb. It's the 'bar ones'.

Without looking down an index finger extends outwards, quickly drawing a horizontal line from left to right no more than 20cm long.

It's platform 5 at Liverpool South Parkway train station, and they making sure passengers alight the right train.

A curled up leaf left dry by the sun lies on the pavement. I register it too late and stop when it is a metre behind me. It's a lovely day and I'm early for my train so I go back to crunch the leaf satisfyingly.

14 rows packed rows, without an empty seat in sight, all face me as I stand in front of them. They've forgotten how to smile and they don't want to talk.

Her there, that lawyer in the front row, hasn't forgotten how to draft an email to a recruitment agent requesting help in looking for positions in the Middle East or Hong Kong. She wants to start an informal conversation at a time that's convenient for Jamie.

Next to her a white shirt watches his screen. He watches suits prance around with serious expressions on their faces.

Another wanker searches for the best of Madonna. Number four is typing #armani on Instagram. The beady eyes at the end peak up from his book eager not to miss his station. I don't think he will. It's is the last stop and he'll follow the crowd off the train.

Most of all, I hated him because he gave a shit about selling houses


a high standard of customer service from the beginning to the end of the moving experience.

When you spend your whole time on trains, it always looks like you have somewhere to be.