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The train runs on time

Whilst I can’t wait for the Olympics I am still concerned about our ability to manage the transport logistics.  Interestingly this new consideration has been brought on by two recent experiences…

  1. A trip to World Travel market last week

  2. A trip across part of Japan this morning

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to WTM.  As ever I cynically allowed a huge amount of time – and I was still late.  30 minutes to Didcot station, 10 mins to park / buy tickets, 40 minutes on the train and then an hour to get across London on the Bakerloo, Jubilee and DLR lines.  Instead of taking the 2.hours predicated it was closer to 3.5 because of missed connections, delays and the inevitable crowds.  I am still not sure why all that added up to an extra hour but it is crazy that I need to allow approximately seven hours for a return journey of about 70 miles…

Oh and on top of the investment in time I had to pay full fare for train journeys where there were no seats – ensuring I could do very little work on the laptop.

Conversely the return leg of the trip was the best I have ever had, all the trains fitted together and it could almost be described as a pleasure.

However, these grievances are not actually the point of this blog.  I am currently in Japan – Kyoto to be precise, meeting current clients and seeking a few new opportunities.

Through the wonderful people at UKTI I have a couple of appointments in towns that are relatively unknown outside of Japan– perhaps on a par with Reading or Northampton.

This morning’s journey is to Handa (I am writing on the train).  UKTI provided me with a full list of travel instructions to help plan the journey – including Japanese translations such as “is the right train to XXX” or “please can you tell me the platform for the train to XXX”.  I am not going to lie, I had a fairly sleepless night wondering how the hell this was all going to work out – three trains and me with very little knowledge of the Japanese language.

It has been an incredible experience – the Shinkansen (bullet train) was superb, every train is minute perfect and not a single transfer has been missed.  My directions (which I was a little

cynical about) have been brilliant – and no end of local people have happily shown me the way.

I first visited Japan about 15 years ago and fell in love then. So far this trip has done nothing to change that opinion.  It has however highlighted our own need to improve our transport infrastructure – particularly with the looming games.


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