Portsmouth to London railway needs updating urgently – Rick Jackson

The standard of our railways has to meet the needs of commuters, says Rick Jackson.
The standard of our railways has to meet the needs of commuters, says Rick Jackson.

I was very interested to hear the government is to carry out an independent review of the railways and the former deputy chairmen of John Lewis will be leading it.

I find this interesting because I’ve always felt that in the service industry, part-employee ownership is the way forward.

It’s felt we have lost confidence in privatisation of the railways and that the franchise system is not offering the public good value for money or a better service.

After a day trip to London a few weeks ago, I found the service to be perfectly fine. The train was on time, clean, tidy and comfortable, even though industrial action was taking place.

But this is not the story for many commuters and those who use the railway a lot.

Overcrowding and expensive fares are still an issue, as is the timetable and the happiness of its staff.

Plenty of public money is constantly being spent on the infrastructure, rebuilt lines, junctions and railway stations are making them better places and new trains are constantly coming on-line.

But it annoys me that any profits made by the railway companies is going back to it’s shareholders, many of them railway companies from Europe and around the world.

John Lewis prides itself on being employee owned. Profits are shared with all it’s staff from the top down, they get the same percentage. There are plenty of other perks too.

This is where I really think our railways would benefit. If they were owned or part-owned by the employees, you know everyone would be trying their hardest to make sure maximum profits were made to supplement their salary at the end of the year.

This is also true of the bus industry, ferry services to our UK islands and even the utility companies.

Is this socialist clap trap?

I wouldn’t know not being that interested in politics, but it simply does make sense.

I really look forward to seeing the results of this review and hope the outcome will be a better, happier railway for its customers and its workers.

Red wine and carpets – it was never going to end well

Well I’m well and truly in the dog house. After enjoying most of a bottle of red wine over the weekend, I was looking forward to finishing off the last couple of glasses on Sunday night in front of the telly.

I left the bottle on the corner cabinet in the lounge. With much frivolity, my two children were happily playing in the lounge, hiding under the cushions.

Fifteen minutes later I heard a scream. It was my wife. Freddie, who is four, had managed to unscrew the lid of the red wine and poured it all over the sofa, taking the carpet with it. White wine was the answer. We had to use a bottle of Sancerre we were having for a special occasion. There is still silence!

It just took a little elbow grease and some motivation

I did something over the weekend I’ve not done in years – I washed our cars. I’d been happy to go to an automatic car wash, but the sun was shining and it was Sunday, so what else do dads really do?

I cleared out both cars, vacuumed, polished and even waxed away some scratches. And both cars are now gleaming thanks to my own elbow grease.

Also, I mowed the lawn – I felt fulfilled.

These are things many men used to do on a Sunday until we started to pay for others to do them for us and I think that’s where I’ve been going wrong. I need to reclaim these jobs that give me a sense of purpose in the running of our family home, and save some cash!