I’m going to Bath next month, and as usual I had a quick look at the EasyJet timetable to see how much it would cost. And then I had a thought. “All the extra security stuff means flying’s 10% travelling and 90% hanging around being pissed off,” I told myself. “And when you fly, you still need the airport bus and the train from Bristol to Bath, so it’s hardly quick.”
I agreed with myself. Yes, flying’s quite a big pain in the arse.
“So why not take the train? It’s not as if you need to nip out for a smoke every 40 minutes any more.”
I had to admit, I made a good point. I haven’t considered taking the train to Bath since several years ago, when I discovered that it would take a million years, cost a million quid and have me cooped up without anywhere to smoke for considerably longer than 40 minutes. I no longer smoke, and there are bound to be decent deals available online.
So I went online. Oh dear.
You’d need to be a very committed eco-weenie – or scared shitless of flying – to take the train over the plane. And if you’re that committed you wouldn’t travel in the first place, so this post is pretty much irrelevant to you. But if you did want to travel and you aren’t scared of flying, the train can’t compete. It’s not even close.
If I fly, I need to be at the airport for around 8am. Assuming I’m not delayed, I’ll be in Bristol for 10am, which gets me into Bath for around 11am, 11.30am. My total travelling time would be three and a bit hours.
If I get the train, I start later – just after 9am – but I’m on the train for much longer. Assuming I’m not delayed I’ll get into Bath just after 4pm. Six hours fifty-three minutes, says TheTrainLine.com. There are a few other options, but they take the travel time up to seven, eight, even nine hours.
The longer journey might be worth it if there were a big price difference, and there is. Unfortunately it’s in the wrong direction. The cost of return flights, the Bristol airport Flyer bus and a return from Temple Meads to Bath is £67.48. The cheapest train ticket I can find is £125.65. No, that isn’t First Class. The cheapest ticket for that is £294.
To nick a line from someone on Twitter the other day: There appears to be a misunderstanding. I want to travel to Bath. I don’t want to buy it.