In praise of reuse over recycling: trains

I love the green arguments for reuse over recycling. The old 60s arguments is that it takes 10 years of carbon energy to make a car… so running an old gas-guzzling banger is better than scrapping it and buying a Prius. It’s interesting that the government has, therefore, started a scrappage scheme… it doesn’t hold to a green test! And, it’s also interesting that reuse is part of my kids refrain when they quote Bob the Builder (or is it Engi Bengi?)

And so to trains…

I’ve heard of the Shrewsbury service that’s rivalling Virgin. I’m now sat on Grand Central, the service that runs from Sunderland to London. While National Express has been taken into state control for overestimating its profit-potential, Grand Central is making business with the same model: fixed price fares, old stock, simple service.

Grand Central costs £58 single – where I’ve paid £80+. Their staff feel a sense of mission – they are the challenger brand. The tables have monopoly and draughts in the formica. And, Marilyn Monroe smiles at the end of train graphics. The train is dead old, but neat. Who cares, when you get smiles from the staff who are delighted you are trying their service!

Reusing redundant capacity. Reusing and re-purposing throw-away kit. There’s such an honest appeal to it. Bring it on… it’s going to be big, as the government announces (today) that carbon targets will be written into law.


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