Saturday, 30 October 2010

A great timetable meets its maker

Over at , which I administer, a contact called Ralph Rawlinson has helpfully briefed us about the end of another of the great printed railway timetables of the world in this information rich and content weak e-world.
>Re your mention of the European timetable. Apologies if it has previously
>been reported here but the Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable will cease
>publication after the Nov/Dec 2010 edition.

I thank Ralph for this titbit. Despite the collection now being at York and with 1.11.10 being my birthday, the good wife set out today to the Newcastle Thomas Cook to buy one of these.

It turned out to be almost impossible. All sorts of hoops were put before her by the staff. Finally the lady on foreign exchange said she would try and order one but not before 10th November!

Have've we been here before? When you want to abandon something the first thing to do is to make it very difficult to procure.

Nonetheless it is the clear trend. Printed railway timetables are dead. Only the great obstinacy of the British has ended up with 2 (TSO and Middleton Press) where we had one. But worldwide, they're finished and those of us with shelfloads of the things can congratulate ourselves on our prescience and wonder how future historians will have a clue about what operated when on national railway networks in the year 2011.

There seems on the part of the operators an almost culpable disdain for what they do and a conviction that whatever it is, it is so horrible that all trace for posterity must be lost.
>. The country now has 7,055 km of high-speed
>railways in operation, ranking first in the world and by 2012 it will have a
>network of 13,000 km.
Perhaps it was just too painful to see that in print about China compared with the British achievement. Maybe some DfT mandarin has been having a quiet world in the ear of a Thomas Cook senior executive?

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