Interrail is going – well, it’s going all over Europe, but it is not going to the UK. The reasons are complex and confusing, so let’s just blame Brexit.
Except London. You can go to London. But that’s only because they haven’t closed the channel tunnel yet.
The original, Victorian, channel tunnel was cancelled because of the fear of invasion. The 21st century killjoys don’t want to be invaded by wide-eyed young foreigners talking in foreign.
But even worse is the fear of radicalisation by the EU. “We can’t have young people growing up believing that rail services can be cheap, efficient, and worst of all, publicly owned!” spluttered unelected British bureaucrat Rusty Rayles.
It’s pure xenophobia too, of course. “We strongly believe that British seats on British trains in Britain should be taken by British bottoms, and not by foreign arses,” insisted Rayles, turning a bit more gammony. “Imagine if, on your way to work, your usual seat is taken up by some scruffy long-haired oik from Madrid called Pedro, smelling of garlic, playing a guitar and talking loudly to his mates across the carriage in Spanish! The very notion is abhorrent!”
In these small-minded times, freedom of movement is regarded as a bad thing. Official thinking is that people should stay in one place, and be of one mind, unless their feudal overlord grants them leave. No train, no gain.
“We want our railways back!” harrumphed Rayles. “Hundreds of different companies! Stations in the middle of nowhere! Smoke, steam, and travelling to nowhere in particular at a snail’s pace! First class for the people who matter, and a couple of cattle trucks for the rest! And we don’t want them to be used by every Tomas, Ricardo and Henriques!”
Change here for Brexit Britain. Yes, the train carries on, but you must get off. Unfortunately, the line hasn’t been built yet and the route is still undecided. Here, let’s shunt you into a siding for a bit. Rejoice!