Here’s a fact that might raise an eyebrow. Did you know that it is illegal to resell a train ticket?

I only realised this when I tried to sell a couple of tickets that I now don’t need on Gumtree (awesome website) and Gumtree quickly removed it, emailing me the reason why.

So I now have the hat-trick of money going into railways for seats that I won’t be sitting on in the space of a few short months: 

1 – Forgetting that I’d already printed out my ticket and then turning up at King’s Cross station without it costing me a £113 walk-on fare

2 – Absentmindedly getting on an East Coast train that left 30 minutes later than my own one costing me £146

3 – And now, this weekend, having to change my travel plans at the last minute and being unable to sell my ticket because the law, the law!, is working against me, costing me £68

It’s enough to drive a person to the reliably cheap Megabus or the guiltily dirty Easyjet. 

Of course, underpinning all of the three issues above is the fact that booking a train ticket on the day of travel is so maddeningly exorbitantly expensive. In the first two instances, the charge wouldn’t have been so stomach-churningly steep and in the third instance I wouldn’t have needed to gamble on booking a ticket at the reduced price before knowing for sure what my travel plans were going to be.

The really annoying thing is that this pricing structure that these railway companies are so insistent upon is actually subsidising richer people. The more organised amongst us tend to be the middle to upper classes. That might be a crass generalisation but it’s also true. Who is more likely to get those 12-week advance tickets? The web-savvy business-person or the elderly pensioner who only travels on trains on special occasions and has never heard of let alone appreciates how great the app is?

I don’t even want to think of the people with shallower pockets than I who have been hit even harder than the three examples above for simple human error. They are the ones that are subsidising the super-early-advance tickets and it is high time that it is stopped and fares were flattened out.

One answer, and it is an answer that Scotland is hopefully more amenable to, is to nationalise the railways. To make the rail service a system that works for the people and not a vessel to make profits. The philosophy could, and should, be grossed out across numerous institutions, power companies and banks making giant profits while people struggle to make ends meet sticks in the craw too, but the railways are a decent first step on that journey.

I daresay the SNP would be worried that it would come over as too leftie, too Socialist, if it proposed renationalising the railways and, to be fair, it wasn’t in their manifesto so there is no mandate anyway. However, Ken Macintosh has pleasingly put the policy forward in his campaign to lead Labour and, if he is successful in his charge to take over from Iain Gray, some pressure may be placed on the Scottish Government to look into it as an option.

Anyway, if anyone needs to get from Penrith to London today leaving 12noon and likes the idea of sitting in first class, don’t contact me. That’s right, don’t contact me.