(Post)modern railways?

The Financial Times runs an editorial on today's changeover to the totally new timetable of the Swiss Railways. Thank you, Expatter for making us aware of it!

Knowing the FT's traditional antagonism towards Switzerland and the Swiss in general, which is matched by its ignorance and lack of precision on all matters Swiss, it's hardly surprising that it would rather have us adopt the "postmodern" British model with its "shifting, relative and provisional" train times in order to be less glum.

Nice try at (sarcastic) irony there, but I've got bad news: the changeover worked just fine. At the risk of remaining glum, I prefer the "modern" model to the "postmodern" one any day, thank you very much! I assume the Brits would rather have a bit of glumness injected into their system as well, if I am not very much mistaken. Most likely, the FT's commentator is just not dependent upon a reliable train system, so he can afford to poke cheap fun at people who are, not least his own countrymen.

I am not amused. Can you tell?


Kirk said...

For what it's worth, while it clearly poked fun at the Swiss, I thought it poked much more fun at their own creaky rail system. (And as an outsider not accustomed to efficient public transportation, it's somewhat astounding--in a good way--that the Swiss feel the need to make their train system more efficient than it already is...)

Joel said...

I'd much rather have a modern than a postmodern railway system (by the FT's definition). Judging by the size of the car park at No 1 Southwark Bridge, this chap hasn't had to stand on an empty neon-orange railway platform for a long time.

If postmodern is reaction against the new, or at least incorporation of the old, then shouldn't a postmodern railway in Britain be more reliable?

Chris said...

Thanks, guys, for the consolation & confirmation - I needed that! ;-) I am well aware that to the uninitiated reader, this piece may look like a bit of good natured, well balanced fun. For the same reader, my reaction would certainly look like an over-reaction, confirming the exact cliché of the glum Swiss without any sense of humour.

But coming from the FT, with its history of reporting on Switzerland, the benevolence is just not credible any more, and I am sick & tired of its patronising style.