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Gilbert's Letter to The Times, 28 September 1897
Issue 35320, pg. 10 col C


The London and North-western Railway

Sir, — Allow me to corroborate Dean Gregory's statement as to the degeneration that has overtaken a company which, until recently, was justly regarded as a pattern to all other lines in the matter of punctuality and rapidity of despatch. During the holiday season — say, from the middle of July to the end of August — the local trains to Watford and St. Alban's frequently left Euston from 30 to 45 minutes after the advertised time. Trains were continually 30 to 40 minutes late in arriving at a station less than ten miles from London, and the ordinary up trains from Watford are frequently 15 minutes late in arriving at Euston. In the face of Saturday the officials of the company stand helpless and appalled. This day, which recurs at stated and well-ascertained intervals, is treated as a phenomenon entirely outside the ordinary operations of nature, and, as a consequence, no attempt whatever is made to grapple with its inherent difficulties. To the question, "What has caused the train to be so late?" the officials reply, "It is Saturday" — as who should say, "It is an earthquake."

Your obedient servant,

W.S. GILBERT

Harrow Weald, Sept. 27.

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