Astonishing train ticket prices

I had to go to the Met Office in its shiny new Exeter building today. This involves getting up at 6:30, catching the 7:15 from Cambridge to Kings Cross then the 9:05 from Paddington to Exeter. Guess how much the return ticket by train cost? Bought then-and-there, from the station? Can't guess? I bet you can't. The answer is a truely mind-boggling £160. Fortunately my employer is paying that not me.

Now... I do my best to be eco-friendly and take the train not drive when possible. But not everyone is so keen; and not everyone has their employer paying. How can we expect people to choose the train when the prices are that high? I think, though due to shortness of time and a queue behind me I didn't have time to check, that the main price element was the cost of the 9:05 out of Paddington, this being priced to gouge the business folk. But oddly enough, that train was nearly empty, as who wants to pay that kind of price? They would make more money with prices half as high but trains half full instead of 95% empty. For £160 I could get to Nice and back twice, or to Vienna once and a bit. In fact, it would be both cheaper and quicker (err... if we went back to pre-panic checkin times) for me to get there if the Met Office had relocated to Nice not Exeter...

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