Those hardy commuters of Kent and East Anglia must be wondering whether they will ever have to pay for their season tickets again, should the Tories return for a fourth term. John Major's much heralded Citizen's Charter will propose that when trains are 10 minutes late or more, passengers should be reimbursed with a free journey.
A cause for celebration on the platforms of Orpington, Colchester or Braintree maybe, but a nightmare scenario for BR chairman Sir Bob Reid. Management Today's back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that on the basis of BR's latest revenue and records for punctuality, the total bill could be as much as £270 million - equal to nearly half of its subsidy. Apart from the passengers, the only beneficiaries would be lawyers.
A BR spokesman says: "We'll have to determine who was to blame for any delays. Was it power failure, or a motorist stranded at a level crossing and such like?"