Two weeks ago today, passengers on the West Coast main line bid a fond farewell to Virgin Trains. Who can we travel with now if we want to enjoy perpetual adverts across the train, from posters on the train, notices on our seats, even announcements after the travel information? Probably even over the Wi-Fi if it worked.
Worst of all, the robotic toilets on the new Avanti services no longer speak to us as if they think they’re friends with us. Personally, I can now only go to the toilet if I’ve been made to feel by a machine like there’s somebody else in the room, saying the same joke that wasn’t funny the first time over and over and over again.
I feel bereft, not least because Virgin never had time to employ any of the toilet dialogue I recorded and sent in to help them add more colour to proceedings.
- ‘Hello. It’s me. The toilet! And what do you have for me today? My goodness. Yes, very impressive. Now, come on. Time for you to give your gift. I’ll open wide… Ohhh, yes. Yes, delicious, delicious! Yum, yum, yum, yes please! More! More, please, more, more, more! More! Oh… Is that all? Oh, well, that was wonderful. Now, put your hands in the sink. I’ve got some little treats for you too…’
- ‘Help me. Help me, please. You don’t understand, They trapped me in here. I’m not really a toilet. My name’s Colin. I owed money to Richard Branson, and his men, they, they came round, and put me in this, this thing, I- Oh, God, I miss my family. W- What are you doing? Please, what are you doing?! Please, God, no! No! Oh God-!’ [Speech becomes muffled and inaudible, cries continue]
- The following short suggestions would come after a minute or two of silence with no previous announcement having been heard:
- ‘What the hell are you doing?!’
- ‘That’s lovely, and have you got your railcard too?’
- ‘Toilet door unlocked… Toilet door opening… Ha ha ha. Just joking. You can sit back down. That’s better… Toilet door opening.’
So far, Avanti have not replied to my emails, but I’ve high hopes for at least some of the above being adopted in 2020.