If you've ever had the pleasure of commuting to and from London during rush hour, you'll know that it's anything but pleasant. People are packed into tiny rain carriages, the toilets are abysmal, and the conductors still manage to navigate the entire train to catch out people who snuck on with an off-peak ticket. Not that I have first-hand experience of that or anything...
Chiltern Railways has decided enough is enough, and will be trialling a new experience that will see anyone commuting from Oxford to London strap on a VR headset and seemingly teleport themselves to Western Australia.
As you might already expect, the whole thing isn't out of the goodness of Chiltern's heart. It is a rail company after all, and they won't give you anything nice unless you pay out of the arse for it. It's actually a publicity stunt by Tourism Western Australia which is celebrating the first non-stop flight between our two countries.
So instead of staring at the seat in front of you, listening to small children scream, or squeezing against the wall while a fat man with a briefcase and a comb-over traverses the entirety of the sardine tin of a train looking for a single empty seat you can magic yourself away to the land down under and do things you can't really do in South East England. Things like swimming with whale sharks, cycling along the Rottnest Island nature reserve, or playing with quokkas the animals that always seem to be smiling.
It's definitely sounds a lot nicer than squeezing into a tiny toilet cubicle, avoiding the poo someone left in the middle of the floor, and trying to have a wee without getting it on your shoes. It's even be suggested that positive feedback would lead to similar VR experiences being rolled out on train services throughout the UK.
The press release I was sent contained absolutely zero information on when the VR experience would arrive on trains, so I've emailed back to ask and will update this when someone gets back to me. It had plenty of information about flying to Perth from London, though, which takes 17 hours on a Qantas Dreamliner. If you want to check out the experience for yourself without having to get on a train first, it will be on show at two Travelbag stores on Saturday 10th March. The Winchester branch will have it between 10am and 1pm, while the Kensington branch will let you have a go between 3pm and 6pm.