Leaving Penzance on the sleeper is always exciting. The lights of the harbour reflect on the sea and twinkle into the distance as you zoom along Mounts Bay and up towards London. I love it, it is the only way to travel. The tedious journey vanishes and you wake up in Paddington ready for breakfast in bed and then a hot chocolate in the first class lounge! It’s fab, and quite good value – much cheaper than a hotel.
This week I joined the speedy rush for the underground and by 8.00am I was in Hyde Park where I wandered around with the jet-lagged tourists and early morning joggers. One of my favourite city sights is the Peter Pan statue, I love it and always try to go and have a look if I’m near by!
On the way home, my top tip for relaxing travel is to book onto the 18.03 train and beat the rush to the restaurant car. For the price of a normal meal out, you get three courses with coffee, and get to sit in first class for the rest of the journey.
Despite this being a lovely way to travel, it appears that I am one of very few women to take this option. There are two first class carriages on the Penzance train, on Wednesday, both were full. Now this is the important bit, there were only four women sitting in first class! This really hit me and demonstrated that the pay gap between men and women seems to be alive and kicking. Is it really only men that can afford to use the first class carriages?
There is of course one other explanation, maybe women are more likely to shun the elitism of first class; or of course, it could be a one off, maybe Thursday’s train was full of women.
So, I don’t know why there was a rail travel gender gap, but I am sure that it has something to do with the fact that women who work full time in the UK earn 17.3% less than men and this increases to 23% less if part-time workers are taken into account (BBC, 2009). The glass ceiling is still very much in place in the UK.