I have just endured an arduous journey to a foreign land in appalling conditions. That’s the last time I take a Transpennine Express to Edinburgh.

I don’t ask for much from a train journey. Give me a seat and stay on the rails and I’m happy. This trip achieved one of those ambitions. As for a seat, I could only stare enviously at those who had boarded before I got on at Carlisle.

I hoped that my mournful expression would persuade someone to give up their seat for a man who might look perfectly healthy but actually has a hidden condition.

Athlete’s foot is a serious business. Especially if you have to stand for an hour and 20 minutes on a train.

I was travelling with my girlfriend. We found a nice place to stand, at the end of a carriage by the luggage rack. This counts as first class for standing passengers. Second class is by the toilets.

Dozens of others were also standing. A couple stood next to us, briefly. After a few minutes they slumped on the floor. This may have been linked to the cans of blackcurrant cider they were drinking.

I tutted, quietly because the man looked quite handy. Not even 11 in the morning and they’re already on the drink!

After half an hour of being buffeted about I was tempted to ask if they had any spares.

Several times that security message you hear on trains these days was played: “If you see something that doesn’t look right, please inform a member of staff.”

My girlfriend always points at me. It seems to amuse her; that’s the main thing.

I didn’t hear any message apologising for the fact that many of us were either sitting on the floor or standing.

The journey brought home to me how accustomed we’ve grown to substandard service on trains. In some ways I’m annoyed that we don’t make more of a fuss. But I’m also pleased because it shows that we haven’t entirely become a nation of moaners.

I’m sure Transpennine Express approves of that interpretation. It’s only a matter of time until they start playing We’ll Meet Again to encourage a bit of Dunkirk spirit.

The return journey was much better. That was on a Virgin train. Virgin had the foresight to put extra carriages on its Edinburgh services throughout the Edinburgh Festival. And the company has just lost the right to operate on the West Coast Mainline. The government has disqualified its bid to continue operating because Stagecoach, a partner in Virgin Trains, has been banned due to a row over pensions. It’s enough to drive you to blackcurrant cider.