Steam railway meets steam cellular network

Posted on by Mike Evans

We hear all this talk about 4G. But what about good 3G coverage everywhere? As a city dweller I hadn’t realised until this week just how abysmal the 3G coverage can be in some parts of Britain. I am just returning from a three-day excursion to visit the North Yorkshire Moors preservation railway. This gem of a resurrected line runs between the small market town of Pickering and Whitby on the east coast.

I found the railway in fully working order, which is more than I can say for Vodafone. After leaving York on the 90-minute bus ride to Pickering, I never again saw a 3G signal on either my iPhone or iPad. It was the same on the way back today. Most of the time I sat looking at the little circle, which denotes previous-generation 2G. Sometimes, even, I would glimpse the E of Edge. But the 3G icon was absent.

Couple this misfortune with abysmal wifi in my chosen hotel and I had a good excuse to avoid writing. Hence my absence from this site for a couple of days. I am now sitting at York railway station, a major place in the world of railways, and still I see only the E of Edge. It’s like watching paint dry. I get more consistently reliable service in Greece, a mountainous country which must be so much more difficult for the local cellular networks.

Before we get all worked up about 4G we could do with some serious improvements to the current services.

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