The East Coast Main Line National Express trains are to stop serving tea in cups and saucers. Apparently passengers in First Class dining cars complain about the noise of spoons rattling about in their saucers, so mugs are replacing cups and saucers (couldn’t they just switch to plastic spoons?)
The new-style drinking vessels are designated as ‘quiet mugs’, and although still made of china, have undergone extensive testing, both with trains going at speed, passing other trains travelling in the opposite direction and rounding curves (really?).
The new crockery will not be used by Standard Class passengers, however, who will still be served out of cardboard cups.
The first cup and saucer appeared on a British train on the trial run of a dining car by the Great Northern Railway between London and Peterborough in 1879, which means they could not have received many complaints over the ensuing 129 years.
I used to travel a lot – and always paid extra for first class (to avoid the screaming kids), and a cup of tea served properly in a cup and saucer was one of those refined delicacies which made the trip just a tiny bit more enjoyable.
The decision to stop serving tea correctly makes me a bit sadder this morning.