Whatever improvements Network Rail and Virgin Trains make to the West Coast Main Line, it will take the route a long time to live down the "misery line" label.
Indeed, while journeys may have become more pleasant in recent years, even Virgin admits the service may become increasingly overcrowded in the near future.
But at least the West Coast Main Line looks good in comparison to the service offered to passengers in Worcestershire and Herefordshire by First Great Western.
Its trains have the worst record for punctuality in the country, according to the official watchdog.
But the figures don't always show the full story. When a train is late, it may not be by 15 minutes. The delay may last for hours. And sometimes, trains never reach their destination at all.
We all know that today's compassionate Conservatives would rather be seen on public transport than behind the wheel of a car.
But Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff reflects the feelings of many commuters when he admits he has given up on the rail service.
If passengers can't be sure when their train is likely to arrive at its destination, or even whether it will complete the journey at all, they will eventually give up.
No amount of good intentions will lead us to use a service which simply doesn't work.
As a result, Mr Luff is driving between his constituency and Westminster, rather than placing his fate in the hands of an unpredictable rail system.
He insists he would take the train if he could as, apart from anything else, he quite enjoys it - when services are reliable.
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, has warned that things cannot continue as they are. But it remains to be seen whether this is more than an empty threat.
Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, is looking into the performance of First Great Western, according to Mr Darling. However, this does not amount to a guarantee that any action will be taken if its performance is found to be wanting - as it surely will.
In fairness, it is very difficult in today's rail system to be certain who exactly is to blame for poor performance.
The Government did take a radical approach when it effectively re-nationalised Railtrack, creating Network Rail.
It is unlikely to repeat this approach by running state-controlled rail services, but sometimes you wonder if the Government could do any worse than the private sector.