Trains

I’m writing this post from a wifi enabled train, heading up the East Coast main line to Newcastle. Getting on the train at Kings Cross reminded me of how I arrived in that station, just over 11 years ago. Hauling all my wordly possessions with me in a move to London which was, in retrospect, completely insane. Kings Cross hasn’t changed that much, and the Small Person opined that Paddington is far nicer as she narrowly missed being clobbered over the head by a briefcase for the third time in as many minutes.

We survived Kings Cross and managed to get on the train, the trains are much nicer than the old Inter City 125s, a mode of transport that featured strongly in my car-free childhood. My parents thought nothing of waking myself and my two little sisters up at 5am to take us on a day trip from Newcastle to London, we loved these trips and the train was part of the fun. My only recollection of one of these trips was having breakfast in the restaurant car, no idea where we were going or why but hey, we got to eat breakfast on a train, so who cared?

I still like trains, we should travel this way more often. As a child I always wanted to go on a sleeper train, I didn’t think such things would exist anymore, but they do! A few days in Aberdeen might be nice …

simon r jones on the 07 Oct 2006:

i must admit i love train travel. Living in Cambridge now I don’t have a car (tis a very small town) and I tend to travel around the country by train. I do remember as a kid the South East trains being somewhat old and cranky but its always been a pretty relaxing journey for me by train. While down under at Christmas last year we took a sleeper train from Adelaide to Sydney – that really is the way to travel!

Molly E. Holzschlag on the 10 Oct 2006:

I, too, am enamoured of train travel. But of course, as with any travel, that’s only if it goes smoothly ;-)

Another interesting aspect of trains is hearing them whistle at night. It might be one of the lonliest, longing sounds I’ve ever heard. What’s more, when I was a child, we lived in a house that was set about a half an acre from the tracks, and the trains rattling by each night, shaking the house gently, was a source of comfort and continuity to me.

Trains are fundamentally far more romantic than planes, much like the way I think it must have been to have to take a ship across large bodies of waters prior to air travel. It took longer, the adventuresome nature of it was far more inherent. Oh for the days when time was, well, slower :)

Olly Hodgson on the 11 Oct 2006:

Mmm, I quite like travelling by train – as long as it goes smoothly… more of them need wifi though :)

Kathy Bragg on the 11 Oct 2006:

We schlepped our way up to the Isle of Mull via the Caledonian Sleeper to Glasgow. I made the instantly-recognisable mistake of not paying the extra for a berth, and we endured a sleep-free night of uncomfortable restlessness. Despite what the gentleman on the booking line might think, you cannot sleep in the seats.
On the journey home, we had berths, and the whole experience was much more enjoyable. I’d not hesitate to travel on the sleeper again.
It’s enormous though – there wasn’t quite room in my brain for just how long the train was. Seeing it waiting on the platform is quite a sight. I regressed to childhood right there and then, with the big eyes and wide-open mouth.

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