Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Train of thought

Most of my train journeys are simple; Aylesbury to Marylebone and Marylebone to Aylesbury. I don’t bother checking timetables, I know that I can get from my front door to anywhere in London in two hours or less. I consider it my ‘home’ route, a bit like the M40 is my home motorway – when I’m on other motorways I feel I have to drive slower and be more aware of other drivers. The M40 feels safer somehow.

In recent weeks I’ve trained my way to Salford, Warrington and Birmingham. These three journeys require me to change trains. Naturally, I plan my route and know when to get off a train and what time my next train is.

But there’s something that continues to amaze me about actually completing a journey. I know this isn’t how it works, but I think it’s that somewhere in the back of my head, I’m amazed the train knows that I’m there and arrives at the right time to pick me up.


I once bought a ticket for Amtrak over the internet from my living room at home. A few weeks later I was standing outside a portacabin beneath a flyover in St Louis and, sure enough, the train that spans the continent of North America stopped for me. I'm still getting over it.

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