I’m writing this on the train back to London after a pleasant break with my friends in Harrogate: I can’t really understand why anyone would willingly travel any other way. In an ideal world we’d beam from place to place like Star Trek characters, wasting no time at all, but given that the laws of physics do apply, any other method of transportation has an unacceptable amount of waste involved – whether it’s waste time or waste energy. Even in the days before on-board wi-fi and mobile phones, a train journey was always an opportunity either to relax and recharge one’s batteries or to do something useful before you arrived at your destination. Now I can catch up with my emails, check Facebook, listen on-line to the cricket commentary and, yes, even post a new blog entry. My only regret is that I’ve missed some of the fantastic views out of the window.
OK, when the train’s delayed or even cancelled it’s very frustrating, but you’re far more likely to be delayed by traffic whilst driving. Even when you are delayed, it doesn’t have to be bad: I recall returning from Scotland some years ago on the Flying Scotsman (no, not the steam locomotive – it was just the name of the 12 noon service from Edinburgh to London) when we ground to a halt near Northallerton; at the time, I was just starting lunch in the dining car. After a short while, the driver announced that there were cows on the line ahead, and we would have to wait until they had been rounded up and removed from the track. All I will say was that it was the most comfortable railway meal I can remember – not a drop was spilled, and we all got extra portions!