I was told that 29.01.11 doesn’t sound like a good date for a terrorist attack, doesn’t have the right media ring to it. I hope they’re right.
The train’s delayed by 10 minutes. I feel delayed by a life time. What a shitty night, I am emotionally exhausted.
10.31 expt. 1042.
It’s freezing. I suspect I look like shit. I’d like to sleep on this train but that’s not really the purpose of the trip! Coach E seat 33. Hope it’s an aisle seat.
It’s a long train. I’ve sat in my seat as it’s the sort of ‘busy with reservations’ that although there are seats no-one wants to risk it. People dither trying to decide before heading for their reserved seat.
It’s a nice day. Blue sky dragged with traces of softly mottled clouds. The fields yellow and brown and green and frosty, which is the only clue it’s not an early Summer’s day. Taking the route of the Flying Scotsman.
The train reminds me of a video in the NRM, its the same type of train.
The woman in the seat next to me is completing a ‘Pick Me Up’ puzzle, ‘Crack It’.
A girl in a green coat got on in York. She had a shoulder bag and a coffee from AMT, probably a latte. She looked tired, defeated almost, asking a woman if she could move so she could get to her seat, she sat down, drunk the rest of her coffee and pulled out a chunky, spiral bound notebook. The sort with loose leaf bits of paper secured between pages, looking around a bit befre writing and then stopping occasionally to look pensive or to look out of the window or to close her eyes.
Been for a walk. Coach F has fewer reservations and many spare seats. I was tempted to move but then I’m supposed to be trying to get closer to people. Guess its my frame of mind.
Coach H houses the buffet bar. Quite large, unusual for trains these days. This is the London train though, faster, bigger and more luxurious.
An older woman in a maroon coat sits next to the girl in the green coat. Shortly after the girl asks to get up, she disappears for quite some time. When she returns the ticket collector is almost there which causes a small kerfuffle as seats are vacated and then taken so that everything is back in its place.
The vestibules are spacious, I spent some time standing looking out the windows, its more invigorating somehow. I saw a man and two dogs in a field.
She rests her tired, hung-over head on the cool glass of the window, listening (without a choice) to the personal (ha!) music player of a woman in a mustard cardigan behind her. She can’t tell what the music is, but errs on the side of, ‘not very good’. After she reaches this conclusion she opens her eyes and writes again in her notebook, her eyebrows furrowed, serious in mood or perhaps just in concentration.
I nod off for a while and a man with a loud middle class voice wakes me up:
He apologises to the person on the other end of his mobile phone, if signal is lost its because he’s on the train. He tries to book a table for tonight. 5.30-6pm ish.
I decide he lives in London and knows how it all works there, How self assured, knowing a number for a restaurant in London that he’d like to take someone out to. How exotic this seems.
There’s a table at 7.15, he doesn’t take it, they need to be at the theatre for 8.
Dinner and the theatre on a Saturday night in London. That’s living. Knowing how such a life is lived in such a busy place, that’s admirable, enviable.
The optimistic blue skies have turned grey. This is an exciting trip. The thought of the capital.
National Science Museum discoveries:
Puffing Billy: (circa) 1814, designed by William Hedley, designed to pull coal along rail tracks at Wylam Colliary.
Stephenson’s Rocket: 1829, designed by George Stephenson, designed for a competition, which it won achieving 29mph along the Liverpool/Manchester Railway (passenger line).
Columbine: 1845, designed by Stephenson and Locke, designed to run on the new ‘Junction railway’, Britain’s first trunk railway 1837.
Authorised by Parliament in 1833 and designed by George Stephenson and Joseph Locke, the Grand Junction Railway opened for business on 4 July 1837, running for 82 miles (132 km) from Birminghamthrough Wolverhampton (via Perry Barr and Bescot), Stafford, Crewe, and Warrington, then via the existing Warrington and Newton Railway to join the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at a triangular junction at Newton Junction. The GJR established its chief engineering works at Crewe, moving there from Edge Hill, in Liverpool.
Between 1844 -47 so many railway proposals were accepted by parliament that the basic national network (as we still know it today) was complete by 1850. – meaning the same lines (and in some cases one might think even track) have been in operation for 160 years.