Friday, 1 August 2008

Back on tracks

Of late I've become quite nostalgic for British Rail. Anyone who regularly has to stand crammed with your face stuffed into someone else's armpit on a morning commuter train will probably share that nostalgia.

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time commuting between Hull and London. Boarding the 0700 Inter City 125 to King's Cross was always the beginning of an exciting short break down south - a trip to Wembley perhaps, a function at the Commons and maybe - if we were luck - a possible visit to McDonalds (this was 1980!)

Looking back, it appears to have been a distant golden age - the aisles seemed wider, the seats larger and more importantly, available.

So imagine my shock one Saturday earlier this year when I was told by our Hull Trains stewardess (yes, we have stewardesses on Hull Trains) that we were changing trains at Doncaster and what we were going to continue our journey on.

As they were waiting for the arrival of new trains, the train operator leased some Inter City carriages and an old diesel engine to cover for weekend services.

It was like a scene from Life from Mars. We were quite literally being transported back in time to the eighties.

And you know what - the seats were bigger and the aisles were wider. Sadly the toasted
ham and cheese sandwich cooked under the grill wasn't on offer. But it didn't stop me fondly remembering it all the way back to London.

As we left Doncaster, we were greeted by a flash of lights as eager trainspotters captured the journey for posterity. I think the new trains have arrived so this particular 125 has once more gracefully slipped back into retirement.

But I've just managed to track down some of footage from Youtube. Enjoy!

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