A Thread of Trains

Built in 1976 in fact. Finally being replaced at the moment fortunately - I think they’ve got 6 out of about 25 new ones running so far.

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Good knowledge!

Best: Zurich to Interlaken. Mountains are very pretty you know.
Also enjoy King’s Cross to Edinburgh

Worst: Swansea to Bristol when some pissed bloke talked my fucking ear off and told me as we were going through the tunnel under the River Severn that there were probably at least three people on the train who would happily kill me for a fiver. Cheers, mate.

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Big fan of the Exeter to Cornwall journey, the mountain view from Zurich to Sargans, there’s a bit I think between Dresden and Prague that goes by a valley and that’s very beautiful too.

Worst journey: the one where, having worked in retail for 6 hours, spent 2 hours going to north London, 3 hours learning shorthand, and 2 hours getting back from north London ALL WHILST BEING ILL, my train stopped 2 minutes outside my home station and stayed there for half an hour because a train had gone on the wrong journey and was blocking the platform. We were given 3 sets of conflicting reports of what would be happening next, meaning my dad drove from Paddock Wood station to Tonbridge station and back… Getting stressed even thinking about it

I’ve been using them regularly on Silverlink and then First Capital Connect/Great Northern since Dec '93. I’ll almost be sorry to see them go. Almost.

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Train from Porto to Lisbon is quite nice, lots of good scenery on the way. Can imagine Bilbao-San Seb is too but I bussed it myself

Are they that old? Blimey. Horrible memories of the Silverstink - bleakest line in London.

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Aye, this is lovely.

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Porto to Pinhão along the Douro valley is even more spectacular.
https://porto-north-portugal.com/porto-guide/linha-do-douro-train-railway.html

Worst: London <-> Shoeburyness when you get diverted round the Tilbury Loop.
Best: Got the train to Newquay once and had to change trains somewhere. You had to ring a bell for it to to stop and the scenery was amazing. Can’t remember where I changed though.

I like most train journeys though. Even my one to work on the Thameslink is nice. Usually get a seat, lots of stuff to look at.

Every American train I got was at least an hour late. The one from Seattle to Vancouver was great, really picturesque and comfortable. Naturally it sat outside Vancouver for 2 hours for no reason whatsoever.

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I’m going on my first Shinkansen in a week’s time.

I’m pretty excited.

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Best: anything in the Alps innit. I liked the one I did between Salzburg and Llubljana (sp?)

Worst: I used to spend most of my weekends on fucking Northern Rail pacers, so that.

Honourable mention for worst: being stuck in a compartment with a Hungarian man who, in broken English, wanted to talk to me about Only Fools and Horses for 4 hours. He spent the first 30 minutes describing it and getting increasingly frustrated because he couldn’t remember the name and I had no idea what he was talking about. “2 brothers, do you know? Peckham, DO YOU KNOW? With UNCLE, DO YOU KNOW?!?”

It was like a HGWIR thread in real life with no mute option. Horrid.

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In the USA and Canada, most of the track is owned by the freight companies and passenger trains must take a second priority to freight trains.

The line through the Hope Valley between Stockport and Sheffield is a nice ride when the sun is out. The one from Sunderland down towards Middlesbrough isn’t bad either.

Always think the Chiltern line from Moor Street down to Marylebone is quite a nice alternative to the West Coast mainline to Euston. Nothing especially scenic, just that generic pleasant rolling hills vibe to it.

Worst journey was probably the slow train from Stoke to Euston, hungover, took about 3 hours and had a group of cackling middle aged women sat just behind me for two-thirds of it.

Yep - Amtrak own tracks in the north east (which is why that corridor is really good) but not elsewhere.

Other problems I had:

Unexpected blockages that take ages to clear because you’re 100 miles from the nearest crew
Summer being used to do repairs to tracks
Single track meaning passing trains have to be carefully timetabled, and if you miss your slot you have to wait for another one
Train crews can only work 12hrs, so if you’re delayed in getting to a changeover the train just stops and the crew is driven out

The delays just compound up. At one point this particular train just sat still for six hours.

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I didn’t know about any of this until I started working with an American guy who once said “The trains in the UK are amazing” and I was all “You wot m8!?” and he schooled me.

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Brasov → Bucharest

Yep, had this on a train from Paoli to Philly. Was held up over an hour.

Best: Any of the train journeys in Sri Lanka. Colombo → Galle then Ella → Haputale → Nuwara Eilya → Kandy

image

Worst: I was DEALTHY hungover on the eurostar back from Paris once and just spent the whole time vomming

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