Thursday, 24 April 2008


After deciding that I'm going to make another trip up to Oxford to see the fantastic iLiKETRAiNS tonight, I thought now would be as good an opportunity to attempt to explain why I like trains without sounding like a complete loser.

I suppose saying that I like trains is slightly inaccurate. Yes, I like using them, but I have no desire to cross off every single Class 43 loco in a little notebook, see loco number 91110 as part of an Intercity 225 set or Cross Country Super Voyager 221130. Actually, those second two aren't strictly true. The former used to be called Northern Rock until 1998 and the latter was named Michael Palin. But since they're been either renamed (in the case of Northern Rock, to David Livingstone) or denamed (in the case of Michael Palin. Damn Cross Country!), I'm not particularly bothered.

I'd say what fascinated me most is how the railway system fits together. The history of it. The politics of it. Why standard gauge won over Brunel's far more efficient broad gauge. Things like that.

And stations too. Ranging from huge 15 platform mammoths of engineering such as St. Pancras to stations which are little more than a raised surface by the side of a single track like Falmouth Town which were magically (and thankfully) saved from Beeching's Axe.

My love of the railway system has been a fairly recent thing. It developed from my love of the London Underground (which I'm sure will come in a later post, so as not to make this another ridiculously long one). And perhaps it was helped by the wonderful iLiKETRAiNS' track The Beeching Report which led to me spending an evening pouring over the details of it.

Disused railway stations are fun too. Especially recently disused ones. James, Katy and I went exploring Silvertown station a couple of months ago, which was fun. That part of the line closed less than two years ago and it's pretty much been left as it is. There is talk of plans to reopen it as part of Crossrail, so I suppose that's why it's left because nobody really knows what to do with it for the moment.

That's it for the moment. I'll probably do a post about the Underground sometime soon, and I'm sure I'll do writeups of any times that I go geeking.

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