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I've been put on a train

By myself, of course.

As I ype this I'm on the train to Edinburgh. My first long-distance train since taking the San Joaquin/Coast Starlight betwee SF and LA years ago. Possibly my third LD train experience ever, first being Moscow to Estonia and back, not counting anything I did with my parents as an infant. I'm in first class, which comes with free tea or coffee and biscuit (cookie; "dunking bar" in this case, and it was indeed rather more edible once dunked in coffee). I've got a power outlet too. Wi-Fi is supposed to be through the whole train, though it requires registration and is rather slow in any event... of course, in saying that I'm rather discounting the miracle of wireless connection at all on a moving train between cities. Cell service doesn't make it, though.

You know, I'd probably meet more people if I spent less money. Hostels and standard instead of apartments and first class. Assuming people talk to each other on the train, which they don't on the Tube.

The view so far has been nice but not extraordinary, though there's currently a stormcloud/bluesky effect going on that's neat... well, there was, seem to have left the clouds behind in the past minute. A lot of the time the view is just trees screening the rails. Or flat fields. Once, the rolling hills one might think of as England.

Travel time from hotel door to train platform was half an hour, if that. I had 40 minutes at the station, just enough time to get tickets and find the platform would have sufficed. Definitely faster than airports! Well, US airports. And then I'll go straight into downtown Edinburgh. 5 hour ride vs. 1 hour flight, though... I was just told the train moves at 250 km/hour, or 155 mile/hour. I could believe it right now. Straight-line distance is 535 km, driving not much more, so either we slow down a fair bit at points or the route is more bent.

WikiAnswers: "The driving distance from Edinburgh, Scotland to London, England is 398 mi (about 7 hours 15 mins). (394 miles by rail).

The distance directly from London to Edinburgh is 332 miles (535 km)."

Google in the UK has an image for Mary Shelley's 213th birthday today. Dan Prime tells me the US doesn't see that. http://www.google.co.uk/logos/2010/maryshelley2010-hp.jpg And this is at 2pm my time, so it's not a time zone/which day is it problem.

Hey, I get to pass through York and Newcastle.

If this is 155 mph, the window view of 240 mph must be really impressive/scary.

There's four sets of rails, which is what you want really for full bidirectional local and express services. And we're definitely express going by the stations we've zipped through.

But yeah, apart from how blurry it is, there's nothing about the view that really says I'm in England vs. America. Never did take Japanese LD rail, but airport-Tokyo did have a sort of exotic feel to it I won't try describing.

Only three sets of rails at the moment. They're usually close together, which is impressive when one of them is occupied by a train in the opposite direction. Briefly occupied.

Okay, the stone barn? church? with a square tower probably wouldn't be seen in the US. Maybe in Pennsylvania or New England. Also this seems to be an electric long-distance train, judging by the wires I just noticed over the other rails, that's not very American either.

Culture notes: sugar comes in cylindrical packets, there'll be a photo later. Foot traffic usually goes to the left, like cars -- but on escalators, you stand on the right and pass on the left, just as in the US. That's official, the signs tell you to stand on the right. Seems odd to me.
Fair number of Roman arches supporting train bridges.

We just passed a secret porta-potty burial ground.

Okay, I'm seeing more 'English' agricultural vistas, low-rise rolling hills again. Hard to take photos through tree-screens and at 155 mph, though.

My Tesco orange juice notes that it is suitable for vegetarians. Gee... It also claims a non trivial amount of protein, 1.8 g per 100 calories, so that'd be 36 g on a 2000 pure OJ diet. No mention of potassium, unlike some US labels such as Tropicana -- I don't remember if my UK Tropicana noted it.

Hey, our first stop, at 14:42. (Train left London King's Cross at 13:13, scheduled 13:10). Retford, which has a smaller map font than Peterborough. Doors haven't opened, I wonder how one gets off... train leaving 6 minutes later, never did open. Doncaster next.

Hey, I'm arriving in Edinburgh on the last day of the Fringe Festival. That was stupid, I get to see the outbound traffic without any of the actual festival. Didn't plan that very well.

Damn, housing monocultures make me twitchy. Except for San Francisco 'Victorians' which at least are painted differently. Oh hey, a clothesline, that seems optimistic in this climate.

Doncaster already? It's 15:02. Conductor opens the door. Oooh, competition for the luggage racks, as four people get on and sit right near me. Pulling out two minutes later.

Finally asked. Nope, various food stuff isn't free. Also we've stopped not at a station. "Signalling problems". "Should resume shortly at reduced speed." Also York's next.

Moving again. I've seen cows earlier today, now passing my first sheep.

York, 15:34, ten minutes late. Or so they said. We're stopped again, at 15:40. I post now.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
Tube escalators - why we stand on the right
Aug. 31st, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Tube escalators - why we stand on the right
Wow! Thanks.
I haven't been on any other escalators in London -- do they follow the Tube, or the road?
Sep. 1st, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
They follow the Tube, curiously enough.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 8th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)

I wouldn't know gauges. What I meant was that there was one pair of rails, and another pair, and the distance between the pairs seemed rather small to me.

|-|    |-| |-|    |-|
 A      B   C      D

I was on B, C looked close.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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