Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let the train take the strain


My name is M&M and I am a public transport snob.

Today is not the first day that I have thought that trains are a better class of carrier than buses; it's more entrenched than that. Trains and railway stations are touched by romance; there is an air that you could be going absolutely anywhere and that anything could happen. Perhaps it's because I have watched Brief Encounter too many times, or perhaps it's because buses remind me of school.

As a teenager, I hated the 12-mile trip to school, espeically in the winter when I left in the dark and came home in the dark. I don't like the smell of buses and quite often, I don't like the smell of the people on the bus. When was a student, I travelled home for the Easter holidays on a National Express bus after recovering from a sickness bug. I ate a blue cheese sandwich and some cherries the night before; unfortunately, I was not as recovered as I had thought. I have never travelled by National Express since.

Buses do have some things going for them. As you crawl along at a speed slightly less than a slow walk, you can peer into people's windows and get a glimpse into their lives. Don't tell me you've never done it. However, the impotent road rage I experience sitting in a bus that's stuck in traffic is worse than when I'm behind the wheel of a car. I don't like feeling I'm not in control.

Note to self: get the Metro tomorrow at the Park and Ride.

20 comments:

Iota said...

Brian, our school bus driver, used to make us laugh. When the traffic was slowed to a walking pace, he used to water pedestrians using the windscreen washer, which was set at an odd angle so that most of it missed the bus window altogether. But I agree with you - the train has it every time.

Brom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brom said...

If I travelled to work on Monday by public transport I would arrive around half past Tuesday. I would if I could. I am always fascinated at the view from a train, the backs of houses and the workings of industry, things normally kept away from the public eye.

Deleted post appears by permission of 1-2 Many Typos inc.

Anonymous said...

brom - 'Half Past Tuesday' lol !

That is almost the name of a blog in itself...

eminem -ah, but what about 'buses on rails', those crappy 'pacer' trains that have none of the comfort and style of a high speed train, and don't even have a buffet ? And much of the time don't even have a tea trolley coming round ?

Anonymous said...

very soon, though, with the hike in cost of the trains, and the fact that 4*4s can't be given away second hand [since oil went over 90 dollars a barrel, and petrol's a pound a litre] a social fashion change will occur..

Yummy Mummies and Posh Yuppies will stop going on about their Chelsea Tractors, and get togged up for a day out on the train, which will soon be the province only of wealthy moneyed types with braying accents and Chelsea Clobber..

Still, it will make going to the station a good 'people watching' day out for those of us who can't afford to go to Ascot [sigh]

Gill said...

Public transport of any kind is exciting to us yokels.

Winchester whisperer said...

The only buses I like are the old style London ones with the open backs but their routes seem to be restricted to Piccadilly these days. I went off train travel when somebody was sick next to my seat however, at least I could move seats, albeit vomit-spattered, unlike a friend whose neighbour in a plane threw up all over him.

rilly super said...

my neighbour was pretty depressed at national express taking over the east coast line but it sounds even worse for you M&M

Anonymous said...

National Express..

Now that reminds me..

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TiBI3A2WcrE

Expatmum said...

Ugh. National Express. When I first worked in London I fell for the false economy of the 5pm bus from Victoria to Gallowgate (Newcastle). It used to take about 5 hours to get beyond the north circular, by which time some chav had invariably consumed a bottle of neat vodka and thrown up between the seats on to me and my friend Wendy. (True story).
I think I have earned the right to be a transport snob.

GoneBackSouth said...

I agree too - the train is much better. Except when it's late, you can't get a seat, it smells, it's cold and the loos are all broken ... come to mention it, I'd rather stay at home.

GoneBackSouth said...

p.s. I watched Brief Encounter for the first time a couple of months ago - isn't it divine.

Rob Clack said...

You need that motorbike, so you don't have to put up with either bus or train!

Merry said...

At one point in my daily commute via lightrail, the train runs parallel with the freeway. Invariably, the passengers all check out the stalled traffic on the freeway as we zip past. A smug but very rewarding experience.

On the other hand, not too many people drinking vodka and throwing up might be another reason I don't mind this commute.

oufquc - word verification for the comment. Also, coincidentally, sounds like an expression made by someone who's had one too many vodkas on the train.

Vanessa said...

I don't travel to London often but as it's a long trip from Edinburgh I always go by train and almost always engineer things so that I can book a cheap 1st class return and it's actually quite pleasant - leg room, free tea and coffee and someone bringnig me a newspaper - why people fly I have no idea as it isn't even quicker once you've hung around at airports for heaven knows how long.

@themill said...

Love the train - next plan is Eurostar to Paris, starting in Alnmouth......

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Oh National Express! Try taking the national express from Bristol to Bradford, you will lose days of your life. National Express is to be avoided.
Trains much better than buses...but i'm quite fond of double deckers when you can sit at the top, at the front.
Pigx
ps. I applaud expatmum's use of the word Chav. ;-)

occasional northerner said...

I love the train and my first National Express experience to London was a good one. Repeat performance next week?

Omega Mum said...

On the other hand, of course, there must be a lot of people today who have been totally traumatised for life by your blue stilton sandwich experience ('now you see it: now you see it again')not to mention the cherries. I expect many are still having counselling. Vomiting rarely works as a spectator sport, or so I've found.

Anonymous said...

pitk and eminem.

Have just returned from a lovely day out to Clevedon - but am feeling my age somewhat. The bus ride out was a breeze.

But coming back...

Group of lads drinking, eating a curry and using the 'f-word' as a form of apostrophe...

Then a mum with her four daughters - very well behaved but sadly wearing the make up of Amy Winehouse despite being aged from 6 to 11...

Not particularly bad - but the point is that this is now, I guess, an 'average' bus trip in these parts.

I used to get annoyed with people who looked down on bus travel and public transport, as it is good for the environment, and in London, the Tube is perfectly democratic.

But surely we need some sort of standard of behaviour for the whole thing to work ??