My father was a railroad man and I grew up traveling by train. The romance of this form of transportation was not lost on me. Even as a little girl, I knew the cavernous halls of the towering terminal station held special, unique wonders and I loved it all with such a passion. With ceilings so high they might as well have been sky itself... mesmerizing echoes of the varied voices of porters, travelers, ticket takers... mingling aromas of coffee, leather, diesel - the colours, the movement, the sounds, the smells- to me it was all a whirling blur of excitement and delight. How well I remember descending those crowded staircases that led down to the train platforms where deafening, almost frightening, noise met glorious anticipation in waiting for my train to arrive. And then... “Do you see it??" Around the curving track, here it came, thrillingly loud, colossal, slowly screaming to a halt at my feet. The fairy tale arrival of a magic carpet could not have been more wonderful. I remember the feel of the soft wool blankets the porter would tuck around my shoulders on cold days as well as my nervy apprehension when moving from one car to another as I made my way for hot chocolate in the dining carriage, with the raucous wind whipping round me and the inevitable childish worry....what if I fall???? Trains have the luxury of traveling through countryside unseen by roadways and winter trips were often spent with my nose pressed against cold window glass as I counted grey squirrel nests in tall, naked trees, while summer excursions gently swayed along through ever lengthening tunnels of green. Is it any wonder so many novels feature train travel? Is there any more evocative mode of transportation known to man?
Sadly, passenger trains have all but disappeared in this country. But happily, they still remain in force in the United Kingdom, where traveling by train is one of the joys of my visits there. The last long journey I made by train was a nighttime trip from Inverness to Edinburgh,
And oh, it did not disappoint.
I agree utterly.ReplyDelete
The trip through the Rockies is amazing.
Your memories are so beautiful.ReplyDelete
Although I later learned to appreciate train travel, my first experience had nothing of happy anticipation about it. It was rather one filled with dread of the unknown, fleeing the advancing Russian front, would there be room for us on that last train away fron death or deportation to Siberia? we spent 11 days in a corner of a cattle truck with many more rather frightening adventures I wo'nt go into for fear of spoiling your day.
Train travel! It's one of the reasons that North By Northwest is one of my favourite movies...ReplyDelete
Ohhhhh! What a wonderful post...! I love trains. I have taken the train across Canada, I have taken the train from London to Aberdeen, and I have taken the taken from Boulogne to Paris. Every time I step foot on a train, it's magic!ReplyDelete
You were so lucky!
You are so lucky to have nice trains for transportation. My first train ride was sometime around 1988 or so. We rode a special steam engine powered train from Jacksonville, Florida to Valdosta, Georgia and back. It was quite an experience.ReplyDelete
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I always enjoy your blog.
Sparky :o) ♥ ∞
I so enjoyed this post! It brought back lots of fun train memories from France!ReplyDelete
Now I'm going to have to watch The Polar Express again! I just love that hot chocolate dance!
I don't know how it's possible, Pamela, but you made me feel nostalgic for something I've never experienced.ReplyDelete
How did you do that?
I would love to travel by train but planes and automobiles are in the way of that experience. I took a trip from Michigan to Kentucky in the mid 60's. We were derailed in a cornfield in Tennessee for hours.ReplyDelete
I love traveling by train..I don,t mind waiting on platforms when trains are late,and they are VERY often to late!It relaxes me in a strange way..just sitting and watch the world go by! You are somewhere but also nowhere..I love this "in between"places..ReplyDelete
One day I want to make a traintrip thru the Karpaten.
My husband comes from a long line of train history, so it is little wonder that he too has a deep love for trains. When he can, he would rather travel to the Continent by Eurostar and inter-city trains than by plane. His colleagues think him mad to take such a "slow" form of transportation. I don't think they realize that it only takes one more hour to travel by train than by plane if you factor in things like check in, security lines, etc.ReplyDelete
Yes, we are so loving the trains here in the UK. :-)
Yes, I agree about how evocative train journeys can be. A few years ago I went on the Amtrak from Denver to Salt Lake City - that was such an exciting journey. I rather fancy the train that goes across Canada. Have also been on the trans-Siberian some years ago - the memories are still there.ReplyDelete
You should come across the pond and try the train Journey out to Mallaig sometime, now that is a really GREAT train journey...ReplyDelete
My nostalgia for train travel is because of the Western Pacific Vistadome Zephyr - San Francisco to Chicago. I only rode it a few times as a kid but it was totally awesome sitting in the dome and going through the Feather River Canyon and then the Rockies and the Great Plains.ReplyDelete
I absolutely love riding the train, Pamela! I did it many times in University. I must say I'm rather partial to the first class trains in France, though. Some of them are so beautiful!ReplyDelete
You have brought back wonderful memories of my days living in Germany and taking the train for transport.ReplyDelete
There is something so elegant and old fashioned about traveling on a train.
Wonderful stuff! My favourite train journey at the moment is from here (Evesham, U.K.) to Oxford, beautiful countryside and the anticipation of the wonders that Oxford holds.ReplyDelete
As a child we would travel on the coastal train to Penzance in Cornwall, what bliss.
Thanks for the memories!x
Oh my goodness. Pamela, your writings are a gift to us all. I am thankful for you (and dear Edward, of course) for sharing such visual, and thought provoking beauty.ReplyDelete
I find myself looking more forward to your posts with each passing entry!
And to Arija; thank you for sharing your inconceivable train experience...God Bless You.
Yet again a wonderful post. I take a lovely train journey each year to visit a friend in Wales. I have to catch a train from Shrewsbury to Llandrindod Wells - the scenery through the Shropshire Hills into Powys is wonderful. Another great journey here in the UK is from Settle in Yorkshire to Carlisle in Cumbria. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful train travel is even though it can be exasperating at times:)ReplyDelete
Very cool! And love the photo below, strolling in the woods!ReplyDelete
One of my dreams is to take a journey on a train. Your post has only fueled that desire to hop the rails and travel the country!ReplyDelete
We are a family that love the train as well. My Father-in-law was a conductor and my husband travelled throughout Ontario by train. As a child I spent a week on the train when we moved to Victoria B.C. I can still remember looking out the window and seeing snow on the mountain peaks. Simply breathtaking!ReplyDelete
Oh dear , I was so troubled with my computer failures and having over-commited myself to a heap of memes that I actually missed two of your glorious posts! Shame on me. The situation however, has now been rectified and I know more both about interior decoation and Edward's water shy paws.ReplyDelete
I just came by to make sure your imagination did not have to work over time. Just for you , I popped in a flock of parrots passing by.
Hope you enjoy them.
smee again, click on any of my photos to enlarge, especially the parrots.ReplyDelete
Count me as a train lover too! They are my preferred mode of transport in Europe. Infinitely more comfortable that planes and there are always lovely landscapes to take in and "wagon restaurant" to visit. I loved the long trips in the sleeping cars that I took as a child when you woke up in a completely new wonderful place!ReplyDelete
I am lucky enough to be able to take the train from Portland which I do whenever there is an interesting art exhibit in Seattle.
Oh, I could go on and on . . .:-))
I have only taken short train rides but loved them..Ah, the Pullman blankets! I would love to have one.ReplyDelete
Someone else mentioned The Polar Express and I thought the same about that dance when reading your post...
Wonderful as always!
when I was a young girl we once lived by the train tracks and right in back of our house was the water tower for the train - we would hear it coming, steam of course and my brothers would run up and put pennies on the track - the train would stop, take on water and then steam off down the tracks - my brothers would then pick up the flattened hot pennies off the tracks - I hadn't thought of that in a long timeReplyDelete
Pamela, as always you capture the imagination. There is something entirely romantic about the idea of traveling by train, even though, sadly, yes it has all but disappeared here.ReplyDelete
It's almost time for "The Polar Express"! I have a romantic thing for trains, too. Sigh.ReplyDelete
It is wonderful that you remember your childhood journeys so well. I used to go to school by train so could see parts of the Oxfordshire landscape I knew well from walking and swimming, and others that I only knew from a train window.ReplyDelete
In Winter a lot of the usual trains were diverted as others had broken down, so it was wonderful to travel in the very old ones from the 1950s or earlier with overhead luggage nets, and compartments like in black and white films. Those journeys were special. The other school children and passengers would all behave differently from normal as we forgot the present world and were transported back to films or maybe even distant childhoods. Those carriages were special and made us all feel special. I didn't like to leave them and start my school day.
a beautiful thought provoking blog. as i read, dreamy, happy memories poured back of flying down south through the countryside on rattling carriages off on adventurous childhood holidays, later quiet excitment as i trundled up north to hug my oh so far away precious daughter on distant platforms. thank you *ruthie*ReplyDelete
A very civilised way to travel. Sadly, the American Orient Express upped stakes before Mrs. E. and I had a chance to ride the rails in high style down to New Orleans. We are holding out for the original itinerary now.ReplyDelete
I love train travel, especially in Europe.
We traveled for one month from one end of Italy to the other by train in 2001 -- my husband, two adult children and myself. It was wonderful! We saw so much stunningly beautiful scenery, stopped at wonderful train stations, and at times we had private compartments with reclining seats in first class -- so many exciting adventures! The ride into Venice was the most spectacular sight of all!
My son stayed behind another month and traveled all over Europe by his inexpensive, student rate, Eurail pass.
I dream about doing it again someday!
I would love to travel by train across the great Canadian landscape too! Porters who tucked you in with blankets? When was that?!!ReplyDelete
Pamela, Stop by, I have an award for you!ReplyDelete
Beautiful writing. I'd love to have experienced train travel and sleeping cars.ReplyDelete
You will envy me then - in the morning I shall be taking the train to London for a day out - First Class with full English breakfast:) It's an annual outing for my friend and I to the Country Living Christmas Fair and it's occasionally followed by tea at Fortnums if we have time. The nicest train journey I've done is from Vienna to Prague through wonderful countryside and my dream is to travel on the Blue Train from Jo'burg to Capetown but I fear that this one will always remain a dream.ReplyDelete
oh I love train travel, I'm travelling from Edinburgh to Perth a lot these days and its amazing what you can see from the windows, herds of deer, birds of prey as well as the stunning scenery. Not been to Inverness for a while though...ReplyDelete
My grandfather followed his father into the railways and this is where he met my grandmother who worked in a clerical role. My father loves travelling by train, and I travel by train to work, only a short journey, but long enough to appreciate some lovely countryside early in the day. xReplyDelete