raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
[personal profile] raven
So, A. said half-joking last night that it was a shame I wasn’t going to be on the morning train that passed the Flying Scotsman, it’d be the one before. I considered it for a bit and thought, well, I can get up twenty minutes earlier, maybe, though it’s a silly and foolish whim (self, why are you such a nerd and such a multidimensional one at that).

Friends, it was a great decision. The 7.45am Cambridge > King’s Cross train is a lonesome creature. It’s usually silent save for snoring and the tapping of keys and it crams up with people and misery after Royston. I sat by the window watching it cross the frosted landscape and started seeing people on the trackside, in the station car parks, on the ridges in farmland which pass for elevation in Cambridgeshire. There were people standing with binoculars on bridges and people dotted like stars across the fields. I was following along with realtimetrains, which is a great resource that not a lot of people seem to know about, and that was fun in itself –watching the train I was on cross its passing points, and watching as the other train got closer. A little way along from Stevenage there was a whole family holding up their kids on the garden fence to see, and then the 7.45 crossed the Flying Scotsman at Welwyn.

I only had a glimpse of it – the faceplate, the billowing steam, the fresh paint – but that's okay! It was beautiful regardless. The BBC described its departure from King’s Cross amid a cloud of mist as something out of a British Pathé newsreel; on the suburban commuter platforms at 7.30 in the morning it seemed like a dream.

Here’s the thing, though: so many people. People pressed against trackside fences. A man opposite me on the 7.45 who perked up from commuter somnambulism at the words “Flying Scotsman”! Some guys in Network Rail high-vis standing around the trackside, very ostentatiously not doing any work. Crowds crammed onto platforms three deep at the arse-end of the morning, happy and excited. It was freezing overnight and the wind was biting and people had been standing there since dawn to see it flash past at eighty miles an hour. I feel much better about the whole godforsaken world.

Random things spotted on the internet:

-The BBC's live blog of the entire journey, now the train has arrived in York;

-Great Northern at Welwyn, ruining someone’s life as ever – this was the train I was on!;

-The namesake electric Flying Scotsman passes the LNER Flying Scotsman somewhere near Peterborough, despite several hours’ head start.

I am shortly to stop commuting on this line, after two and a half years; this was the way to see it out.

on 2016-02-25 02:28 pm (UTC)
isis: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] isis
That is very cool! We have a local historic train and so every year there is a Railfest where all the railfans come out and take photos and ride and stuff. It's amazing how many people are excited about trains.

on 2016-02-25 05:42 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: Miranda Otto dancing (dancing crazy)
Posted by [personal profile] soupytwist
I'm so glad you have such a shining moment to take with you as a memory of your time commuting that line. That's wonderful. *huuug*

on 2016-02-26 12:46 am (UTC)
summerstorm: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] summerstorm
Whoaaaa. I wish I'd been there with my camera tbh. Alas I no longer live in the country. Damn though.

edit: I'm not even a train person, I'm a photo op person. /o\
Edited on 2016-02-26 12:47 am (UTC)

on 2016-02-26 01:27 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] st_aurafina
Oh, man, that is so gorgeous. Especially everyone crowding out to see it. What a great memory - definitely worth getting up early for.

on 2016-02-26 07:08 am (UTC)
catwalksalone: happy grey cat surrounded by flowers (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] catwalksalone
That's the kind of memory that needs to be tied with a silk ribbon, wrapped in delicate e tissue paper and stored in an easily accessible box for the rest of your life. I feel like I want to stand up and cheer!

on 2016-02-29 01:51 am (UTC)
msilverstar: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] msilverstar
Oh the original steam Flying Scotsman, wow! Seeing with all the people, it's a fantastic communal experience.

on 2016-02-25 01:52 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] yiskah.livejournal.com
Oh, this is lovely! It's delightful when the world occasionally demonstrates that it is not universally awful.

on 2016-02-27 04:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
Yes! Yes, exactly. That is just what I took away from it.

on 2016-02-25 10:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] littlered2.livejournal.com
self, why are you such a nerd and such a multidimensional one at that
Because you are excellent!

That sounds like such a lovely experience, despite the earlier-than-planned start.

on 2016-02-27 04:46 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
It really was. It was lovely.

(So - hi - we may be moving house next week. Maybe. It's complicated. But presuming we do, we should hang out soon! I will email.)

on 2016-02-28 09:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] littlered2.livejournal.com
Oh, good luck! I'm sorry the moving process has been so drawn-out and arduous, and I hope you are safely ensconced in your new home soon.

on 2016-02-26 06:43 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mirabile-dictu.livejournal.com
I am so happy that you got to see it! Deeply envious, too.

on 2016-02-27 04:46 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
Awww, I wish you'd been here! I saw your post about it. :)

on 2016-02-26 08:48 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] amnisias.livejournal.com
I heard about this on BBC radio 4 when I drove home yesterday evening, they where interviewing people who'd gathered along the track, with your post & 'insider-report' (literally, lol) it's come full circle.

on 2016-02-26 11:03 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] enname.livejournal.com
My grandfather went on the Flying Scotsman when it was only seven years old. Then he went on it again and again ... being the complete train nerd that he was. I have folders of images taken from slides of trains around the world - Canada and across the Rockies, in India, the USA, Central Europe, Australia (where he lived). I am glad you went and caught even a glimpse ... and that people did turn out for it.

:)

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