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Keep on the Rails

I would like to reflect – in a couple of blogs – on the significance of trains and train travel. Most of us find trains and train travel a significant part of our leisure, and perhaps working, lives. Everyone can recall a special journey, or a special departure or arrival, I would think. If you really can’t think of anything, remember the film Brief Encounter.


Stations and their associated journeys show the various aspects of our lives. The starts and finishes. Separations and reunions. Losses and new loves. Life in its fullness (as in a holiday, say) or death (as in a train carrying prisoners to a concentration camp). Joy and sorrow.


On television we are spoilt for choice with travel programmes focussed on trains with celebrities like Tony Robinson, Michael Portillo or Chris Tarrant. I sometimes think: why didn’t we years ago have these sort of programmes? They must be easy and cheap to make and yet they are so fascinating.


If a train is large and comfortable you don’t even need a destination: just enjoy the ride and the scenery. You can bring your own refreshments or treat yourself in the buffet car. One or two potential problems, or course, such as the state of the toilets and delays. And you may end up with some noisy foul-language travelling companions. Could be time to start loving your neighbour – even loving your enemies! Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:1-2). However, it is hard to believe there are many angels amongst a crowd of noisy drinking football fans.



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