Monday, January 30, 2006

Lime Green & Clickety

I have done my fair share of travelling by train around the world, it is after all my favourite way to travel. Four months around Europe and a few thousand k's between Norway and Hong Kong means that I have willingly heard plenty of clickety-clacks. But now there is one train trip in particular that my enthusiasm is starting to wane on - the one back home.

It is not because of the destination - I love seeing my family, once in a while at least. And it is not because of the time it takes - a couple of hours can be filled in with a newspaper, a book and some iPod action. I think perhaps it is more to do with the type of train. After all sitting in lime green vinyl seats for a couple of hours is about as thrilling as sitting in lime green vinyl seats for a couple of hours - the appeal diminishes.

The trains really are not so bad, of course not in the same league as European trains go - it ain't a TGV or Deutschbahn ICE for example, but then again we don't have the same user base as Europe, or train culture. The old NSW state rail Intercities are at least cheap and whenever I have used them reliable. And when you can't be bothered to buy a car, beggars can't be choosers.

But going back to my original enthusiasm for these double-deckers, it is just on the way out. Things start to grate after a while.

There is social spectrum element. To put it bluntly you get all sorts on these trains. The screaming kids with devil lungs. The nutters with extendable batons that once played with and become stuck in the whacking position need to be belted on the floor to retract. Or the hill-billy mullet sporting parents who scream and swear at their infant children in language brickie' labourers would shy away from. It is a colourful spectrum.

So I have been thinking again about putting an end to my seven year hiatus of non-car ownership and finding something I can head up and down the freeway in occasionally. But then I keep remembering there are other things I could spend that money on first, i.e. travelling on a train in a new country. It is a dilemma.

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