Last Train Home Local Next

A Winter's Tale

by Alan Crawshaw, UK


Saturday morning: the time capsule is ready for it's maiden voyage, I issue the command for Crewe 1959 and off we go. I realise something's gone wrong when I materialise on a platform opposite a Basingstoke sign. A few seconds later I hear a whine like a dmu and a train of wagons roars through the station. To my astonishment no-one else is at all perturbed so I strike up a conversation with a group on the platform to find out why.

"Blimey, you're out of touch" said one. "We've had dmu freights for years. Shame, I miss those old 66s but with the whole network computer-controlled there's no need for drivers any more and fitting each wagon with its own engine means the total power is proportionate to the train length and wagons can be added or detached without shunting so we're back to the old idea of the pick-up freight".

"I miss the old days though" said his friend. "Remember those Pacers, marvellous, we'll never see the like of them again".

"But they were appalling" I protested. "You've not been on a train for a very long time, have you? The trouble started when a First United Kingdom executive was forced to catch a Pacer when his car broke down. He calculated that if they removed the tables and the airline seats they could replace the padded seats with thin rigid plastic ones close together and passengers could face each other with their legs interlocking. So you get 70% more people per vehicle"

"That's terrible", I said, amazed, "can't anyone do anything about it?"

"No chance now that the Tories have got back in and appointed Ian Batten as Transport Minister"

With that I ran like an acronym back to my craft, keyed in "rollback transaction" and on arriving safely back took an axe to the thing.

Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy those 153s while you can.


Editor's note:

Last Train Home Top Local Next
Top of