Tag Archives: train

1943. A train to catch

I was scurrying to the train station to catch my usual morning transport. I was running late because I had spilt coffee on my trousers (thank goodness it had cooled) and had to get changed. In my haste I forgot to take my phone out of the wet trouser pocket, so I didn’t know by how much I was running late.

The clock on the town tower was renowned for its unreliability. Going by what it said I had five minutes to get to the station to get on the train to take me to work. I work as a bank manager, and today the big boss is coming for an important meeting. VERY important, he had said on the phone.

Only four minutes to go. I thought I’d start to run; actually trot along, as I didn’t want to be all sweaty during the VERY important meeting.

Two minutes to go. I simply cannot afford to miss that train. What the heck! I’ll have to run, sweaty or not! I can explain to the boss why I’m perspiring so profusely. And…

Made it! Phew! That was close! I got a seat too. No sooner had I sat than the doors closed and the train began to noiselessly slide away from the station.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said a voice over the intercom. “Welcome to the non-stop day trip to the capital city. Refreshments are available throughout the trip in the cafeteria carriage.”

I was on the wrong train. It was going the wrong way and it would take all day to get there.

1934. Adventure desired

It seemed like a never-ending train ride. Savannah had boarded the train in Lyons and was heading for Zurich. It was the eve of her nineteenth birthday. On her departure two friends she had made in Lyons had come to wave goodbye. Both had given her a bottle of wine as a farewell gift. Savannah had opened one bottle and it was already half empty.

Savanah had no clue why she was going to Zurich. When it struck her that she would have to leave Lyons she picked a European city at random. Zurich was as good a place as any. Goodbye to Lyons, that place of such bad memories.

It seemed as if she had the whole train to herself. A customs official had passed by at the border into Switzerland to check on her passport. Since she was alone in the train compartment, and without a glass to drink from, Savannah thought she would simply take a swig straight out of the bottle. And swig she did! The bottle was three quarters empty now.

It had been a traumatic three months in Lyons. She was originally from London and pined for adventure in her humdrum life. When she met the exotic Frenchman at a London café and travelled with him to Lyons it was a daring adventure to embark on. How exciting! The whole affair had been a mistake. His English was appalling. Her French was equally handicapped. He was abusive. She was manipulative. He was cruel. She was vindictive. Such was the recipe for disaster.

Now with one empty wine bottle and one miscarriage later, she was hoping to somehow start a new life. Savannah unscrewed the cap on the second bottle. She hadn’t taken as much as a sip from it when she began to feel ill. It was cold outside, but Savannah could open the small window and she threw the full wine bottle out. She experienced the full meaning of the expression “as sick as a dog”. Why, oh why, would this never-ending train ride not end?

The customs official passed by again. “When do we reach Zurich?” asked Savannah.

“We passed Zurich ages ago,” he said.

Savannah sat back. It was now passed midnight. It was her nineteenth birthday. She had wanted adventure. “Yes,” she thought, “My adventure is about to begin.”

And indeed it was!

1844. Boarding the train

Here I am quietly awaiting the arrival of my train and minding my own business. People keep getting too close to me. Don’t they understand that we have been asked to distance ourselves for several meters away from each person? Some people have no regard for public safety or the well-being of others. It’s typical of the modern society in which we live.

It’ll be the same when the train arrives. Everyone will push and shove, and the carriage will be like a can of sardines with as many people as possible stuffed into a confined space. I’ve a good mind to scream out “FIRE! FIRE!” That should set the people running in all directions and I would get the whole train carriage to myself. In fact, I will.

“FIRE! FIRE!”

“FIRE! FIRE!”

Everyone just looked at me like I was a nut case. It didn’t have the slightest effect.

And now I’ve missed my train.

1533: Inspiration

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Chris of chrisnelson61. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

The opening line was always the most difficult to write. He’d written openings many times before, but this time it seemed doubly important. It was as if people’s lives depended on it. Certainly his life depended on it, especially his career. I suppose having a career is like having a life.

Strangely, he was in a train when the opening line struck him. He’d spent days on his opening line. He’d changed it dozens of times, rarely on paper but mainly in his head. Once the opening was decided upon, all else would follow. But he had writer’s block. What was he to do? And then WHAM! it came to him while on a train.

Abraham stepped forward.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

1240. Train travel

Constantia wasn’t too sure about the latest craze. Trains had fairly recently come into frequent use. People could travel from one village to the next on a train. It was definitely going to be the cause of a new wave of immorality to sweep the country. Young men could take the train to a neighbouring village and no one would know them. They could get up to all sorts of hanky-panky if not chaperoned. The women of every village in England were no longer safe.

Then there was the threat of people travelling from another country. One does not like to imagine the havoc red-blooded Frenchmen would cause among devout English maidens. To say nothing of the Germans. And the Spanish. The Spanish! Oh my goodness!

As for those train carriages for long journeys that had sleeping facilities. Such heinous thoughts entered Constantia’s head as to what could possibly go on, that she could only shut her eyes tight and think of England.

This so called “Industrial Revolution” consuming the country was striking the death knell for an upright and godly society. The sooner trains for travel were banned the better.

984. Sunlight on a sign

984sunlight

Lydia was returning from an early morning shopping spree. To get back home she had to drive across a railway line. How lovely the sunshine of the morning! How bright the promise of the day!

As she neared the railway line, the sun caught on the sign that warned of the approaching rail crossing.

“Wouldn’t it be funny,” thought Lydia, “if this was a warning. Sunshine on the railway crossing sign almost blinding, and perhaps heralding (like a prophecy from above) that I am to be hit by a passing train! Oh the inevitability of fate! The railway sign is highlighted for a reason! I must be extra careful as I cross!”

The reflected sunlight streamed straight into her eyes. WHAM-BANG! Lydia went into the back of the car in front of her.

874. The train

874train

Blair had left school and was heading into town in search of a job. He caught the train. The passenger train wound along the coastline. The view was picturesque; the wild sea below the cliff crashed onto piles of jagged rocks. The sheer power of it all! And then…

The cliff face, along which the train snaked, suddenly slipped away. The entire train rolled down a hundred metres onto the rocks. All 113 passengers were killed. Except for Blair.

By some extraordinary sequence of events he was flung from the carriage onto a wave of moving earth. As if a surfer in the sea, but on moving cliff, he leaped off the wave of cliff face at the bottom without a scratch. He stood and stared. It had all happened so fast.

The police and emergency people began to arrive.

“Get out of the way, son,” said a policeman to Blair. “This is no time to be rubber-necking.”

“But I was on the train,” said Blair.

“Yeah, right,” said the policeman.

In the following days, Blair told his story. No one believed him. The press published photos of the disaster of course, and photos of Blair too – the liar who used the occasion of sorrow to get publicity. He couldn’t go anywhere without being recognised. Nor would anyone hire the liar. There was no work for Blair.

It was surreal. After a while Blair began to doubt his own veracity. Perhaps he had made it up. He knew he hadn’t, but somehow he felt he was living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.