My train­ing regime

FOL­LOW THE READER

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Europe - BOB BROOKS

DOYALSON NORTH, NSW I AM71 years old and trains have al­ways been a part of my life. Mother told me my first rail trip, taken when I was two, was a long one, from Not­ting­hamshire to Cornwall, where Dad was sta­tioned as a Royal Air Force phys­i­cal train­ing in­struc­tor. My wife and I took the same jour­ney on our wed­ding day in 1960.

A big fam­ily treat was to take a Sun­day ex­cur­sion by train from our home town of Kirk­byin-Ash­field to the sea­side at Skeg­ness on the North Sea coast. We did the jour­ney so many times, com­plete with boiled-egg sand­wiches, that even to­day the smell of such pic­nic food evokes mem­o­ries of puff­ing steam lo­co­mo­tives and boy­hood trips to Skeggy.

Be­tween the ages of 11 and 16, it was my good for­tune to travel to school in Mans­field by train.

For years af­ter mi­grat­ing to Syd­ney in 1969, trains con­veyed me to work. On Jan­uary 18, 1977, af­ter board­ing the 8.07am city-bound ser­vice from Par­ra­matta, I was in­volved in Aus­tralia’s worst rail­way ac­ci­dent. The Granville train dis­as­ter re­sulted in 83 deaths, but in the sev­enth car­riage my fel­low pas­sen­gers and I were un­scathed. The tragedy did not de­ter me from lov­ing trains.

My most mem­o­rable jour­ney was in 2006 from Stuttgart in Ger­many to Brus­sels to pick up the Eurostar. Th­ese crossEurope con­veyances speed along at more than 300km/h. My com­pan­ions told me that as the train ap­proached this mag­i­cal num­ber, in­for­ma­tion would be dis­played and we should ap­plaud. So we did and the whole car­riage joined in. It is nice to know so many trav­ellers still ap­pre­ci­ate rail­ways. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to our Fol­low the Reader col­umn: travel@theaus­tralian. com.au. Pub­lished colum­nists will re­ceive a three-piece set for clothes, shoes and toi­letries by F1 Spacepak, a com­pres­sion pack­ing sys­tem that max­imises suit­case space. $98. More: flight001.com.au.

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