My training regime
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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.