Sometimes I face the 2 hour 45 minute journey to Lincoln in the car and look forward to it. Just join the A1 and head south, going left at the A1(M) to M1 split and then turn off at the A57. Go straight on, through the toll bridge and then turn right at the traffic lights. That takes you right into the city centre.
There is a boring stretch of road between Scotch Corner and Wetherby that lasts around 30 minutes but seems to take forever, but once you pass the Moto services at Wetherby it’s all systems go towards first the split, then Ferrybridge with it’s distinctive industrial towers, then Doncaster and the M18, then the A57 turn. Can you tell I know the journey quite well?
If the drive fills me with dread, I often prefer catching the East Coast Main Line train. All I have to do is get on and get off at the right time, which I’ve managed so far. I sit in (hopefully) a partially empty coach, people watching, whilst tapping away on my iPad, looking busy.
I am writing this post as we trundle towards a rendezvous with Lincoln Central at 11.15am. As I sit on this smaller shuttle train I often marvel at how people are fully engaged in their own itinerary, which will be something entirely different and no less important if I were to travel in one year, two or five or re-read this article in a few months time.
Unfortunately this mornings journey was anything but peaceful. A signalling error and/or points failure at Ouston near Chester-le-Street brought the whole show south of Newcastle to a lengthy and shuddering halt. Trains were cancelled, passengers shunted onto the one train (mine) that headed south towards London Kings Cross.
Upon boarding I discovered someone had taken my reserved seat. The train was packed so I grabbed a vacant smaller, non-tabled seat near the train exit. Squashing my bag below my feet meant no room to unleash the iPad and I barely had room to put in my ear pods for some music. The student who pinched my reservation looked really comfortable, just to rub it in.
My journey was made slightly better when I made conversation with a lady who joined the train at York. Her name was Jan Shortt and she is General Secretary of the Pension Convention. She gave me an update on her organisations campaign for a National Care Service. For a politico like me, it more than made up for the pain of losing my table seat and for the hours delay.
I am reminded that as time passes things change quite quickly. I now sit on the train to Lincoln now, happily typing, and all seems well and to schedule. A trip to London in these conditions would have been fine and enjoyable and I would have enjoyed blogging my thoughts far further south than I can do today.
For the readers sake, you may be pleased my journey is almost at an end.