I have just left my husband on the train. This is not unusual. He goes off to London once a month for committee meetings. I used to take him to the train before I went to work- the 7:15am. he would have breakfast on the train and then have time to get to his meeting.

We moved three days ago and the train he caught tonight is the sleeper to London. I didn’t know they still existed. A fellow passenger who travels by sleeper three or four times a year says it hasn’t changed much.

Apart from not being a steam train that is.

We all reminisced. My husband had gone a sleeper from Cardiff to London in 1961. I had gone on a sleeper from Newport to Nice in 1962. I presume we were on the ferry across the Channel at one point. I remember waking up and looking out of the window of the compartment and seeing Lyons station sign, before going back to sleep in those pulled down berths.  The whole family had travelled together, two parents and four children, what an adventure! The steward had come with coffee, knocking on the door in the morning, making sure we were up for the final stop.

In all the rush to make sure we are somewhere else before we’ve departed, we have missed out on the sense of adventure, the meaning of the journey, the realisation that we are actually moving from one place to another. Train journeys are usually endured now. Not that they were wonderful way back when. There have been train journeys I have spent sat on my rucksack in the corridor, yet even that had a glow about it not added in later by the magic of nostalgia.

Recent train journeys in seats that have less leg room than aeroplanes but are in rows and rows, all facing the back of the train never mind which way the train is going, haven’t engendered a new love of train travel in me. The point of travelling with your back to the engine was to stop the smoke and bits of coke getting in your eyes as you stuck your head out of the window.  Now it only serves to make you nauseous.

I am all for increased train travel, at lower prices to cross the country please. Open old stations that Beeching closed which still have viable tracks. And bring back sleepers for everyone to enjoy!