Monday, January 25, 2016

Modernity, High Speed Trains and opening doors

As this video shows, British Rail introduced their new High Speed Trains on the Great Western mainline in October 1976.

They were a powerful symbol of modernity and I remember being regarded with envy when I travelled from Paddington to Swansea and back on them early the following year.

Now I commute on HSTs every day. I like them better than the other stock used on the Midland mainline as they are more spacious.

Time moves on, however.

This morning I got on an HST and walked the length of the carriage looking for a suitable seat.

At the end of the next was a young woman. "Please can you tell me how to get off?"

To get off an HST you have to open the window in the door and turn the outside handle. To a generation raised on pressing buttons, this must seem extraordinarily old fashioned.


Gawain said...

Sounds you never hear any more: slamming train doors; the thump of documents being stamped in the Post Office; proper 'bells' on buses (? maybe still extant in the sticks)...others?

crewegwyn said...

The flap, flap of hessian mail sacks being thrown from trains onto platforms.

Crantock said...

The slam of a vestibule door sliding backwards and forwards as each passenger forgets to close it properly.

Ending soon:

The whish whish of an HST style vestibule door going back and forward as someone stands on the pressure mat as there is not room in the carriage.

The roar of the air through the open window in the doors.

Coming next: Smells you will never smell again

Jonathan Calder said...

The smell of the coking plant just south of Chesterfield.

Backwatersman said...

The smell of the brickworks near Bedford. Someone always thinks the train's on fire.

Simon said...

As far as I am aware the HST is the only train still around where you can, if you so desire, open the window and stick your face out. This is dangerious I know, but it always feels thrilling to me and very refreshing on a long journy. I travelled from cologne to stockholm yesterday and although the trains were very fast, comfortable and clean the inability to smell the fresh air except for short periods whilst changing trains sapped the spirit.

Richard Gadsden said...

There are some HSTs being converted to have powered doors - they're going to be used for the "Seven Cities" routes in Scotland (the trains from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness).

I believe they are using the same door design as is used by Chilterns Trains on their loco-hauled Mark 3s (the same carriages as are used in HSTs).