Modern Trains

Feb. 16, 2020

At this point, I can say that between weekly flights to Manchester, regular flights to Nice, and occasional flights elsewhere my carbon footprint is a big as the footprint of a Yeti. I should be ashamed and be a better climate change warrior and I will, I promise, just as soon as I finish my Masters in December. In the meantime, I also travel a lot on trains, which is a real treat. I train in Ireland, the UK, France and Germany. The double pleasure is my free travel as a pensioner and discounts by booking on Apps, in advance and as a senior citizen. I couldn’t help noticing in recent months in my travels how, inexorably, trains systems everywhere are running into reliability difficulties.

Constant delays and cancellations on Oxford Road Railway station in Manchester have resulted in Northern being nationalised. I have been in those maelstroms frequently and witnessed many passengers on their way home finding trains cancelled without notice and having to wait or find alternative ways home after a long day. So I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture some of this in a poem.

As usual, read, enjoy, share and give me some feedback.

Feb. 16, 2020

British Rail (old recording) wishes to announce
a change of platform to the scheduled one.

The express train to Manchester Airport due to arrive
at platform four will now enter the station on platform two.

British Rail wishes to apologise both for the old recording
and for the change in platform.

Will passengers intending to travel to Manchester Airport
please make their way to platform two.

Travellers barrel up twenty-four steps, rush twenty paces,
descend twenty-four steps hurriedly, arrive breathlessly on the platform.

British Rail (old, old recording) wishes to announce
a change of platform to the altered one.

The express train to Manchester Airport due to arrive
at changed platform two will now enter the station on platform one.

British Rail wishes to apologise both for the old old recording
and for the extra change in platform.

Will passengers intending to travel to Manchester Airport
please make their way to platform one.

Travellers barrel up twenty-four steps rush twenty paces,
descend twenty-four steps achingly, arrive chest-pained on the platform.

British Rail (old, old, old recording) wishes to announce
a change, change of platform to the scheduled one.

The express train to Manchester Airport due to arrive
at the changed, changed platform one will now enter the station on platform four.

British Rail wishes to apologise both for the old, old, old recording
and for the extra change, change, change in platform.

Travellers crawl up twenty-four steps stagger twenty paces,
descend twenty-four steps collapse onto the platform.

British Rail (old, old, old, old Recording) wishes to announce
the train to Manchester Airport has been cancelled.

British Rail (prehistoric recording) wishes to apologise to those
passengers who have been hospitalised as a result of these changes.

Transpennine Express wishes to happily announce that
passengers waiting for the cancelled Manchester Airport express

have burned up twenty thousand calories, raised heartbeat
by two hundred per cent and toned leg muscles beyond recognition.

Manchester Transport is delighted with the result of its Aerobic Exercise
experiment and continues to make passenger health its top priority.

Peter Clarke