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Riding the Rails

If you ever find yourself in York, England, wondering what to do after seeing the "Minster," I suggest you hoof it on over to the National Railway Museum. You will not be disappointed.
Everything associated with British Railways is displayed beautifully.
There are rail cars dating back from the earliest days of rail travel, along with a big selection of the "royal trains." Plus, the artwork advertising the routes is in itself worth your time.
Just like the carriages you saw in my last post, the "royal"rail cars are ornate while at the same time, tasteful.
This will let a person know pretty quickly that this is no ordinary train...
The first bathtub on a train used by, I think, King George?
You might just find it interesting to know that an ordinary passenger was allowed up to 150 pounds of luggage, however, after that, there was a fee. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

I know some friends who will like this display!
It is so amazing that we took this very same route up to Scotland:
Indeed it was fast, we arrived in a little less than five hours! 

About 10 years ago, on our first trip to the UK, we flew into London, and out of Zurich, with stops in Paris and Annecy along the way. We were super thrilled, and a little anxious, if you want to know the truth, about riding on the Eurostar, which turned out to be amazing. Some of you have done the same, so I thought it might interest you to see a cross section of the tunnel.
Isn't that fantastic? Actually, there are three tunnels, one for each direction, with the third for maintenance folks and the like. Now you know...

Neither of us relish the thought of driving in England so for us "riding the rails" is the way to go. 
I know, I know, it is old fashioned to have a paper map, but let's face it--I'm old fashioned! Too bad I cut London out of the picture!

So, the trains are good, but wow, being in a station can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. We used King's Cross to board the train to Scotland. 
The Wikipedia link I included tells us that passengers have been using this station beginning in 1852--think about that for a moment--that is a long darn time. At first we were a little stymied figuring out which platform to use to board our train, however, once again the kindness of strangers came to our rescue.
I took some notes of all that I saw on the way to Scotland which is a little long so feel free to skip, I won't be offended. Remember, this blog is as much for me as it is for you!

There were plowed fields, rivers, hedgerows, wind turbines, green, oh so green, fields, swans, cows, flowering trees, hay, rivers, bare trees, solar panels, Shetland ponies, and the Angel of the North.
If you want this post to ever end, you'll be glad I don't explain it, but the link will if you are interested. Sitting by the window, I watched everything go by while Bruce dozed off and on. There is just something about the lull of the train, that is like a rocking chair--sleep inducing! Unfortunately my window was quite dirty making picture taking a little difficult, however, I did take some on the way back that I'd like to show you. 

The list above did not include cooling towers, nor did it include the flowering rape seed covering fields everywhere. Oh my gosh--the brightest yellow you can imagine. Rape seed? They use it to make what we call canola oil, whereas in England they keep the original name.
Those are some mighty big containers aren't they? I took the above during a stroll through Chinatown in London, but that's a story for another day.

At any rate, here is a two'fer:
Bruce is enthralled by cooling towers, so you can imagine how a group of six gave him a thrill. As well I did not mention the sheep which were plentiful to say the least. Plus, there were LAMBS like crazy!
I actually took this one on the way to Windsor because in truth, the trip to Scotland was made mostly in the rain and gray, gray skies. 

Nearing Scotland, we went through NewCastle, an industrial city along the North Sea.
I told you it was gray! 

From Scotland to York, we used the same rail service, leaving from Waverly Station in Edinburgh.
I nearly forgot to mention how we nearly missed Waverly by barely getting off the train in time. It's a long story, however, as a cautionary tale, if the overhead says you've arrived somewhere, even if the train doors do not open, you ARE THERE, and you better find a way to get off before the train moves on! In our case, we discovered, again from the kindness of strangers, that you had to open the door window, reaching outside to open the doors! 

On the way to York we had a nice long chat with the folks sitting across from us, Grant and Mary Clark.
I mentioned to Mary how I'd gone into Marks and Spencers in Edinburgh to buy some warmer socks, and she told me it wasn't what it used to be--getting a little dowdy for her tastes!

York was a smallish station, but not nearly as small as Grantham where we got off the train for our overnight visit with Ray and Jane.
That was a station easily navigated! More on that visit in a later post...

In London, we used the underground railway system, otherwise known as "the tube." We took the Picadilly line in from Heathrow.
Normally this train would be crazy busy, however, we came into London about 1 in the afternoon, which turned out great. The art of the railways, as I mentioned above is just fantastic.
Tom works for the Mayor of London, and knows more than you can imagine about Transport for London. 
It used to be you always heard the infamous, "Mind the Gap",
however, this trip not so much. I wonder why? Well, of course now I can ask my new son-in-law!

Bruce and Matt, as we are set to board yet another train from Waterloo to Windsor, with a rare glimpse of blue skies as a bonus!
Just this morning I read an article in the Sentinel about how the proposed fast train to Miami from Orlando, has residents along the route up in arms. Too bad we didn't put the railway system in place before homes were built. Most Americans don't know what they are missing when it comes to "riding the rails!"
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