We’re in the middle of our local book festival. I went to listen to the railway author, Andrew Martin, speak about his new book. This is a book in which he re-traces the journeys of the great named services of the past. It’s a book about the present, through the prism and contrast of the past.
For Martin, the past means the golden-age of railways – that’s the Edwardian age of steam…luckily, the graphics from that period are terrific too…
The services he re-visits are
The Caledonian Sleeper – overnight service to Scotland
Martin makes these journeys using the contemporary services…and points up the differences. No restaurant cars and no romance, for a start. It’s a kind of psychogeography of the railway journey…amidst the bleak functionality of modern life.
A number of these services used the luxury carriages provided by the Pullman Company. Pullman provided food and drinks; notably, the quarter bottle – of Champagne!
It’s progress, he suggests; but we’re also going backwards…bring back the Champagne, that would help.