Category Archives: Travel

That was close: a train, a teenager and a track

Last night at about 9 pm, I was sat on a train between Manchester and Liverpool waiting to visit family. I’d already missed my earlier connection due to a late train from York, and I was absolutely bloody knackered.

All of a sudden, though, our train jerked calmly to a stop. Within all of 30 seconds, we were still on the line, passengers silent, an eerie sense of tranquility through our carriage. Something was wrong, we all knew that; but what? Nobody knew.

Twenty minutes went by as passenger after passenger tapped away at their phone, a bleak reminder of the ever-connected world we live in, even in the midst of darkness on a cool August evening on the outskirts of Manchester.

All of a sudden, the conductor came into our carriage and told us that our train had been involved in an incident. We were calmly told that we were waiting for the emergency services and Network Rail to arrive on the scene.

Of course, in this day in age, my first thought was terrorism: a suspect bag, a person making threats, a weird smell. It’s all you ever hear about on the news, across social media, warnings cascading down right from Central Government level.

Then, all of a sudden, we got told: “we’ll be moving again when the driver is okay”. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces: we’d stopped because there was somebody on the line. The driver thought he’d killed somebody, injured someone, taken a life.

We waited in silence, other than one woman who kept staring, taking photographs and saying out loud that she just wanted a burger. I was shocked out of my mind: a family would be getting the worse news imaginable, and her only concern was a burger.

I looked my brother straight in the face and remarked, as loud as I could without screaming him to sleep, “Some people are so disrespectful, aren’t they, Kian? You’d think it was disaster tourism for them.” She quickly shot me a dirty look and continued. Idiot!

Not long afterward, the conductor came over the tannoy. He calmly and politely informed us that the British Transport Police, Ambulance Service and Network Rail’s Mobile Operations Team had arrived, and we’d be moving as quickly as we could. I didn’t care.

My entire journey seemed insignificant, not even worthy of thought, when it became apparent that a family would be getting a knock at the door that night from the Police, giving them news very few of us ever could imagine receiving. My heart bled for them.

Shortly following that, however, the conductor came back in to our carriage. He confirmed that we would be moving, but again, it seemed trivial considering what we believed had just happened just moments ahead of our seats.

But then… “we missed a teenager by a few inches”. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, grateful that no matter how the teenager was feeling, we had missed them by a few inches. I simply hope that they get the help they need and deserve, no matter why they were on the line.

Next time your train is delayed, think not of the meeting you will miss, your late lunch or the cold coffee. Think of the family who will be torn, the driver who will relive what they have seen forever, the emergency services picking up the pieces, literally in many cases.

If you’re struggling, please reach out to somebody, whether that’s family, friends or an organisation who can help. In Europe, you can make a free call to 116 123 for help from trained counsellors. You can even reach out to me if you just want somebody to listen.

My love goes out to the teenager, their family, the driver and conductor (who I gave a massive hug and thanked!), and the brave emergency services who run toward danger while we run away, day in, day out. They are our nation’s heroes.

C x

Scarborough during the Beast from the East

Earlier this year, back on 18 March, I had to go to Bridlington for training to volunteer as a Tour Maker for the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 in Scarborough. It was an early morning on the train — a journey I’d completed hundreds of times before, as my ex-girlfriend lives in Bridlington — and one that brought back many memories.

When I got there, I walked into Bridlington Spa and it seemed oddly, I don’t know… eerily quiet, almost silent. I wandered to the reception desk, and asked where the Tour Maker training was. In what felt like what I can only describe as a verbal beheading, the lady behind the desk went “it’s been cancelled”.

Choppy seas under a cloudy blue sky on Bridlington promenade.
Choppy seas on Bridlington Promenade.

“Shit”, I thought, as I pondered over what I was going to do next. I wandered down to Bridlington Promenade — another place with memories that meant I may or may not have shed a tear or two — and took one very blurry photo amongst the 30mph gusts that were pushing me away, a stark contrast to my ex and I pulling one-another along the tiled ground as we ran it together in days gone by.

I figured it wouldn’t be wise of me to hang around an eerily quiet Bridlington all day, while all of the locals were tucked up nice and warm inside. Remembering that I had to change at Scarborough railway station, I figured I’d love myself by giving myself the time to explore Scarborough on my own terms and at my own pace, something I’d never done before.

A 37-minute train journey later, through the picturesque villages of Bempton and Humanby, and the small seaside town of Filey, I was in Scarborough. I’m not going to commentate my day in this post (I may at a later date, depending on what people want to see), but I’ll simply let the photographs I took do the talking. As they say, a photograph speaks a thousand words.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to the left of the page (down below on mobile), hit me up on social media (in the same place), like this post and share it so other people feel the love, and leave me a comment with your thoughts, feedback or your own memories of the seaside. The seaside is good.

C x