Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

Seconds pass silently after the metallic voice warned “Stand clear of the platform edge on platform 4, the next train is not scheduled to stop here”. Electronic clocks lack that sense of drama imparted by the mechanical ticking of the station clocks of the recent past, the pecision building of tension in those awaiting their train. But unlike those grandfathers of time the modern station clock imparts information. Automated – no longer reliant upon a porter to lift a wooden sign, hand crafted, hand painted and hand located in a slot above head height. Informing those who wait where the train will stop on its journey. Warning silently of a fast train that will not be stopping.

Then the rails start to signal the rapid approach – singing, in an off-key sort of way. Then comes the sound of the train itself – fast running diesel engines and other electro-mechanical sounds precede its sudden appearance. Bursting from the gloom of the bridge over the tracks – sweeping through the platform – brief seconds of cachophony before it becomes a fading sound in the distance. The aftermath of its passage – swirling dust devils, pages of a discarded newspaper and an unanticipated wind in the hair. Eyes blinking away tears from the momentary assault on the senses.

Silence is resumed – the occasional footsteps of passengers on the other platforms anticipating a stopping service to London. A cleaner whistles as she empties the waste bins and a distant bus growls its way up the hill. The passing of the train a fleeting moment in an ongoing day.

222020 on the 1F17 service for Sheffield  passes through Hendon

222020 on the 1F17 service for Sheffield passes through Hendon

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Comments

  1. mrscarmichal says:

    And i know how fast they go!

    • Well, I believe the line speed limit is 110 here but I think they’re doing around 80-90 through Hendon – still accelerating.

  2. You’ve captured the sounds and the feeling of the rails! I know that feeling of anticipating the arrival. Loved this, Martin!

  3. hi Martin,
    “…the next train is not scheduled to stop here…” – but I like to stop and comment here…
    greetings by
    http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/mystery-train/

  4. Time marches on, doesn’t it, Martin? I often wonder what someone from many years ago would think if they woke up to the kind of world we live in today…
    πŸ™‚

    • It depends on how many years ago Bob – the world I lived in as a child was not significantly different to the one my father knew when he was a boy but the pace of change in the last 30 years has increased so significantly that my son finds the fact that I used to make my own entertainment hard to believe. There were no computers, console games or electronic toys. in fact the change is now so rapid that even some Star Trek ‘innovations’ have become the norm in our daily lives!

  5. You have captured the roar of the through train so well Martin. Stand clear indeed!

  6. Wonderfully descriptive writing. I felt as though I was right there. πŸ™‚

  7. Wonderful contribution for this weeks photo challenge, I just wish I can write like you πŸ™‚

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