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This is the age of the empty train

Blog | By Harry Mount | May 18, 2020

The view from my seat on the 3.20pm from Wareham to London (Credit: Harry Mount)

The miseries, agonies and tragedies of coronavirus have one tiny consolation today: empty trains.

For the first time in my life, yesterday I had a completely empty carriage all the way from Wareham, Dorset, to London Waterloo.

It was like the Platonic form of rail travel (and it arrived and left on time). No businessmen shrieking into their mobiles. No youths with tinny earphones thumping for hours on end. No rubbish. Immaculately clean tables. The pristine loo all to yourself. None of that shrinking in terror as you arrive at a new station and survey a full platform, ready to be decanted into your carriage. At every station, no one got off; no one got on. It was like a modern version of Adlestrop. The train guard - the spitting image of the Fat Controller - even smiled at me as I wheeled my bike down Waterloo's platform.

Life can never be quite perfect. Along with the idiotic 'See it. Say it. Sorted' mantra, there's a new one at every station about COVID-19. We've got the message, I think.

Still, for one brief period, you can travel around Britain like you're on the Royal Train. Pure bliss.