There’s a certain romance to travelling by train. Even if you’re heading out of London’s Euston for the Facilities Show at Birmingham’s NEC as I am this week, there’s a distant echo of more glamorous journeys taken on the Orient Express. There are quiet lounges to sit in if you choose to arrive early for your train, or unlike planes where you must queue for hours, you can simply arrive at the station and hop straight on. The hiss of the train as it glides into the station is reminiscent of old steam trains. The slam of the door, the station manager’s whistle and the grind of the wheels starting to roll out of the station all feel incredibly civilised compared to waiting in a bright airport lounge or at a bus stop in the drizzle.
And once you grab that cherished forward-facing window table seat, plug in your laptop and phone, connect to the WiFi and spread out your papers, you’ve never had a better office. Whatsmore, you need never move. Whereas the tea-lady has long gone from most offices, the train catering trolley rattles down between the seats, catching the ankles of the unaware, but providing sustenance to those embroiled in reports and emails. And from lunchtime even that most treasured of items: the G&T. For while an open can of lager is frowned upon on London buses, thanks to Boris, it’s de rigeur to enjoy a little alcoholic refreshment on a train.