um, really?

Posted by September Blue Tuesday, 22 July 2008

(An American traveller writing to the (London) Times on the subject of rail travel in Britain. Oct 1, 1890.)

If the traveller wishes to get from the up platform to the down platform, or
vice versa, he is obliged to cross over the line by a bridge or under the line
through a subway, but he cannot cross the line itself. I am aware that the
raising of the platform several feet above the level of the line has two
advantages; it prevents accidents, and it makes the getting into a carriage very
easy. Nevertheless, these bridges and subways are a sore trial to my temper, and
I would willingly risk (as I do in America and generally on the Continent) being
knocked down by an engine rather than climb those stairs, and I have frequently
rushed across the line, much to the consternation of the amiable but too careful
officials. The expense of lowering the platforms to the level of the lines would
be so great (to say nothing of the advantages mentioned above) that I know it
will never be done; but I cannot say that this knowledge makes the inconvenience
more easily borne, or reconciles me to the awful thought that for ever and ever
travellers in England must perpetually ascend bridges and descend subways.


  1. phd me Says:
  2. This is priceless! I dearly love the part of "willingly risk...being knocked down by an engine". Make of Americans what you will from that!

  3. Laz Says:
  4. I'm quite fond of not having to climb up ladders to get on trains. But that's just me. I'm weird like that.