How to survive a journey on a crappy old two-carriage train

SO you’ve arrived at the station only to discover you’re travelling on a two-carriage rattler. Read these tips to make it through a journey that’s inevitably going to be awful.

Avoid other passengers

Sometimes you daydream about meeting the love of your life on a train. Not this time. It’s a fight for survival and that’s it. Try to make yourself invisible to the yobs, the warring hen do and the 50 Stoke City fans who set off a flare in the bogs and tried to hang the guard out of the window when he limp-wristedly asked them not to.

Don’t breathe in

It’s a big ask but try not to breathe for your entire three-hour journey. It’s likely your train will smell like someone has died on there. Which is unfair, because the actual number of deaths is probably much higher, including a few suicides. Secure a window seat and inhale deeply on the relatively pleasant fumes from burnt brake pads.

Remember happier times

The journey will be zero fun. This train has no wifi, no charger points and no hope. Your phone will die as soon as you leave the station. Your only entertainment will be watching an empty bottle of Blue WKD rolling all the way up and down the carriage floor for the entire journey.

Enjoy the 74 random stops along the way

By saving a few quid you’ve turned a journey that normally takes 20 minutes into a boring odyssey, visiting a million tiny stations while travelling at 10mph. Biggleswade, Bagshot, Belper? Are these places real? They sound like they’re from Harry Potter. And, suspiciously, when you stop at them no one gets on or off. A total waste of time. Perfect.

For Christ’s sake don’t think about the train

If you stop and consider what you’re actually travelling on, you’re finished. It’s worryingly old and knackered or even a Pacer, the chassis of a bus Pritt Sticked onto train wheels and a true Frankenstein’s monster. Except he was bolted together with some level of skill and care.  

Hit the biggest guy on there

Yes, this is advice to get respect on your first night in prison. But it might be wise here as Wormwood Scrubs and the 20:05 to Aberdeen have a similar atmosphere. And a good chance you could get shanked if you look at someone funny.

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Sexual Healing, and other songs that made your dad switch off the car radio

ON long car trips the radio was a minefield of inappropriate songs that your dad simply would not tolerate. Here are five that would have you travelling in silence.  

Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye

From the moment you heard those whispered ‘get up’s, you knew old Marvin was on thin ice. Your dad didn’t want to hear sex talk when he was concentrating on the road. If Marvin needed sexual healing he should have seen his GP. 

My Ding-A-Ling by Chuck Berry

Your dad usually enjoyed a good novelty song, but a few verses in and it started to dawn on him that this was no ordinary tale of a child with a special toy. Such was his eagerness to switch off ‘that stupid song’ he accidentally put the windscreen wipers on.

The Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang

After years of Radios 2 and 4, your request for your dad to switch to a less boring station was granted – and then that station was immediately banned forever, because the Bloodhound Gang had to write a song about doing it ‘like they do on the Discovery Channel’.

I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry

It came on the first time you gave your parents a lift somewhere. That’s that rite of passage ruined, thanks to your dad blurting out ‘Is she a LESBIAN?’ and spending the rest of the (silent) journey clearly thinking the world had gone ‘sex mad’.

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and the Blockheads

The lyrics are kind of suggestive, but your dad’s main problem was the random bits of German. We didn’t fight the war for this and how on earth was he meant to decipher complicated German sentences like ‘Das is gut’? Off with Ian Dury and on with a CD he got free in the Mail.