I should have got the train into Seaham. It’s obvious once I’d thought about it. I was sitting at Nose’s point working on the strategy (see Unfolding plans 124) when a train rumbled past on the line that hugs the coast. It was a two carriage Northern Rail train on its way to Middlesbrough, I assume. Of course I looked up from my writing. I can’t help it. I outed myself as a train spotter a long time ago.
I’ve seen the trains trundle past Spectrum many a time. They are mostly Northern Rail class 142 Pacers and 155 Super Sprinters, diesel multiple units if you are into that kind of thing. I have also seen the odd Class 66 and DRS class 37 as well as the occasional Grand Central rake making its way down from Sunderland to London.
The thing is then that I’ve known that there is a railway at Seaham and that the town has its own station for a long time. I have been past it often enough, in the car.
What I have never thought about though, until today, was that the railway line that goes through Seaham station winds its way through Sunderland before turning left to join the East Coast Mainline at Gateshead, the same East Coast Main Line that runs north of Newcastle to Morpeth, my home town. Until today I’d only thought of it as running down the coast.
Some days I get the train into Durham. I can’t do it every day. The timetables just don’t work properly and it is only useful if I am going to be in County Hall all day. As long as I don’t have a meeting first thing and last thing then it is an option. It is a good option.
So why have I never thought about getting the train into Seaham. A quick look at the timetables and as long as I don’t have a meeting first thing and last thing then it is an option. It is a good option. I would have to change at Newcastle and this is something I often do anyway. The walk from Seaham station to Spectrum is a little longer than from Durham to County Hall but I could do with the exercise.
The thing is that the railway was right under my nose yet I didn’t think about it. It never occurred to me as a possibility. Even though I was well aware that it was there I had unconsciously discounted it from my mind. The train goes to Durham and not Seaham. I could not put two and two together.
So how many other things do I pass every day and not make the connections? What other services could I make use of but have never thought about? How many other opportunities do I let slip by with my head in the clouds?
That’s the problem with the way our minds work. Evolution has made us notice the unusual and disregard the common, yet even the common may provide an unusual solution.