Let the train

Travelling used to be such a major part of my working life. I was always on the move. Before I joined the public sector I was driving 60,000 miles a year on top of getting the train or taking to the air. I could be in Glasgow one day, Bristol the next or Paris or Stockholm. Part of the reason I changed my job was that I found I was spending a working week and a half sitting in the car. Apart from the odd phone call, as most of the driving was outside normal working hours, it was mostly wasted and unproductive time.

Even when I started on my own I was always tootling backwards and forwards, not the heady distances of old, but still spending time in the car.

COVID put a stop to all that. Since the fist lockdown I have been driving much less and find it a pain at times to waste my time getting from one place to another. I have also made the conscious decision to use public transport more, especially the train.

This is how I found myself on the train to Manchester, a journey I once would have done in the car, if only for the convenience of being able to leave in my own time. It was the first time that the UKC3 board had met in person.

Looking back I was a fool (some may say I still am!) to drive so much. I was able to get the train a couple of hundred metres from my front door all the way to where the meeting was held in the centre of Manchester. I had one change to make going down and two on the way back, yet even so the journey time  was shorter than the drive across the Pennines, especially when you get stuck on the M62. I was able to get up for a drink or go to the toilet and I had a desk to work at with power. I could also read or look out of the window to catch the odd engine as it passed by.

I know that public transport can be a pain, especially if you are going somewhere which is out of a town centre or not near a main line eyt when it flows it can be excellent. Working on the train can be so productive that I question why we need to obsess about shaving ten minutes off a journey time here and there.

I’m all for letting the train take the strain.

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