Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Tea - the human leveller

Last week I caught the train to Preston to see The Person for the weekend. This involves a change at Stafford which gives me just enough time to go and buy a cup of tea and wander back to my platform in time for my train. This particular Friday my train was delayed by 10 minutes, and to escape from the freezing cold I took refuge in a tiny little waiting room on my platform.

In my haste to get in from the cold and not spill my tea all over myself or drop my work laptop on the floor I didn't really register what else was happening, and it wasn't until I sat down that I realised the waiting room was unusually crowded...and there was a tripod with a camera on it...and they all had little notebooks...

I had unwittingly walked straight into a nest of Transpotters. (I have no idea what the collective is for a group of Trainspotters - any suggestions?)

I recognised this for the opportunity it was - the chance for an anthropological adventure, observing a little known species in their natural habitat. And so I settled down, pulling my own notebook out in order to note down my observations.

A few things which stood out;

1. Their enthusiasm for trains was actually quite nice to watch - these people are genuinely excited by trains. Conversations would be interrupted mid-flow as they dashed up to see a train which was zooming through the station to write the number down.

2. I will never, even if I live to be 100, hear a funnier phrase than the following;

" God, look at the wagons on that tonight!"

I kid you not. If I was to try and make something up it wouldn't be that funny. I couldn't dream of it.

3. Coal wagons are not cool, with one guy commenting "I've not come here for coal wagons" with another replying "I don't even note them down." 

Poor coal wagons.

All in all it was a most interesting 20 minutes spent in the world of trainspotting. I was torn between not wanting my train to get there because I was listening to pure gold and being desperate for it to turn up because I needed to laugh. Badly needed to laugh. (When I did get on my train and rang my Mum to tell her about my adventure pure hysteria took over until the tears were rolling down my face.)

Eventually though my train arrived and I regretfully left them to it. Don't feel bad for them though, they were in for a good evening - as I left I heard the immortal words....

"Cars, then mail, then cup of tea."


  1. Good for them I say - I have infinitely more respect for someone who gets excited about something - anything - than I do for the "I like goin out an avin a laff and watchin x-factor" crowd. And did you SEE Roy Cropper beat the Casino on Corrie the other night? Trainspotters are gangstas!

  2. You should start another one of those "stitch phrases you have heard" and do that wagons one!

  3. How interesting! I'd have loved to be there to hear that!

  4. That wagons quote has killed me, been literally crying with laughter for the past 10 minutes, haha!

    Maria xxx

  5. Ah observing people is one of my favourite things to do! This is pure gold.


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