The Train: A journey

It’s not often I get to write a blog post while travelling, but hey, there must be an advantage to The Train somewhere! It certainly isn’t speed. I once managed to drive to Peterborough from home in under four hours. This train is taking about six.

A train, today.

A train, today.

In theory, The Train would have allowed me time to work, but the lack of internet connection is an issue there. I also find it far too distracting a place for brainstorming – apologies for the management speak, but it pretty well describes what it’s like when I’m planning content for magazines or trying to decide what video to do next. Also, only the first two trains (of three) had power points. My laptop, being rather an ancient beast, is not what you’d call endowed with long battery life. In fact, I’m nervously glancing at the power meter now. Especially as I’m also having to charge up my phone (for the second time on this trip) because smart phones are power hungry monsters. Like Donald Trump, but in electronic form, and rather more clever. And less racist.

In theory, The Train would have left me with nearly an hour to explore Birmingham. It didn’t though, because I had lots of luggage with me. Had I been in a car, I might have risked leaving some of that luggage in said car to have a wander around. On The Train, this was not possible. There was somewhere to leave luggage, but they wanted £6 just for one item. I decided not to take up this ‘generous’ offer. I may have laughed. So, I ended up stuck inside New Street station which, while very impressive, is not a cheap place in which to find one’s lunch.

In theory, The Train is very relaxing, because there’s no driving to do. In reality, the first two trains were unbearably hot and quite horribly noisy. Then the train got invaded by school children on a trip. That has never happened when I’ve been in my car. Sure, they were quite well behaved, but one young girl kept accidentally kicking me. I decided against kicking back as I felt it could have created a scene. An ugly one.

Birmingham New Street. Baffling. And very big.

Birmingham New Street. Baffling. And very big.

I will concede that this third train is comfortable and relatively quiet. It’s even better now I’m facing the right way, though I do wonder if it might be French. That’s because it clearly has a good diesel engine, has a floaty ride and has lots of interior rattles. By the time you read this, I will probably have done some research to find out where it was made, and discover it was Barnsley or something.

There is a reason for this suffering though, which has probably been revealed via social media already. Yes, I now have a Jaguar XJS to look after. No, it isn’t mine and yes, you are quite correct that someone requiring donations to fund his 2CV’s restoration really isn’t in a position to run a 20mpg Jaguar. I suspect I won’t be driving it often, though I will be using it for work-related reasons, which means I can at least consider some of the fuel genuine work expense.

The latest project car.

The latest project car – a 187,000-mile, 4.0-litre XJS.

That work-related reason is Classic Jaguar of course, so I really can’t tell you an awful lot about the car. You’ll have to grab a copy of the magazine (not the first one, it isn’t in that one. You must buy it for other reasons). However, I can confirm that the only place you’ll find a head-to-head test between The Train and a Jaguar XJS is on my blog.

I’m handicapping the Jaguar quite heavily, as I’ll be taking about three days to get home, covering over 350 miles. At the moment, I’m going to boldly predict that the Jaguar wins…

What do you reckon?

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