Ok, Gary and I are getting into a rut, but it’s an interesting one.
Cab rides are by their nature special events if you are not a railroad employee. For the train crew, it’s just another day at the office, but for the railroad enthusiast, it is a special event. A cab ride is different. It’s not like you’re going to somebody’s office to look at the new copier. No, this is railroading, and like everybody else in the transportation industry, it is a special place. Lord knows that it can be a difficult place sometimes and there are a lot of demands made upon people in the transportation business. But, on the other hand, it is a train….
Cab rides still seem to be fairly common in Europe. My last trip there produced two cab rides, both of them very interesting in their own way. While all of the rest of the riding public is sitting back there wondering what is going on, you’re up in the front with a clear view of the tracks ahead and maybe a little railroad conversation with the train’s crew.
Here in the United States, where everything must always be safe all of the time, cab rides are not quite so common. They may still be happening, but everybody is a lot quieter about things than they used to be, out of fear that discovery would make something this magic go away. You can’t even stand on the platform in Philadelphia to watch your Acela leave the station before they descend upon you with guns at the ready. It’s sad, but you can see why this has happened.
It has been said that Great Britain is the mother of all railways, which is quite true. And even today, English railroad operations are interesting and intense. Consider yet another video of a cab ride, this from Waterloo Station to Basingstoke, Hampshire, 48 miles down from London on the line to Southampton.
This video was produced by “madabouttrains“. As you get into the video, it appears that madabouttrains is someone who is a young man who has wangled a cab ride. There are a number of quite interesting things about this ride, most of all is the cab conversation between the videographer and the train crew. As the train eases out of Waterloo, the locomotive driver and our video producer engage in a little conversation just to see how serious this young man is about trains. He then proceeds to rattle off the train stations on this line in order. Thus ends the “Are you really serious about trains?” conversation.
There is little doubt that madabouttrains is already very knowledgeable but wants to know more.There also is little doubt that the line to Southampton is a busy one, with four tracks (two for express and two for local trains).
This cab ride happens in the lead car of a Class 444 multiple unit train:
These units max out at 100 mph, and this cab ride shows them nearing that speed several times. Along the way, there’s all sorts of interesting British Rail operations, including passing a freight train of hopper cars pulled by a Class 66 diesel:
Also, about 30 minutes into the video, the Class 444 train passes the British Pullman train:
This train is loping along at about 60 mph, pulled by a Class 67 diesel:
As our MU train slides by, the locomotive driver notes that “You’re a lucky boy, seeing that”. And, indeed he is.
This video is a bit jerky, presumably because the camera wants to correct for the motion of the train. And the EMU windshield needs a cleaning. Oops, sorry, the windscreen….