Thursday, November 16, 2023

Take a train if you're a world traveler: efficient, clean, punctual, fun

London's King's Cross Train Station is usually abuzz with people.  Bruce Keller removed the crowd
from this spectacular photo, to show two splendid trains next to one another in a recent UK visit. 

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
prepare to board a London train for Oxford.


Trains are efficient worldwide, running in many
cities and into the country. Here in the UK, trains
give travelers a peek into British life and scenery.

WE HAVE long admired the world's railway system. We've logged thousands of pleasant train miles from Australia to the United Kingdom, from Tokyo to Paris, Edinburgh to Milan and Rome.
The British are particularly proud of their train system. From York to Brighton, it's an efficient, comfortable and reliable way to travel.
Theirs is the oldest train system in the world, and provides a reasonably priced way to get around, often to places where renting and parking a car would be expensive, burdensome and difficult.
We recently took a few pleasant train trips in England, exploring both the countryside and a major city, sampling only a small part of the UK's elaborate train system. It's a network of thousands of kilometers with many lines variously operated.
Dunedin's train station is a highlight of a
visit to New Zealand, an architectural treat.

WHAT FIRST catches the eye in the UK is the beauty of the train stations. Stupendous, stately architecture with unique touches. You'll find large and small railway stations all over the country. Our friends in Yorkshire took us this time to the Selby station for our two-hour trip to London. With only three platforms, it's just 20 minutes from their farm house and more accessible than the much larger York station. 

The late Queen Elizabeth  spent many happy hours
touring her realm on trains. She invited the famous
Paddington Bear to tea in her last jubilee.

We caught a comfy train for our recent two-hour
 trip  to London, departing from Selby. The small
 station in north Yorkshire is very user friendly.
Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are full of gorgeous train stations, too -- from sleek and contemporary to quaint and ornate.  English train stations can rival cathedrals in their grandeur.  They are an important part of the country's heritage, mentioned in plays and novels.
THE ROYALS USE trains, too. Remember Paddington Bear and the story of how he was found and rescued?  The late Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to that story and invited the loveable bear to tea and a marmalade sandwich she just happened to have in her purse.  It was an endearing highlight of her last Jubilee. Paddington and St. Pancras are two of our favorite London stations.
THE LARGE ones are grand, but the world's smaller train stations impress with their history, compact efficiency and friendly service. We found cheerful help in both Selby and Oxford, on recent train gambols. We've also taken pleasant train trips to Brighton, Stratford and up into Scotland villages and
Edinburgh. The Waverly there is a beauty, as is Grange-over-Sands on the Furness Line. Both are right out of a storybook, gorgeous and eye-catching, stunning in their architectural touches. In Australia, the Katoomba Train Station is charming and right in city center, walking distance to our hotel. 

Happy on a train to Oxford...
Cookie relaxes and orders
a glass of wine to enhance
the short journey from London.

Enjoying himself is Bruce Keller,
who prefers train travel to renting
a car and driving. Here he is
traveling from Sydney to 
Katoomba, in Australlia.
MANY of the world's smaller stations even feature  cozy tea rooms or pubs, 
making a short wait a pleasant way to spend an hour or two. 

Seeing Keller and Cookie off are their good
friends and hosts in a Yorkshire visit,
John and Sue Speight of Primrose Farm.

Edinburgh's Waverley Station is a gorgeous building, with
restaurants, pubs, shopping and beauty to enhance the journey.
WHEN WE travel by train, security and boarding are faster and simpler than at the airport. Luggage limitations disappear  and there's twice as much leg room on a train even in the cheapest class. We don't have to worry about the size of liquids or whether our bag fits above or below. There's always plenty of space for bags.
Prices are fair, too. Various passes are available, from 96 pounds sterling for two days, to 250 pounds for a week. So if you're planning to do a reasonable amount of travel, a pass is a good buy. The smart way to save money on  rail travel for anyone aged 60 and over is a senior card, available in many countries. In England, it's  £30 a year, and saves a third on  off-peak journeys. A 3-year rail card is a bargain £70.We recommend contacting ACP Rail with its international reach, for its ease in booking in advance at good prices, flexibility and many choices and packages. The on-line service is straight forward and there's an app to help you hop on and off with ease. The service is pleasant, friendly and accommodating and can get you around the world, literally -- from Japan to Scotland, Switzerland, Australia and of course Britain.
Surrounded by family late this summer, Christene "Cookie"
Meyers and Bruce Keller tied the knot. Yes, they are wed
after 17 years together.  It was a surprise, one of many
 reasons they give thanks as the holidays kick off!

UP NEXT: This year, we have much for which to be thankful, as always. But we do it as "man and wife" -- just back from an epic honeymoon to 11 countries, and catching our breath between sojourns. The story of the wedding is part of our annual Thanksgiving ode, with a nod to families and friendship, a bit of the holiday's history, a pinch of Thanksgiving lore and a few fun memories which we hope you'll enjoy as you recall your own. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, performance, family, nature and the arts:    



  1. Great way to travel abroad in comfort and safety.

  2. So happy you like our train system and photographed beautiful Waverly!

  3. Great article! Thank you. 💖