Trains may once have accelerated life but in our digital world they have the opposite effect: they slow one down. To see the landscape rolling by, or at night to see the lights passing and feel the wheels turning beneath one, is to travel consciously, mindful of the distance one is covering.
…Trains can be fast, but there is nonetheless a meditative quality to travelling by them. Not always, of course: a train laden with boozy commuters is no one’s idea of a sanctuary. But take a long-distance train. …Wait for the hubbub of people finding their seats and storing their luggage to die down. Gaze out of the window as the landscape, dull or beautiful, moves by and you will find yourself in a tranquil middle space: the hills, roads and fields outside stimulating enough to provoke thought without being so distracting as to interrupt it.
The consolations of rail travel