Mind the Gap!

For trips from Stirling to Edinburgh or Glasgow, I’ve lately been eschewing the car in favour of the train.  It’s really much better.  You experience that same sense of liberation when you drop your car off for its service and become a pedestrian.  Your whole outlook changes.  You slough off a sense of isolation and become part of a community.

The next train… from platform 3 is… the 11.12 to Edinburgh, calling at… Larbert, Camelon, Falkirk Grahamston, Edinburgh Park, Haymarket, and Edinburgh Waverley.

The pleasant voice of a young Scottish woman.  It’s useful to know you are on the right platform.

This train is formed of four coaches.

Is that idiomatic?  This train comprises four coaches, or perhaps consists of four coaches, but formed ofFormed by, formed with, formed from – they all sound a bit awkward.  I think I would just say, this train has four coaches.

Once seated, the young lady reiterates, This train is for… Edinburgh Waverley.  Always good to know you’re on the right train.  There then follows a plethora of housekeeping announcements related to baggage stowage, various health and safety issues, the availability of WiFi, refreshments, toilet facilities… You begin to wonder whether this soundtrack will last the entire journey.  But at last the station platform glides silently back into the past.

We’re off!

The seasoned commuters are plugged in and absorbed in their smart phones.  How on earth did we pass the time thirty years ago?  Read the paper I suppose, or a book.  I am happy to watch the countryside pass by, like Philip Larkin in The Whitsun Weddings.

We’ll soon arrive at… Larbert.

That’s useful too, for people wishing to alight at Larbert, perhaps en route to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.  And I like the Scottish way she says “soon”.  Makes me swoon.

The next stop is… Camelon. 

Not pronounced like Camelot, but like Came-Lyn.  That’s useful too.  Still on track.

We’ll soon arrive at… Falkirk Grahamston.

Make sure you pick up your belongings, before you leave the train.

Now that’s a bit odd.  Clearly picking up your belongings after you leave the train is not an option.  If you are going to be in a position to pick up your belongings, you are going to have to be on the train.  If you find yourself on the station platform and see your belongings still on the rack above your seat, well, you’ve missed the bus.  I think I would prefer, make sure you take your belongings with you.

We’ll soon arrive at… Edinburgh Park.  There’s something very heartening about arriving in Edinburgh from the northwest.  There is a wonderful view on your left of the Queensferry Crossing, the Forth Road Bridge and the magnificent rail bridge, shortly followed by the elegant biconcave lighthouse of the Edinburgh Airport control tower.

Mind the gap, between the train and the platform, as you leave the train. 

Again, as you leave the train is perhaps a tad redundant.  Would there be any point in minding the gap at any other time?  I suppose it depends what you mean by mind.  Perhaps it would be useful, as you pick up your belongings before you leave the train, to mind that there is a gap.  And certainly, if you forgot to mind the gap, and as a result broke an ankle, well at that point you would most certainly mind the gap.

We’ll soon arrive at… Haymarket.  You pass the Aston Martin showroom (I never really wanted one anyway) and parallel the Edinburgh tram through Bankhead, Saughton, past the Jenners Depository at Balgreen, and the imposing stadium at Murrayfield.

Have your ticket ready, for the automatic ticket barriers.

Fair dos.

We’ll soon arrive at… Edinburgh Waverley.  This train will terminate here.

Well, there’ll be a helluva dunt if it doesnae.

If you see something that doesn’t look right, please tell a member of staff, or you can text…

Well, I’m very concerned about the parlous aesthetic state of the Princes Street shop frontages.  They certainly don’t look right.  Everywhere, the High Street is suffering.  We’ll soon arrive at a concourse of betting shops, pizza parlours, vacant lots and sundry purveyors of tat.  I must seek out an official to express my concern.

And thank you for travelling Scotrail.

With Scotrail, surely.  It’s almost enough to drive me back into my car.  But then I’d suffer the same thing, passing under a motorway sign:

Drive smart.

Like a BBC radio announcer in 1922.  Black tie.

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