Finding my inner anorak

A couple of weeks ago on a gloriously sunny morning three of us joined a group of people on a platform at Ealing Broadway.
I don’t think I have been there before. We were given orange wristbands and then stood about, peering down the track, amid a buzz of happy chatter and an array of serious cameras.

On the platform

One of us was wearing an anorak, but it’s fair to say just being there our spiritual anoraks were on show.
For those of you not familiar with the term, an anorak is a lightweight waterproof jacket favoured by trainspotters. I’m presuming trainspotters exist the world over. If not, they are enthusiasts, usually male, who spend their free time on railway platforms noting the type and registration number of the trains arriving and leaving the station. They are not heroin addicts despite Danny Boyle’s celebrated film Trainspotting.

Like the term anorak, the film’s title has a wider meaning: people with a simple and often single-minded obsession with a single subject.
looking around we were surprised at the wide demographic represented. Some people had dressed up. We were going to ride on a 1930s tube train, one of the last journeys it will make on the network before new signalling makes it impossible.
These trains went out of service in the 1970s, I will have travelled on them on journeys across London, but by the time I came to live in the capital they were gone.

Later generations of underground trains shared some of the same features: the wooden floors like duckboards, the wooden panels, the hanging straps which look like upside down mini punchballs, the rounded profile, the red paint. All this brought on waves of memories.


But it was the advertisements that reminded me most how the world has changed. This was nostalgia pure and simple.

Vodka from Warrington

Get to Gatwick

Basildon Bond -not a tubeline

Armitage Shanks

They don’t make them like that anymore.

7 thoughts on “Finding my inner anorak

      • I loved it – and, if my memory serves me, I found a poster I wanted and it was discontinued and it had sold out. It was one of the optional places students could go to gain an understanding of British culture. As you probably know, trains aren’t used for travel hardly at all in the US – except along the northern East Coast. The auto and rubber barons used their power to cripple the passenger rail industry.

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