Monday, March 22, 2004


It's been a little strange being a proper commuter again, after more than two years of traveling within London. With just four trains an hour and only one route home it's taken some getting used to.

The journey to work starts with the mile-long downhill walk to the station. There is a bus that could get me there in less than five minutes but even at that time of the morning, buses are few and far between so we walk. It's better for me, anyway - I think I'm already feeling a bit healthier because of it.

The train journey is largely a dull slog through the cuttings of north-west London but there are a few things that are worth looking at along the way. First of all, just yards after going through Kings Langley station, the tracks go under the M25. At this point the motorway is a flyover, heading down across a valley, and as the train pulls away from it, I like to look up and see all the stationary traffic. It's nice to know they're delayed while you're speeding onwards.

Soon after that we get to Watford and the view across the valley to where the town centre rises on the other side. At the top of the hill the Harlequin Centre dominates the skyline. This is a much more impressive sight in the evening with the sun setting behind it but even in the morning it's not too bad.

Then we're into the outskirts of London. At some point off to the east I catch sight of what looks like a nest of cranes surrounding what will eventually become the new Wembley Stadium but apart from that, it's a fairly boring view of suburban houses, crumbling tenements, sixties tower blocks and freight yards.

A couple of miles out of Euston, the train goes into a tunnel under Primrose Hill. Looking backwards when leaving the tunnel yields a view of the wonderfully ornate tunnel entrance. This is no ordinary brick arch and buttress structure. The tunnel portals are built from stone with elegant towers that I'm sure were built because of the Victorian desire for beauty as well as function in their engineering projects. Although it has since been extended, with additional tunnels, this picture of the original construction shows this quite well.

All of a sudden we're arriving at Euston and having to fight through the crowds of people trying to get through the barriers at the end of the platform. It's then a trip round the Northern Line as far as Bank and a short walk to the office, where I arrive about an hour and a quarter after leaving the house.

No comments: