PAID a flying visit to London at the weekend, by train. Four and a bit hours there, four and a bit hours back, seemed like no time at all. But then I was travelling East Coast and first class, a luxury that used to be reserved for the rich and famous.
No more it would appear.
In the not too distant past, it was possible to sit in first class and not see another soul between Edinburgh and Newcastle, other than the steward with his ever-steaming flask of fresh coffee.
All that has changed at East Coast, where first class is more accessible than ever. One regular traveller told me that by booking in advance he can do the journey between capitals for just £47.50 - a price that includes the aforementioned coffee, food, refreshments and the must have for any traveller in 2013, free Wi-Fi.
I have to admit, having been on decaf for the last two years I avoid the coffee run. Can you imagine? I’d be buzzing by Berwick.
Being addicted to Twitter (@LiamRudden if you want to give me a follow), free Wi-Fi is a different matter. It’s the first thing I look for when travelling these days. In fact, if a hotel doesn’t have it, I’ll book with another that does.
It’s also vital for checking emails, Facebook and whole host of other apps - how did we pass the time in the days before social media? Actually, I do still to bring a good book along with me too.
Not that it’s difficult to kill time sightseeing - the east coast line is quite simply one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the country, especially on a sunny day when the scenery is quite breathtaking.
Whether it’s the watery coast as you speed over the border, the raised approach into Newcastle, followed by the bridge over the Tyne, the graceful, majestic wind turbines, or even the brutal cuboid symmetry of Torness Power Station. The sun makes all the difference.
Anyway, it was while commenting on all this on the way to London that I tweeted to Black Diamond presenter Geoff Ruderham (10am-1pm, weekdays) that I was ‘on a flying visit to London’.
The mental picture that conjured up in his head led me to observe that it wouldn’t be long before I was ‘flying by train’ again - now there’s a advertising slogan if ever there was one.