Teresa Butchers shares her experiences of arriving in Devon by train and waiting for others to do the same...
I love arriving by train. Out from the big cities heading south west, the first sign of getting anywhere close is, for me, crossing the Levels. Then Taunton, and as the train pulls out it’s time to put your newspaper away and remember where your luggage is. But sit tight – don’t get up too early – until we reach the tunnel. Then it’s time to go.
As the train emerges from the tunnel into the light, we’ve crossed the county boundary, and here we are in Devon: there on the right is the Grand Western Canal, there on the left the motorway traffic is going slightly slower than us, even down the hill. And so the last few fields, the train slowing past the pond, open the window to let the fresh air in, and it pulls onto the platform.
I’ve arrived at Tiverton Parkway in bright sunshine, baking heat, rain, mist, storm and deep snow. I’ve waited on the platform for family and friends and people I don’t yet know, watching up the line for the first sight of the train appearing round the corner.
Though it’s new (remember Tiverton Junction?) and utilitarian, the Parkway’s memories of arrivals and departures make it, for me, a romantic place, gateway to Devon, and to home.