Friday, 16 January 2009

Compartment Art


Some years ago I took these quick snaps of the pictures on the wall of a Southern Railway carriage on the Bluebell Line. They are both by Adrian Allinson (1890-1959), who produced posters for the GWR, SR and BR. The top picture is entitled 'Cornish Vale', painted sometime between 1945-8, the bottom one is called 'East Devon'. Both are in the soft medium of pastels. I know all this because of Greg Norden's book Landscapes Under The Luggage Rack, probably one of the most heartwarming and enjoyable books on this kind of thing in recent years. The subject of carriage prints is yet another timely reminder of just how brilliant a train journey could be, and I promise I won't go on again about how we're treated so appallingly by today's franchisees, ripping off everybody with criminal fare structures and red hot microwaved sausage buns. We won't see the likes of these gentle pictures in carriages again. We won't even see compartments again because we must be protected from the rapists and murderers that are on every train. But at least we can still trundle up and down the Bluebell Line, our Globetrotter suitcase on the string rack above us, our newspaper illuminated at the click of the switch underneath the little shaded lamp. (Pulls down blind, falls asleep with mouth open.)

7 comments:

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

And you could remove the lightbulbs, making it easier to push a Nazi spy out of the door in a tunnel. Probably.

Peter Ashley said...

Oo yes, I like the sound of that. Perhaps with an ABC Book of Timetables rammed in his mouth like Ian Holm did to someone in Alien.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Oh dear. I'll have to go and lie down.

Ron Combo said...

Specks of soot. Marvellous!

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