Things to do on a Long Train Journey

So as I was sat on the train heading back to Exeter, I got thinking (essay-reading procrastination) about how best to kill time on a train. It’s no daily commute, but as students, we all spend a lot of time on trains getting home for the holidays and visiting friends or long-distance lovers. Here’re a few ideas to wile away the hours.

If you’re with a friend:

Despite the obvious, that is, talking to each other, the iPod game is brilliant for long train journeys (Of course you don’t need an actual iPod, any brand of music player with a shuffle function and headphones will suffice). It’s simple to play. You set your iPod to shuffle, put in your own headphones, then swap iPod with your friend. With a small 3-2-1 countdown (to build tension) click shuffle, and the first person to correctly guess the song and artist on their own ipod wins. I’m notoriously bad at this game… but it’s fun nonetheless.

If you’re all by yourself:

1) Sleep.

2) Why not play the iPod game with a stranger? It’s a great icebreaker.

3) Play the judging game. Look at the people sat around and fill in the blanks about their life based on what they’re wearing, what they’re reading or pure speculation. Tip: people talking loudly on the phone often offer the most material to work with.

4) Reading and writing are an obvious choice; the train can be a great time to catch up on work, settle into a good book or plan blogs… but it’s not always possible for those of us with motion sickness. Even if you have a stomach of steel, writing legibly on a train is a practised skill.

5) A good alternative to reading is watching television. It’s less likely to make you nauseous (depending on what you watch) and some of the posher trains to London now have little TV’s built into the back of the chairs. These do cost money, and the 5-minute previews offer limited entertainment. Returning from a spontaneous theatre trip to Bath, myself and Ellie did move around an (almost) empty train carriage watching the five minute previews on every seat, however I wouldn’t advise this for people on busier trains or who have a low embarrassment threshold. A better plan (for trains with plugs or those with macbooks) is to bring your laptop and a good dvd along. Alternatively, downloading  a few programmes from iplayer is a brilliant way to wile a way a few hours, and catch up on precious, precious QI.

If you have signal on your phone:

1) Never call people unless absolutely necessary. No-one wants to be THAT person on the carriage (see judging game above).

2) Text everyone, anyone, anything. If you have unlimited texts why not send a simple ‘hi’ to everyone in your phonebook. Or for a bit of drama, ‘How could you!?’ The more friends you have- the longer you’ll be amused for.

Frequent Train-ee?

If you just can’t get enough of riding that rail, find something productive to do by learning a new skill. Here are a few ideas:

1) Learn a language. From language tapes and podcasts that is, I wouldn’t recommend conjugating verbs or comprehension tasks.

2) Knit. It’s officially ‘in’ and it’s officially cold so it makes perfect sense.

3) Dig out your gameboy colour and restart pokemon yellow. Owning a level 70 Pikachu shows determination, passion and leadership skills that will embellish any CV…


Editor/Society President

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