On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

Not so nice on the ears

Posted on December 5, 2011

Reading time: 2 minutes.

Work has been the cause of taking me on journeys to and from Hertfordshire from Macclesfield over the last few months. Parts of those are made on First Capital Connect trains between London King’s Cross and Hatfield. It’s the passage at speed through tunnels that has inspired for the title.

It seems that there is a pressure change on passing through every one that is reminiscent of air travel and it isn’t pleasant for ones ears, or mine at least. Though the southeast of England not that hilly, the East Coast Mainline seems to pass through its share of tunnels as it goes through Greater London and Hertfordshire. The ones between Hatfield and Hitchin never are perceptible but the same cannot be said for those south of Hatfield. Quite how no comment has arisen about them is a little beyond though there are other causes for complaint such as how busy these trains can be, having to stand can be common depending on when you travel.

When I had cause to travel between Edinburgh and London, I cannot recall my ears “popping” on going through tunnels near London but the air conditioning on those trains may cancel out the effect and there were other concerns in my mind back then; interviews for first jobs after university were what drew me down from Scotland on day return itineraries. Then, I wouldn’t realise quiet how unsettling it is to see trains travelling a breakneck speed through commuter stations because it was so far in the future.

That last fact may explain the sensation I am getting in my ears on FCC trains. However, that also makes me wonder if the lack of quadrification on the West Coast Mainline between Stock-on-Trent and Stockport keeps even express services from speeding through trains like their counterparts on the East Coast Mainline. That may be frustrating for those wanting to shorten travel times but it makes awaiting a train in a station that bit less scary and passage through any tunnels less of an experience. It also is another argument for getting HS2 as far as Manchester but that’s another story.