Up and Down the Line!

Deciphering the Reasons for Up and Down Directions

(Forgive my cynicism in what follows)

According to the powers that be, London is the centre of the Universe, and therefore on a higher plane of existence than anywhere else. At some time in the nineteenth century, it was decreed, no doubt by some bureaucrat or politician* that the direction of all trains would be 'UP' towards London and 'DOWN' towards anywhere else, thus reflecting London's unique status both socially and in every other respect. Cynics like myself would have suggested he do the job properly and move London to the North Pole, thus making sense of the whole issue!

Sir Humphrey Bumphrey-Meddlesome MPPOLITICIAN (1)

Sir Humphrey Bumphrey-Meddlesome MP (Con. Man. City)
Had a Hornby Train when he was young, thus considers himself qualified to run a railway!

This simplistic approach may be all very well with a simple radial network, but as a result of this nonsense, Britain's highly complex railway system is the most confusing in the world, not least to the staff themselves, who like railway folk all over the world, do their best!

Doesn't it sound daft when I state that, on my British simulations, most of the time 'Up' trains run down the screen and 'Down' trains run up it? On my Waverley Route layout, Selkirk branch trains run up to Galashiels, but the section between Selkirk Jn. Points and Galashiels uses the Down Line.

Albert Plodd MPPOLITICIAN (2)

Albert Plodd MP (Lab. Berk.[unlikely!])
Copped everything in 'ABC British Railways Locomotives' 1959. Has the largest collection of 'Zebedee Springs' in the UK!

As if this were not enough, London works to a different set of rules than the rest of the UK. London's Underground typefies this. Their lines are defined, very sensibly, by direction of travel, eg Northbound/ Southbound etc. I wonder why?

And they wonder why we Scots want devolution!

* - Safe in the knowledge that he would never be called to account for the consequences of his decisions. Not only that, he's immortal, if our government's present policies on railways are anything to go by.

(Written before the 1997 General Election.)

Top of page

Iain Logan's Electric Soup © I.W.Logan MCIT 1998. Last updated: 09 Jul 98 at 1400BST. HTML
3.2 Checked!