Thank you, the people of Minami-Urawa, who rescued a member of your community who was stuck under a train. You reminded people all over the world about our common humanity.
I’m sure that the story has been covered all over the place but I read about it on the BBC website. A train pulled into Minami-Urawa station, just north of Tokyo and a woman fell and got stuck under the train. Because of the tilt suspension of the train, staff realised that they might be able to rock the train and give the woman space to get back up onto the platform.
As they began to push they were joined by around 40 passengers and working together the woman was freed.
In the end the train was only delayed by 8 minutes. Rock on! Of course, everyone was being put out by the delay so there was good reason to help. But just the idea that people would act so promptly to help out their fellow passenger/commuter made me happy.
Thank you, the people of Minami-Urawa.
I went to Japan several years ago to visit a friend who was living in Sanda-Shi. I loved travelling around the country by train. They were always punctual and I loved some of the things that were different to the UK, like being able to stand at the front carriage and look through the window over the driver’s shoulder. You could see him at the controls and see his view. Each time another train went past, the driver would wave a white-gloved hand at his fellow driver. It’s possible British train drivers to this too, but we can’t see.
I also had a negative experience when some people started being racist about me and my friend. These people were talking quite loudly and thought that we couldn’t understand them but my friend replied in Japanese to put them straight!
We went on holiday by Eurostar last month and had a really good experience. But now I’ve got another reason to like Eurostar so I thought I’d write out my reasons for using them.
1. Eurostar is less bad for the environment than flying
I love travelling but I don’t like being responsible for damaging the Earth when I do travel. Thankfully, Eurostar is less environmentally damaging than going by plane. London to Paris uses around 90% carbon than flying and London to Barcelona by train (closer to our destinations of Carcassonne/Perpignan) are around 85% less (source seat61.com). Of course, not travelling would use much less carbon, but I’m not willing to give up foreign travel yet.
2. Travelling by Eurostar requires less waiting around
I’m not a great traveller. I tend to think of what can go wrong and have to work at being relaxed and content on the move. Eurostar only requires you to be at St Pancras station around 30 minutes before departure, whereas flying often requires you to be at the airport 2 hours in advance. At Lille, when you get off a TGV and go through to the Eurostar platform it feels like there’s hardly any waiting around at all. Flight times often look quicker than going by train but once you include all the waiting around time, travelling by train is often faster. And stations aren’t set up to be like massive shopping malls as airports often are, so they’re more relaxing too.
3. The staff are always friendly
The staff on Eurostar trains have always been friendly and helpful, in my experience. Last time we travelled they took extra care around our baby and made sure that we had everything we needed. I don’t think we had many needs that we hadn’t met ourselves but it didn’t feel like it would be a bother to get help.
4. Travelling at a higher standard is relatively cheaper
I’ve never booked a flight in anything other than standard class as the price is always so much higher. But on Eurostar the price is often marginal and for the space, food, drink and magazines it feels like good value.
5. You can sit around a table/space
Okay, maybe you can do this first class in a plane, I wouldn’t know! But on Eurostar you can book your seats around a table. Either a table for 2 or a table for 4. And by the baby-changing areas in standard, you can book around a space where a table would normally be. It’s easier to wander around too than on a plane and there’s never a time when you have to go back to your seats because of take off/landing/turbulence.
6. There are less security restrictions
Got a baby? Need to take lots of baby foods? No problem. You don’t know how annoying it is to try and fly with a baby and limit yourselves by the security requirements until you have to do it. With Eurostar, you don’t even have to think about it.
7. Great customer care
Finally, the reason that prompted this blog post. Eurostar Customer Care read a recent post I wrote about travelling with a baby and picked up on my disappointment at missing out on my Plus Points for the booking. They tweeted to me and said they would fix it and had done so within 3 days. So I now have a money off voucher for my next booking. Sure, this is fixing something that I should have got anyway, but they just got on and sorted it out for me.
Father, Quaker, communicator, fundraiser and networker