Friday, 5 June 2009

A Devious Journey

On Wednesday I went to London backwards.

My train left Leicester travelling Northwards, turned East to go through Melton Mowbray and Oakham, then entered Peterborough travelling in a South Easterly direction.

At Peterborough I was able to scamper across the bridge to arrive at platform 2 just in time to board a Southbound train for King's Cross, whence I had an invigorating walk to St. Pancras where I had arranged to meet Gerard, with whom I then visited Kew Gardens.

It was all  much more exciting than the conventional journey, though it was not what I intended when  I set out that morning.

What I hadn't allowed for was the body at Bedford.

When I arrived at Leicester station, rather early, I noticed the train before mine waiting in the station, it's expected departure time moving forward so as to be always a minute or two later than the prevailing time. On the platform were two groups or railway staff in earnest conclave, mobile phones pressed to their ears.

When I asked if anything was wrong I learnt that trains had been stopped until police had finished examining the corpse of someone who had inconsiderately jumped underneath a train near Bedford. The devious route through Peterborough as suggested as the best bet.

We do make an unreasonable fuss about bodies. Once someone is dead, their remains are of little significance except as evidence where foul play is suspected, or as teaching materials if someone has died in an especially instructive way.

 Usually it should be enough for someone to take a few witness statements and a few photographs and then move the body to the side of the track where the police could examine it at their leisure, allowing trains to thunder by at their customary 100 mph.

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