British Rail Manual – Competition Winners

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We would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who submitted a response to our latest competition to win a copy of the new British Rail Corporate Identity Manual. Also a massive thanks to the book curator, Wallace Henning, who kindly donated three for us to giveaway!

Below are our favourite (and winning) entries. If you didn’t win this time around, you can buy the book here.

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#1 by Jon Ashby

“My favourite train journey has always been the journey between Coventry, my home town, and London Euston – and its return. It’s a journey I’ve taken countless times, and one that has become a prism via which much of my life has been defined so far.

It began with my first trip down to apply for university in London. That tingling excitement of escaping your hometown and taking that first teenage leap into the possibilities of the unknown began a heightened romanticism with which, even if in diminishing returns, I still feel to this day when making that journey. Taking me to new experiences, new adventures, a new home. I’m now 37…

Of course, the return journey holds just as much significance. It brings me ‘home home’, to family and school friends. The brutalist drabness of the station offering oxymoronic comfort and warmth, but equally tinged with the emotion of relationship break-ups, birthdays, family bereavement, job interviews, missed chances, Christmas and all the rest of it.

But in whichever direction or mood, that prism, the half-reflected train window self-portrait bleeding into the speeding landscape and sky beyond, would offer me a glimpse into a hopeful future.”

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#2 by Craig Berry

“My favourite train journey started in around 2012/13 when I first travelled to Leeds from Liverpool. It was to attend my interview at Leeds Met (now Beckett) for their Graphic Arts & Design course. At the time I was doing my foundation course at Liverpool Community College (now The City of Liverpool College) and this trip to Leeds was the first time I had gone on such a journey by my self; it was terrifying and exciting at the same time. I was so nervous at the thought of having to explain myself and my work to the tutors at the university so I can’t really remember that particular journey so well other than that I was frantically cramming notes and sentences into my head and also the hassle of lugging my A0 portfolio case through a reasonably busy train carriage.

Although this fear was superfluous, as the next day I received the news that I had been accepted provisionally and 3 years later I graduated with a 1st class degree having had an amazing time in Leeds, making new friends, learning the subject and experiencing life in general. Over those 3 years I must’ve made that same journey from Liverpool to Leeds (and vice-versa) around 50+ times as I returned home frequently (during 1st and 2nd years) to work and see family & friends.

The physical journey itself isn’t very long at around an hour and a half but it is beautiful. Leaving the city of Liverpool and quickly passing through the small industrial Northern towns of Birchwood and Warrington and then onto the City of Manchester where I always tried to sit by the window facing the Haçienda as it passed by to catch a glimpse. It then crosses the Pennines into Yorkshire and through the small villages of Stalybrige and Dewsbury but also Huddersfield where I admired the impressive Huddersfield Town football/rugby stadium before then finally arriving in the bustling city of Leeds.

The most magnificent time of year for this journey was in the late afternoons/early evenings in Winter, when the sun is setting on the natural landscape. I usually spent this time trying to either write or carry out design work but the landscape was always too distracting; usually with the soundtrack of Aphex Twin in my ears which weirdly matched perfectly (at least to me).

Doing this train journey so many times helped me become more confident as an independent young adult and since then I have become much more self-reliant and I can handle pretty much any sort of travel situation now whereas before it was a daunting idea. The latest chapter in becoming self-sufficient was getting a flight (on my own for the first time) to Amsterdam where I am currently living and interning at a branding agency. With this place I regularly get trains across the country to great European cities and at the time of writing this I am travelling to Eindhoven this evening for a light night festival. Although as good as it is here I would like to return to Leeds soon and have to make that same journey from Leeds to Liverpool.”

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#3 by Ubaldo Ortiz

“As a young man in 80s, middle class Mexico, my father mustered up a respectable wad of cash and a government scholarship that enabled his goal to study physics in Lyon, France.

On my 12th birthday in the early 2000s, I learnt that his stay there did not only serve to convert him into a devout Francophile, but also produced a second, much more tangible connection between the country and him: A daughter.

Alexandra, my half-sister, had been a secret concern for my father, unknown to my two sisters and myself up until that time. That summer, we would meet her.

As a middle-aged man in 2000s, middle-high class Mexico, my father mustered up a more proportionally respectable wad of cash for his age, and 5 plane tickets that enabled my mother, my sisters, and myself, to accompany him to Paris, France.

On this trip, my sisters and myself would leave our country for the first time, would see our half-sister for the first time, and would be in a Hollywood-acknowledged, first-world-approved city for the first time. Excited was too little a descriptor, we were absolutely flabbergasted.

We still fell asleep for most of the flight. 

But the train ride, from Charles de Gaulle Airport to our tiny hotel room.

My very first glimpse of a foreign country, with foreign trees, and foreign soil, and foreign roads.

My excitement, to see a big, city-sized, actually urban, love-capital-of-the-world, giant-looking, intimidating city for the very first time.

My first time surrounded by people speaking a completely new language, with weird hand motions, and bizarre laughs.

My fear, not sure if I’d get along with, or even understand my sister (I did).

My first time holding on to my family tightly, as they were the only part of home that had come with me.

And my first time truly excited for the unknown, and happy to be out of my comfort zone.

All that, I remember well.”