It was time. The crimson red of the train glinted in the light as people rushed around in organized chaos. Smoke billowed from the smokestack, and the entire train hissed as it settled and shifted from all the people getting on and off. It was time. This was the day where eleven year old's stepped onto the scarlet Hogwarts express and began their journey to Hogwarts. The train was almost as iconic as the school itself and in a way, just as beautiful. It was like a metaphor, a brand new beginning into a brand new world. Time to go.
The wind was rushing by, the scent of burning coal fluttered through the cabin through the open window. The sound of the hissing, chugging wheels was a nonstop sound that was both relaxing and soothing. The soft swaying of the cabin was like a rocking chair, making a person sleepy and tired. She couldn't sleep though, she had to be prepared, stay hidden. Tucked away behind boxes and crates, ready to move at a seconds notice. As soon as the train stopped she had to be moving. Leaping off to freedom before she was discovered. Her freedom was in reach.
Smoke darkened the horizon.
"We need to hurry up!" She grabbed her hand and they ran agitatedly, their breaths misting in the icy morning air.
"We won't make it!" the other gasped, the metallic taste of blood flooding her mouth.
She gave her an encouraging smile in return. "Yes, we will!"
The train was already crossing when they arrived. Afraid but desperate, they jumped onto an open carriage.
It never stopped.
They sat motionless, their chests rising and falling out of sync, as it chugged away from the village.
That was the first day of the rest of their lives.
Everything was still when the sun started to set. He drew his coat tighter, hypnotized by the sound of his own footsteps in the snow.
The railway slithered endlessly through the mountains, the first springs of grass sprouting along its route.
He strained his ears at the faint sound of a whistle. It was coming.
The soft rumbling of its wheels clambered closer, filling the twilight air, growing louder as he slowed to a halt.
The ground shook, orbs of fulgent light dazzled his eyes.
It was only after all signs of its passage had faded that he carried on.
That could have been the most exciting day of my life. As a half-blood, I only heard about them from my mom's stories so I was beyond excited when my Hogwarts letter arrived. I then crossed the barrier and felt proud. But I felt more proud after seeing the scarlet train. It seemed that the train confirmed my being a wizard. I sat in a compartment with three other students, all first years. The pure-blood told us about the train, the lunch trolley, the candies and snacks, and Hogwarts. I was learning several things. The train ride was so fast.
It was my last ride in the Hogwarts Express as a student. I was in early on the platform that day. I took in the sight that I won’t be seeing in the next years. Excited first years started to fill the carriage with noises. I remembered myself travelling alone seven years ago. The time ticked, signalling the train to be on its way for its annual trip. I started patrolling the corridor, helped one ickle find a compartment. I also enjoyed some chocolate frogs and pumpkin pasties from the trolley. The train arrived at last. It felt so fast.
Choo choooooo!!! Randy marched around the living room as he pumped him arm. Mandy knew Randy was excited about the train ride next weekend. She was excited but felt it would be childish to celebrate in that manner.
The next weekend found Randy and Mandy on the train to see Grandma. Somehow they ended up on the most glorious train ride ever that ended at a castle. A huge giant man told them to get in the boats.
Mandy ended in a special school and Randy was send home for a few more years when he could join his sister.
With no announcement, it pulls into stations in the dead times. It stops at dilapidated platforms on disused lines. The Long Train snakes through the countryside unnoticed. It could be a freight train for all people care. It has no schedule and shows up on no timetable. The Long Train can take you anywhere you want to go, but first you must find the Ticket Master. You must be let in on the secret of the next stop; for it never stops for long. It is the embodiment of the journey not the destination. The moving home to its passengers.
For the last two years they’d crept out of the house, snuck onto the tube and crossed the city. They’d slipped, small and unnoticed through the commuter throng, to the barrier between platforms. They’d unhesitatingly leaned into it. Through it. They’d arrive before most of the passengers and simply sit in a quiet corner at the far end of the platform waiting. The Hogwarts Express pulls in at 10:12. The driver knows from experience that it takes that long to board everyone. For two years Rowan had watched other people disappear off on that train. Finally, it was their turn.
The immense darkness enclosed the silent children. Trapped in an unrelenting gloom, like an inky fog seeping into every corner. They were disoriented and motionless, unable to judge their direction. They could sense they were moving headfirst and that came as a relief to them, at least the darkness hadn’t swallowed them up. It was quiet, no one dared to speak as they held the little air left within their lungs still. A whooshing sound filled the car followed by an extraordinary bright light. Exhales filled the train carriage as all the children breathed out together. “I win” One shouted!
I stood in line full of excitement. I could hear the train whistle blowing. As I looked down the rails, I saw the lights from the train approaching. "It's coming!", I yelled and jumped up and down giddy with excitement. As the train came closer, others in line started to look down the rails too. Out of the darkness came this bright red light and a skull. Suddenly, the song Crazy Train by Ozzy and everyone started to cheer and clap. Finally, after 10 minutes of waiting the Ghost Train was arriving and our haunted adventure was about to begin.
I got out of the muggle taxi and smiled as I took my luggage out of the back. I had finally made it to Platform 9 and 3/4. As I approached the platform, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around and saw my amazing friends Gail, Kendra, Shiloh, and Sky coming to me with their luggage. "Hello!", I yelled as I gave everyone a quick hug. We all turned and looked at the Hogwarts Express. "Well, let's stop staring and get our seats.", said Sky. We all laughed, grabbed our luggage, and headed over to the Hogwarts Express.
Trains have always been part of my life. The train has been a must-ride at any amusement park, shopping center and county fair! It was one of those extra special things I loved about Harry Potter, that all students took the train to school! It did also seem silly though, for all of them to have to go to King’s Cross, instead of the train having multiple stops. I’m sure some students could have saved a lot of time if they had gone straight to Hogwarts without going to London first, but I’m sure the bonding experience is worth it!
On my way to work, I drive over several sections of railroad tracks. I’d never seen a train on them, but it’s always fun to drive over them! One day I was headed to work early. This wasn’t an ordinary day, I was on a lucky streak! I hit EVERY green light and was making great time! Suddenly, the lights started flashing and the bars came down – a train was coming!! This was super exciting, since I haven’t seen a train in a long time! After 32 cars, I ended up being exactly on time for work. Talk about luck!
I was not like other children. My first word was not 'mama' nor 'papa'. I think I disappointed my parents a bit with that, honestly. It was entirely their fault though. They were the ones that bought me clothes with tiny trains. They were the ones who moved next to the train station. Every night, I woke around one in the morning, when a particularly old, and squeaky, locomotive whizzed past my window. Seriously, my name is Shinka, after Japan's Bullet Trains, the fastest ones in the world. Really, is it that surprising that my first word was 'choo choo'?
I received your letter a few days ago. It set my heart aflutter and at the same time, filled it with dread. I hope you're keeping your head down and don't put yourself into unnecessary danger. There's not a day that does not go by when I don't think of you. Enclosed with this letter are some drawings Mary-Ann drew for her daddy. I think the monsters around you are supposed to keep you safe. Kinds these days, right?
I can't wait for the day when the scarlet train will bring you back to us.
One day, a train show came to town. There were so many trains to board and learn about, it was impossible to get bored. My brother and I boarded a steam engine and learned all about what a conductor did. We walked through the train cars, and at some point I tripped and fell into a seat. He laughed, and I stuck my tongue out at him. My brother sat down next to me and we looked out the window imagining the town passing by. I think that was the first time I decided I wanted to ride a train.
My first ride on the Hogwarts Express was magical. What other word should I use for a train going to a magic school? But really, it was. As the train pulled off and I waved bye to my family, I watched out the window remembering when I would imagine leaving with my brother who would be going off to Hogwarts. Now, it was finally my turn. The train travelled faster than I thought, and I could not tear my eyes away from the valleys outside. Eventually I settled into my seat, excited for the new school year coming my way.
The plastic giraffe toppled and he patiently set it back on its legs. Very carefully, he nudged the end of the red carriage, sending the train with its animal passengers rolling down the track.
“Why are they in there?” his older sister asked.
“They’re going on a trip.”
“Animals don’t ride trains!”
“They can if they want.”
“No they can’t. They don’t go on trips, either.”
She barged past him, causing the animals to spill over the track. He stared hard at the derailment for a long time. Very quietly, he righted the train and began gently replacing the passengers.
The train squealed into the station, winds gusting around it. They picked up snow and cinders, sending them dancing. He stayed well back as people flocked forward, apparently unaware that they were about to get in the way of the disembarking passengers. After three years out here, he knew joining the crush wouldn’t get the parcel of medicines into his hands any quicker.
He idly watched one young woman struggling to disembark. She was richly attired and a husky puppy under insufficient control gambled around her, tangling her in its leash. Yet another person with romantic dreams of the north.
Standing, waiting and wonder are you late or early for the travels you have set in motion. You stand waiting for the next metal carriage with empty seats, waiting to be occupied. You've been told, you can tell time by a train's schedule. So, can you? Do you change your watch to synchronize with your train to test this theory? Watching others gather to wait along side with you checking or synchronizing their watches. Vibrations under feet tell you, its now or never to enter this journey.The doors open, making you choose. Do you stay or go on a journey?
How long is 5 minutes? You're sitting waiting in your vehicle, thinking if I just took the other route today I could've been home now. Instead, you look and no one else is there, on either side of the tracks. Debating, "if I cross really fast, I can make it and be home now". A whistle blows down the track. Do you sit or cross the tracks? You can make it if you hurry! Just go around the guard rails! It's just right there! Inching forward, you suddenly stop! The train tears past you whistling loudly. You breath a sigh.
Annabelle stared at the scenery passing her by and wondered about her upcoming destination. Was it far enough? She couldn't be certain, but as long as she never had to see her stepfather again she didn't care how far she needed to go. The small amount of change on her person jingled as she adjusted her position to stare more resolutely out the window. The more time passed the more glad she was she'd decided to finally take her leave. The small town she had been raised in wouldn't miss her anyway. Enough people gathered there to mask her absence.
When Marie imagined her life as a young girl, she thought that by twenty she'd have it all figured out. She now realized what an idealistic dream that had been. As she juggled about seven textbooks in her hands in a race to get them all in her backpack before running to her 9am class she felt as if the track her life had been on had drastically changed; some lever had been pulled that had changed her course entirely. She wasn't a late person by nature and she hoped her teacher would understand her newfound epiphany and struggling routine.
The concept of a near-supersonic train was introduced by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2013. The Hyperloop is a train that moves along a tube that all but eliminates air resistance, enabling it to exceed jet plane speed. For passengers, the ride could be likened to a rollercoaster, which may not have universal appeal. However, a route connecting New York City and Washington D.C. is one step closer to reality, with plans to build tunnels under existing state highways. Hyperloop passengers and/or cargo could complete a trip that approaches three hours by conventional train in as little as 29 minutes!
One of the most popular attractions that bring families back year after year is the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show, on display mid-November 2017 through mid-January 2018. Electric model G-scale locomotives navigate on a half-mile of track through more than 150 miniature landmarks crafted from acorns, twigs, bark, berries, and leaves. In addition to the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Yankee Stadium, this year’s exhibition showcases the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan. A behind-the-scenes video explains the work that goes into building each replica. As a memento, don’t forget to take a photo with Thomas the Tank Engine!
As the clock struck 1 minute to 11, I said "We need to hurry up!" as I grabbed his hand tight, our breaths misting in the icy morning air. "We won't make it!", he gasped. I gave him an encouraging smile in return. "Yes, we will!"
We ran through the wall at Platform 9 3/4 as the whistle was blown. We jumped onto a carriage, our luggage left behind.
We sat motionless, our chests rising and falling out of sync, as the train chugged away from the station.
This was the first day of the rest of our lives. Ready for school to begin!
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Poetry poetry poetry! This is where submissions get a bit more creative than most, and it's a wonder how many HOLers (particularly the eagles) are filled with fabulous artsyness.