Most Interesting, Most Nostalgic, Most Boring, Most Hated

Purple Orange

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In the spirit of some of the “most impressive” or “favourite X, Y, Z” threads, this is question is what is your most interesting, most nostalgic, most boring and most hated aspects of the railways and why? To kick off, my opinion is:
  • Most interesting: Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Victoria. This one chaotic stretch of track contains so much variety. Different architectural styles, a visual history from the days of Stephenson to the present day, the back drop of an evolving city through to the mix of rolling stock, means that for me this is the most interesting part of the railway network. St. Pancras comes a close second.
  • Most nostalgic: Newcastle Central. The first ‘big’ station I recall going to. The chaos and noise, married with the maze that appeared to be a myriad of trains and platforms to go to all sorts of destinations (although the reality is very different to a child’s imagination).
  • Most boring: London Waterloo and London Victoria. Dull rolling stock and dull destinations. It is a commuter hell that numbs the mind.
  • Most hated: London Euston. It is a parcel depot attempting to be a railway station. Not just any station either, but the main entry point in to London for vast swathes of the country.
 
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45039

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barnsley
Most interesting: Sheffield -St pancras -always something interesting on route freight,passenger,test train etc plus depots
Most nostalgic: Doncaster was and still is a brilliant station seeing the deltics for the first time in 79 was awesome nowadays still busy and plenty of freight but spoiled by Japanese plastic
Most boring: Settle Carlisle line hate it with a passion last time I did it was October last yr on a 3 car 158 previous time was on a 45 hauled Glasgow-Nottingham hated it then and still do now boring line
Most hated: Sheffield my home station but so cold nothing interesting any more no decent facilities apart from Sheffield tap much prefer the rundown 80s station even with the travellers fare refreshments
 

alexl92

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Most interesting: Halifax Station fascinates me because of the amount of railway history visible even whilst you're just passing through
Most Nostalgic: Could be Halifax again as we always travelled from New Pudsey - Halifax via train to go to Eureka when I was a kid.
Most Boring: Azumas. Uuuuuuuglyyyyyy
Most hated: Whilst I recognise their value as a workhorse, I detest class 66s!
 

2L70

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18 Feb 2019
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Barnetby
Most Interesting: I was fortunate enough to have a look round Inchicore Works in Dublin last year. The Heritage stuff in there is amazing.

Most Nostalgic: Darlington Station, running up and down the walkways when younger. Reading the local papers in Whsmiths. maybe getting chips outside after waiting to pick a family member in the car.

Most Boring: Turbos. When i travel between Worcester and Gloucester i hope it's not one of these horrid things.

Most Hated: The Operator of the Inter - Urban Franchise in the North of England.
 

MonsooN

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Houghton le Spring
Most Interesting: I quite like the stretch of the GWR between Reading and Plymouth. You're never short of lovely views of rolling countryside and seaside.

Most Nostalgic: Seaham Station. I grew up a stone's throw from there and had many happy memories playing near there when I was a child. My grandad used to take me to Seaburn, near Sunderland from there in the summer too, which was lovely.

Most Boring: Sorry to say it, but there are big stretches of the ECML that are just flat farmer's fields with not much to look at except a distant church spire or power station.

Most Hated: Voyagers! Not designed for anyone over 6' tall, cramped, uncomfortable on long journeys and overcrowded most of the time too.
 

greyman42

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Most Interesting; I enjoy the stretch from Potters Bar to Kings Cross. Depots, sidings, various classes of trains, variations of track layout and a football stadium.
Most Nostalgic; Mark 1 stock. Reminds me of my first rail journeys as a child.
Most Boring; York to Darlington is pretty dull.
Most Hated; Pacers. They were awful trains even when they were new.
 

Any_Permitted

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Most Interesting: St Pancras station. Amazing architecture, the redevelopment was a massive success and really turned it into a destination and not just a place you go to catch a train. If I'm in London with people I sometimes suggest going there for a drink. And I haven't even yet mentioned the fact you can catch international trains there.

Most Nostalgic: A bit of a strange answer, but the old 'New Generation' train ticket design that was used from the mid 2000s to around 2015-2016. As someone who has an interest in the design of train tickets I preferred the old design and I always feel nostalgic when I see them. Doubt any ticket machines or offices still issue the old ones anymore. Not that the new ones are terrible though.

Most Boring: I don't know why this stands out to me but the Northern City Line from Moorgate to Finsbury Park. The dark stations in tunnels, the Class 313 trains (although they've been replaced by Class 717s I've heard), even the TOC brand name "Great Northern", it just seems very...normal and not very exciting. Honestly you could say this about many stretches of the London Underground network, but this one came to mind when I thought "boring". There's absolutely nothing majorly wrong with this line, the service has been great every time I've used it.

Most Hated: Voyagers! Not designed for anyone over 6' tall, cramped, uncomfortable on long journeys and overcrowded most of the time too.
Agreed 100%. Whenever I travel from Oxford to Reading I always seem to get a GWR train. But nearly every time I make the return journey back to Oxford its a Cross Country Voyager. If someone asked me how comfortable the seats were I genuinely wouldn't be able to answer because I've had to stand in the corridor by the toilet every time.
 

43096

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Most interesting: an evening on Olten station in Switzerland. For sheer variety and frequency it is hard to beat: there's a constant stream of passenger and freight services, with traction on local workings from 1990s EMUs to Stadler FLIRTs, SBB 460s and EMUs on long distance services and the freight will throw up anything from old BLS "browns", through the classic SBB Cargo Re10/10 pairs to state of the art Vectrons. The train movements are constant with a never-ending stream of passenger and freight workings.

Most nostalgic: In the UK, perhaps somewhere like Norwich before the FLIRTs came in: 90s on the London trains, 37s and 68s on passenger working and usually some other DRS locos around too, giving a surprisingly large number of locos in and around the station at times. I'll throw another foreign one in as well - Leipzig Hbf. For sheer scale it is impressive and DB have done a superb restoration job on it to bring it back to its former glory. It looks particularly impressive when lit up at night. There's even a display of heritage vehicles in one corner of the station on disused platforms.
Leipzig.jpg

Most boring: Probably somewhere like Paddington and Kings Cross with the influx of drab new trains, which leads onto...

Most hated: the constant dumbing-down of standards on the railway since privatisation as epitomised by the ironing board seat and the soulless, uncomfortable pieces of junk that are the Hitachi 80x fleets. A special mention here, too, for Birmingham New Street.
 

backontrack

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Most interesting: the Far North Line in its entirety. It has so much variety, and there's always so much to see out of the windows. There's the Beauly Firth, Ben Wyvis, the oil rigs at Invergordon, Dornoch Firth, the rugged hills around Rogart, the coastline from Golspie to Helmsdale – with seabirds on the rocks from Brora onwards – lush Strath Ullie, the stags at Forsinard, the desolate flow country, and the Caithness dry stone walls which gradually appear as you pull into Wick and Thurso. There's even a reversal or two to keep you on your toes.

Most nostalgic: York railway station. This is where I used to come as a very young child with my Dad – just to look at the trains and walk around the bridge and see! Just to see it all. And many fantastic holidays began with a walk to York railway station.

Most boring: Class 375s in the old Southeastern livery.

Most hated: Pendolinos. I hate the b*stards.
 

scotlass

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Most interesting: ECML between Edinburgh Waverley and Newcastle. Beautiful views of the coast and the approach into Newcastle.

Most nostalgic: York railway station. Lots of memories both as a child going on holiday and the whole city still my favourite go to place in the UK. Could never tire of the National Railway Museum.

Most boring: Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Central. After Kirknewton, miles of barren moorland, with a few wind turbines, then the State Hospital at Carstairs.

Most hated: Pendolinos. The only time I've ever felt queasy on a train.
 

TFN

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Most interesting: St Pancras Int'l. International trains to Europe, Thameslink and its vast network and Southeastern HS services. And that glorious roof.

Most nostalgic: The Overground East London Line. Always reminds me of the former ELL and the times of going to/from school in those lovely A Stock trains.

Most boring: The District line from South Kensington to Aldgate East. It's just the same every station and it's so slow.

Most hated: The 378s. I feel myself ageing when I hop onboard one of those things.
 

Sad Sprinter

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  • Most interesting: I'll have to say the approaches to London Bridge and onto Cannon Street. Love the racing through inner South London and the twisting over the old Victorian rooftops of Southwark before crossing the bridge into the City.
  • Most nostalgic: Contray to the OP-Clapham Junction and London Victoria. Some of my earliest memories are visiting these stations, I recall vaugely my father taking me to these stations in a buggy for a look around in the hope I would fall asleep on the way back! Clapham Junction platform 9 always rekindles fond memories of waiting for a train, often to my dad's work on the days he brought me in to his office.
  • Most boring: Not too sure, although what stands out is the journey from Bristol Parkway to Didcot is always mind-numbing. Not so bad on the outward fourney from London, but going the other way, I think the feeling of just wanting to get home makes the mile upon mile of countryside somewhat tortuous.
  • Most hated: How dull the railways are. Boring TOCs, boring mass market trains, hardly any soul left in the railways nowadays. At least, happily, they're being used more than they ever were.
 

SteveM70

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Most interesting - (a) anywhere I’m going for the first time or (b) Coventry to Wolverhampton. Must’ve done it hundreds of times as a kid and always seemed to see something new

Most nostalgic - the far north, Kyle and west highland lines. Remind me of a very happy teenaged holiday

Most boring - Peterborough to Kings Cross

Most hated - those awful cross country voyagers. Always packed, claustrophobic, and they stink. Pendolinos a close second
 

3141

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Most interesting: eastwards out of Manchester, particularly to Guide Bridge and the surrounding area where there are so many signs of how extensive the former DC electrified area was. (But if I was doing it every day it might become the most boring instead!)

Most nostalgic: the West Somerset Railway, since I lived in Minehead many years ago and travelled between there and Taunton on many occasions at that time and since, before BR closed it in 1971.

Most boring: a journey calling at all stations between Portsmouth Harbour and Eastbourne.

Most hated: any platform with a photographer who thinks everyone else should have noticed he's there, know exactly what he wants to photograph, and expect to be shouted at if they happen to place themselves where he doesn't want them to be.
 

Purple Orange

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Hi everyone. Some fantastic responses here - particularly from 43096, partly due to the inclusion of a pic of a station with a brilliant arched roof (a proper station has an arched roof in my opinion). Really enjoyed reading through the thread. Hopefully more to come eh?
 

Purple Orange

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  • Most interesting: I'll have to say the approaches to London Bridge and onto Cannon Street. Love the racing through inner South London and the twisting over the old Victorian rooftops of Southwark before crossing the bridge into the City.
  • Most nostalgic: Contray to the OP-Clapham Junction and London Victoria. Some of my earliest memories are visiting these stations, I recall vaugely my father taking me to these stations in a buggy for a look around in the hope I would fall asleep on the way back! Clapham Junction platform 9 always rekindles fond memories of waiting for a train, often to my dad's work on the days he brought me in to his office.
  • Most boring: Not too sure, although what stands out is the journey from Bristol Parkway to Didcot is always mind-numbing. Not so bad on the outward fourney from London, but going the other way, I think the feeling of just wanting to get home makes the mile upon mile of countryside somewhat tortuous.
  • Most hated: How dull the railways are. Boring TOCs, boring mass market trains, hardly any soul left in the railways nowadays. At least, happily, they're being used more than they ever were.
I agree with your most interesting point. When I was mulling over my own ‘most interesting’ I had not thought about this area but it is quite spectacular in my opinion. Particularly I quite like viewing it not from the perspective of the railway, but down on Borough Market and enjoying a few beers in some brilliant pubs around there. I’ll still say Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Victoria is my most interesting nomination though.
 

DelphDonkey

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Most interesting: It's a cliche, I know, but Exeter St D round to Newton Aaaabott for me. Scenery, birdlife, deer at Powderham Castle, the remains of the Atmospheric. Always a joy, even in the days when I did it regularly.
Most nostalgic: It's almost all been swept away, but Manchester Victoria. Grandad was a Superintendent there, and as a child I was taken into many interesting nooks, notably the then new East powerbox. Later in life I spent many happy hours gricing on the through platforms ... I'll never forget the first time i heard a Deltic there! Of the current through platforms I shall not speak.
Most boring: Brum to Bristol. Not so much at either end, but the bits in between. Mainly because I did it so many times, and once you've left the University behind at Brum there is rag all to look at until approaching Temple Meads.
Most hated: Piggin' Voyagers. I have actively avoided them for years, in fact the last time I had to go to Devon I went via London. They wouldn't be quite so bad if they were twice the size.
 

backontrack

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Most nostalgic: York railway station. This is where I used to come as a very young child with my Dad – just to look at the trains and walk around the bridge and see! Just to see it all. And many fantastic holidays began with a walk to York railway station.

Most hated: Pendolinos. I hate the b*stards.
Most nostalgic: York railway station. Lots of memories both as a child going on holiday and the whole city still my favourite go to place in the UK. Could never tire of the National Railway Museum.

Most hated: Pendolinos. The only time I've ever felt queasy on a train.
:D
 

Mcr Warrior

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Here's my take on this...

Most interesting: Always enjoy the South Lakes coastal section from Arnside to Ulverston. Great views across Morecambe Bay. Fort William to Mallaig line in North West Scotland a close second.

Most nostalgic: The directors' observation car operating on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey steam railway. Also enjoy visiting / catching a train from Hellifield station which has a handy on-platform cafe.

Most boring: Section from Bolton when crawling into Manchester through Salford Crescent. Mostly the rear of scruffy industrial units. Particularly dull at night. The section Eastwards out of Manchester Piccadilly from Ashburys to Guide Bridge a close second in scruffiness.

Most hated: Bouncing around on Class 142 Pacer units especially at rush hour when they were invariably full and standing. Similarly Cross Country Voyager units if you were sat over (or close to) the noisy underfloor diesel engines and/or the stinky toilet ventilation outlets.
 

Mikey C

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Most interesting: Docklands Light Railway, such a lot to see, the various creeks of East London, the Limehouse basin, Canary Wharf, ExCel, London City Airport, PLUS the inside of tunnels from the front seat!

Most nostalgic:The now Overground services into Liverpool Street as I spent a year travelling in from Bruce Grove back in the late 80s when I was at University. Especially as it would have been on 315s as well, which 30 years later were virtually identical inside! The new 710s will dent the nostalgia a bit...

Most boring: Much of the ECML is pretty dull.

Most hated: 1992 tube stock on the surface section of the Central Line, on a hot sunny day! Really hot and uncomfortable
 

43066

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Most interesting: Sheffield -St pancras -always something interesting on route freight,passenger,test train etc plus depots
100% agreed. It’s a varied route with lots of interesting features. Also not at all bad to drive (or so I’m told ;) ).

Most Nostagic: the Thames Tunnel on London Overground does it for me.

Most boring: HS1. There’s just something soulless about it.

Most hated: “the scum” aka the North Kent line. Horrible trains, carrying some horrible passengers, to some truly horrible places.
 
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37424

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Leeds
Most Interesting: Well TPE operation, I am quite enjoying the return of loco hauled trains never been to Scarborough so much.

Most nostalgic: Carnforth to Maryport love the route much of it Scenic, the Infrastructure much like a preserved railway, and of course the recent spell of the 37's made it even more interesting, Standing on Arnside station tends to bring back memories of waiting for the evening sleeper as a kid, hoping for 40 but frequently being disappointed with a 47.

Most Boring: Lincoln to Barnetby.

Most Hated: Pacers.
 

Dr_Paul

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A bit abstract, I'm afraid, but here goes...

Most interesting: Anywhere where there are depots, sidings, locomotives, goods wagons: anywhere where there isn't just up and down tracks and multiple-unit stock.

Most nostalgic: An autumn evening trip on the Bluebell Railway: vintage carriages, steam locomotive, arriving at a dark, gas-lit Sheffield Park. A magical journey into the past.

Most boring: So much of today's railways are stripped down to the minimum compared to them in my earliest memories, in the 1960s, so much less of interest today than in the past.

Most hated: Repeated tannoy announcements on trains and at stations, especially that 'sorted' one.
 
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dorsetdesiro

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30 Oct 2017
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Most interesting: Whenever the train crosses water, like a bay also if the surroundings are pleasant like Lymington Harbour, Holes Bay at Poole and the viaduct at Barmouth, Wales.

Most nostalgic: Being a very young lad waiting on the platform at Poole station then being transfixed at the sight of the brand new 442s when they glided in. The ultra modern layout with plastics and comfortable seating was a real departure from the old draughty & rattling slam door units that ran few days before.

Most boring: Any urban stretch facing the back of terraced housing and graffitied walls, mostly seen whenever the train arrives at a London terminal. From this point I just look down and concentrate on the book/tablet/laptop/mobile until more interesting views come up. On the Waterloo route, I look away around Surbiton/Wimbledon (not much to see) then look up again around Vauxhall along the wide stretch into Waterloo where the London Eye could be seen.

Most hated: Unsuitable rolling stock used on long distance services. I do remember waiting at Temple Meads for the FGW Portsmouth Harbour service, I weren't that familiar with Great Western services, at the time, for a journey as long as that I expected modern stock after being used to 442s & 444s. I was gobsmacked when a clapped out 150, with 3+2 seating, rolled in! This was a time before 158s and 165s/166s became the norm. The same goes for Thameslink 700s from the south coast to as far as Cambridgeshire. I do sympathise with anybody elsewhere having to use Pacers - at least this is changing with 15Xs, 170s and new stock coming in.
 

Requeststop

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This could turn out to be an excellent thread:
Most Interesting: Junctions. Some might find this weird, but ever since I was a child, I have always found junctions fascinating. Travelling over a junction and seeing the line we are not travelling over disappear to some other place. I think it is something about the certainty of rail travel in that the line you pass over will take you to your destination.
Most Nostalgic: In the early 60's summers at St Erth train watching. I adored seeing the long distance holiday trains and specials arriving and departing to and from all sorts of places so far away from West Cornwall. Watching the excited passengers arriving excitedly and transferring to the St Ives branch trains, and seeing the somewhat sullen passengers departing to go home back up country. There is absolutely nothing like that these days.
Most boring: Waiting for a delayed train or stuck on a halted train. I like to be moving.
Most hated: Definitely privatisation. I loved the national rail service from Thurso to Penzance and all places in between and the single connection between them in that you were taken care of by one enterprise. Any problem with a journey would be sorted out for you if you were severely delayed and you were not at the whim of a different company to decide if they would help you out. Being unable to travel over the same section of line because the ticket you bought is for a different company really sucks. Nationalisation did have it's drawbacks but the service was a hundred times better than todays. Second, Cross Country train of four coaches. Third, the new GWR trains that split and join at Plymouth. Hate them.
 

irish_rail

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Plymouth
Most interesting- Port city of Plymouth to St Germans. The port, the bridge, the hills, the coast.

Most nostalgic- Dublin area .

Most boring- Truro to Redruth, God this section of road bores me.

Most hated - Bere Alston to Gunnislake. Max 20mph, but 10mph in some places. Soooo dull (if scenic).
 

chefchenko

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8 Apr 2011
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congleton
Most interesting: Highland main line , I love the old stations , aviemore is just stunning , the scenery especially over drumochter best seen while in first class on a HST while having dinner , and the glint of the moray firth as you arrive into Inverness
Most nostalgic : Bristol temple meads on a summer Saturday , all sorts passing through whisking holiday makers home or to the seaside , the noise , the smell , travellers fayre buffets
Most boring : I particularly hate the stoke - derby stretch and avoid it at all costs if I can , it’s just meh ! How someone in an earlier post can hate Carlisle - settle just beggars belief
Most hated : pendolinos I despise , especially going backwards north of Lancaster which is particularly nauseating
 

Essexman

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Most interesting - I think the far North Line. Varied scenery and a feeling that this is a really special railway journey every trip.

Most nostalgic - Paddington to Torquay as it's the journey we did as children so many times in the 1960s & 70s.

Most boring - Soggy microwaved bacon rolls.

Most hated - Vomit inducing Pendolinos.
 

The_gardener

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1 Dec 2019
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Aberdeen
Most interesting: Like many others I like the South Devon main line and the highland lines, although I prefer the West Highland Line all the way from Glasgow to Mallaig. I would also suggest Aberdeen to Edinburgh (coast, bridges, castles, stadia, airport...) and Swindon to Gloucester especially Kemble to Stroud.
Most nostalgic: Aberdeen to Inverness in the early 80's. Loco hauled 26, 37, 40, 47 and freight at the intermediate stations. Also any trip behind the driver in a first generation DMU.
Most boring: most of the ECML ( much prefer the West coast).
Most hated: Any carriage where windows and seats do not match and the Azuma seats!
 

Purple Orange

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I find it interesting that so many people cite pendolinos as their most hated/boring. I don’t mind them, but I am no fan of the tiny windows and what really makes my journey on them horrible is if someone with a laptop comes along and takes up more space than they should, while getting annoyed if I have to ask them to stand so I can go to the toilet or shop.

Anyway, I really enjoy reading people’s responses and thought I’d add another based purely on rolling stock.

Most interesting: The new TPE 802s. I’m quite a fan of the new 80X trains and the TPE ones look pretty good. The shape and feel is excellent and I’m glad that so much of the network will be seeing them in regular use.

Most nostalgic: although we don’t see it anymore, it would be a class 47 hauled intercity train. I’m not entirely sure why, but perhaps I travelled on one when I was very young. There is something about the front which makes me want to look at it longer.

Most boring: Commuter stock. They are purely functional and they need to be. I think we need more of it in certain areas (Manchester), but there is nothing exciting about them.

Most hated: Pacers. Whenever they turned up I found I would get a bad back due to the cramped bus seating. Now that they are going, my most hated may change to any train that is shorter than passenger demand. Never liked HSTs either.
 

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