Writing Prompt Story Starter: Trains

Shutterstock / Der_Wolf © story starter

While I’m working from home, I’ll occasionally hear a train in the distance, sounding its horn as it passes through our little station . . . and I’ll feel a Story Starter coming on!

Every time I hear it, it reminds me how much I’m looking forward to the day when we can travel freely again. And every passing day is one day closer.

In the big picture of what people are going through at the moment, not being able to travel is not even a ‘thing’, but travelling by train again is definitely something to look forward to.

The inspiration

Railways, and train stations, have been popular in stories since there have been railways! I’m thinking of “The Railway Children”, “Brief Encounter”, and if you’ve read the Harry Potter books, you’ll know the Hogwarts Express and Platform 9 ¾.

Bringing people together. Travel. Going on a journey.

The first steam trains. The ‘iron horse’. Puffing Billy and Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’. The Flying Scotsman, 4472.

The Victorians, and their spirit of enterprise. Building the railway bridges, and stations.

The Orient Express. Luxury travel. Second class. And third!

Trips on the train. The ‘sleeper’. The underground – in Glasgow, the Subway.

Tickets, please! Railcards. Commuting.

Train station cafes. The buffet car.

Little stations. Level crossings. Dr Beeching. London stations – for us arriving from the east coast of Scotland, it’s usually Kings Cross.

Train journeys in other parts of the world. Transcontinental; coast to coast.

A journey to dream about

I saw a lovely programme on ‘catch-up’ this week – The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys – all about a train journey through the south-east of Sicily.

At the moment, all non-essential travel is off-limits, but it’s nice to have a journey to dream about/plan for/start a savings jar for, once all this is over, wherever our journeys might take us.

Good luck with your writing this week.

Click here to pick out another Story Starter from Fiction Ed Lucy’s archives.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!