Yet, there are some touristy places which still run the old fashioned steam trains with their old fashioned compartments well preserved as they were in real life some 60 or more years ago.
These are full sized trains which were in service another lifetime away. They are kept in operation and well maintained by teams of volunteers running various organisations for the preservation of railway history on a charitable basis. The trains normally run a short route of some 10 or 20 miles through the countryside and tourists ride on them just to go there and back again.
I settled comfortably into one of these old style compartments.
Let me describe it to you. Unlike the modern open-plan compartments; these old style trains have a number of separate small compartments inside each carriage, with a narrow corridor running along-side the whole length of the carriage. Each small compartment is about 4 metres in lengths and about 2 metres wide. The compartments contain two large settee type seats accommodating four people sitting side-by-side facing another four people sitting opposite them. Depending on where you are sitting you would either travel in the direction the train is going; or would be travelling backwards, as it were. Only two people sit on the far side of the compartment, facing each other, near the small windows. The others are either squashed in the middle of the "settee" or are at the other end of the compartment, near the sliding door; leading to the corridor running alongside the length of the carriage. So basically, each compartment can contain four people sitting facing another four people - eight in all.
Anyway, as I was saying before I engaged into this elaborate description of the compartment, I sat comfortably by the window facing the direction the train was going to travel - that is facing forwards.
Pretty soon four people entered the compartment and sat opposite me; that is travelling backwards as it were. They were an elderly man with a Tom Selleck moustache who sat next to the window, opposite me. Let me explain ... the man with the moustache sat opposite me, not the moustache by itself! Then next to him sat a priest wearing a hat. Then a rotund lady in her fifties who sat next to the priest. And an elderly lady who sat next to her.
Minutes later a woman and her daughter came in. The woman asked me politely if it is OK for her daughter to sit next to the window. The obvious answer, me being polite and a gentleman, would be, "No ... go and sit elsewhere in another compartment!" But there was a priest there, so I smiled and got up.
The girl sat by the window with her mother beside her. I sat next to the mother and soon enough a large man came in and sat beside me. He sat with his legs wide open. Why do some men do that?
This meant that I was squashed in the middle of the seat with the fat man on my right and the mother on my left. I tried desperately not to get too close to the woman in case she got the wrong idea that I was being somewhat too friendly. But the fat man on my right kept pushing me against her making himself more comfortable in more than his allotted space on the seat.
I realise that the settee style seat did not have demarcation lines, like a frontier between nations, outlining the space allotted to each passenger. But if there were such lines it was obvious that the fat man's backside well and truly invaded my space across the frontier between us. In nation states this would amount to a declaration of war. But in a train compartment, and with my naturally cowardly characteristics, I was left there retreating slowly sideways towards the woman on my left frontier; yet exerting enough pressure with my backside on the seat to ensure that I did not retreat sideways so much that I would invade her territory and risk declaration of war from her side.
Every now and then the train would rock so much to my left that my backside would loose all friction with the seat and I would fall sideways towards the woman. I'd then immediately apologise and move back to my right trying in vain to regain my lost territory from the fat man sitting there with his legs wide open.
This slow journey to hell, which was meant to be a touristy pleasure trip, lasted for what must have seemed an eternity.
The train moved slowly on the rails singing its monotonous song ... clackety clack ... clackety clack ... clackety clack ... as it danced rocking left and right on the rails. Every now and then it would perform one of its faux-pas and swing violently left hurling me towards the woman like a floppy rag doll.
For some reason, the train never swung to the right towards the man. It was explained to me later that this had something to do with the swerve of the journey. A bit like when athletes run round the track and always seem to run left round the bends because they are always running anti-clockwise.
Anyway, as I sat on that train of Purgatory it entered a tunnel through a mountain. Suddenly from bright sunlight coming through the windows we were in total darkness. Although the train had electric lights, for some reason they did not come on. It was so pitch black in that compartment. So dark that you could not see anything. You could not even see the darkness that was there.
This lasted for about 30 seconds or so.
When the train eventually got out of the tunnel, and our eyes adjusted to the light and we could see each other again, I discovered I was no longer there.
The elderly man with the Tom Selleck moustache was there. So was the priest with the hat. The rotund lady and the elderly one too ... all sitting at their usual place. The woman and her daughter to my left were there also; and so was the wide-legged fat man on my right.
But I was no longer there.
And being absent ... I did not know how to finish this story.