On the platform a scrum of winter coats and scarves stand poised to cram into the vacated space like a flipped hourglass.
At the station a ‘Welcome to Blythe Bridge’ sign is somewhat undermined by the shards of broken glass embedded in the wall behind the platform.
Further down the carriage a woman on the phone pronounces Kettering as “Kuhtring”; the sound made by a dropped ukulele.
The 13:04 train is a ruse, a cunning trap, designed to ensnare unwary travellers. It leaves a minute earlier, but arrives an hour later. You only fall for it once.
The air is still, the trains are too, and the people reflect the spirit of the morning after the night before.
The unusually bright day has lifted the mood of all aboard. Down the carriage a pair of colleagues are laughing. One person even whistles a tune.
Train-spotters are often cruelly labelled as geeks. Stuffed in a pigeon-hole with a cagoule, a flask and a pair of bad glasses and left to fight an unwinnable war against acne.