Main content

The Longest Commute in Britain

Taking the sleeper train to Scotland from London conjures up romantic images, but how about doing the journey twice a week? Alan Dein joins the long-distance commuters.

The Longest Commute in Britain

Geoff picks up a copy of "Horse and Hound" for his wife and strides toward Euston Station; Angus heads for the lounge car, where a whisky is ready and waiting; Mary leaves the offices of 'Country Life', and joins the London rush hour crowds wearing sturdy walking boots; meanwhile Ann Marie has taken up her position at the end of the platform 15, to await the longest train in the UK - it will be her job to unlock the doors, and ready the train for departure.

This is arguable the longest commute in the UK - the Caledonian Sleeper - which at a quarter of a mile long, is also the longest train.
Walkers, climbers, shooting-parties and Americans tourists are regular fare, but week in week out, the same faces return, the band of commuters who live in the Scottish Highlands, but work in London.

Would you, given the choice, choose to spent two nights a week on a train? Two nights of camaraderie in the lounge car; two nights of friendly exchanges, unwinding with late night whiskies; but two nights also of jolting rails, beds just a mite too short for the tallest folk, and the notorious uncoupling at Edinburgh.

Alan Dein rides the rails with the experts, through the long night of the long distance commuter, to find out where home really lies.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Available now

30 minutes

Broadcasts

Featured in...

Podcast