Saturday, 19 September 2009

Spectre of the Subway

Many, many years ago, I had a dream that I and the rest of the family were waiting for a train at Edinburgh Waverley station.

That's Waverley station there.

The train was sitting there in the station all right, but it wasn't doing anything.

Actually, it's only when I'm typing this post that I realise how silly an idea it is... sitting outside the train, waiting for it to move... so we can leave on it? Shouldn't we have been waiting on the train?

Oh well, maybe the doors hadn't opened or something.

Anyway, we were standing around, waiting for the train to move, and we had been doing that for ages, when I suddenly realised that the reason the train wasn't moving because it had nowhere to move. The track was only as long as the train was, and it was blocked off by solid wall at either end.

It also seemed after a while that the train was just a sort of orange pattern on the wall and/or floor, but that's kind of the way dreams work.

Well, this dream kind of stuck with me. Maybe it was the eerie silence of a station where the train didn't move. But it started to become a recurring dream, that of a train station where the trains were blocked off at either end.

It was only a couple of months ago, when I decided to visit the Glasgow Museum of Transport for the first time in over ten, maybe over fifteen years, that I finally discovered where the original dream must have come from:

This is part of the Museum's "Kelvin Street" display, which is a reconstruction of a hypothetical street in Glasgow in the... um... past. (Unfortunately I can't seem to get any images of the other parts of the display. I just have to recommend you visit it, if, like me, you like the uncanny feeling of being in a film noir, and cinemas which show cartoons like "Mr Duck Steps Out") It contains a replica of an underground station, with stationery old-fashioned train carriages sitting in it. Of course, the station doesn't have real tunnels on each side of it, it just has black tunnel-shapes painted on the walls... and compared to a real underground station, it is eerily quiet.

It's almost like the vision of Tombstone from the Star Trek episode "Spectre of the Gun." Dreamlike in itself... and most definitely the inspiration for a dream.

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