The ‘time warp train’ London Waterloo 1hr 48mins.

Decompression needed? Take the time-warp train to Lymington Pier

Waterloo Station to Lymington Pier Station (1 hr and 50 mins) is my favourite British train journey, writes Rachel Parsons, owner of New Forest Escapes.

There is a slow decompression and slowing of time when travelling from London to Yarmouth. I’ve talked to quite a few commuters about this phenomenon. They all agree. Time slows when you go into the forest.

Waterloo is all London-y. Busy, bustley, edgy and hot. The train probably is too. As you get south things get quieter. But get to the end of a provincial National Park train line and then glacial gets another meaning.

At Brockenhurst, itself a fairly slow place, you change trains to Lymington Pier and everything starts to slow down. The train, for example, is a blunt-nosed slow thing. The speed it reaches on the line (9 minutes the whole trip) is mildly faster than a fat, gallopy New Forest pony (you can tell, sometimes the train spooks them, and they scatter off through the forest and heath).

My particularly favourite bit of the whole thing comes next. Lymington Town train line to Lymington Pier. It’s about 4 minutes. And it’s heaven. The carriage by this time is nearly always empty. Passengers are usually spotting boats out of the windows, or waving to friends.

The track curves around from the micro Lymington Town Station, straight out onto a harbour train bridge which is built up about 10 metres from the sea level. There must be some lumpy workmanship somewhere along this bit, perhaps there is a bit warped. It’s as creaky and squeaky as the worst of the London tube.

But as you travel further along the harbour bridge, the train glides over the water. Seemingly over the boats too, it flies across at mast height, then after a few magical seconds (let’s call it 20) it promptly lands you again at the pier, and that voice-over lady train driver says ‘You have arrived at your destination, Lymington Pier, please mind the gap’. Marvellous.

The doors open and there is an acre of harbour in front of you. Filled to the gunnels with clinky boats and white hulls. The Isle of Wight ferry, is often parked up about 30 metres away.


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