The Johana Line

A narrow-gauge line; parallel tracks which take you back in time.

It hisses and groans, stutters and splutters, complaining that its rusty bones are no longer up to the task. After patient coercion, it finally yields and begins to creep forward, continuing the opera of metallic misery.

Gaining speed, the countryside barrels past in blurry vignettes.

Thundering now, swaying, bouncing and listing, it seems more like an Atlantic crossing than a simple rail journey.

Bags slide across the compartment. People fall from their seats and crawl like babies across the linoleum floor, desperately trying to regain their place, and their dignity.

As the speed continues to increase, new noises punctuate the cacophony; shearing, whining, grinding noises, which unsettle the most instinctual parts of your brain.

Just as the adrenaline reaches a crescendo, a piercing screech wipes out all other sounds.

The fat lady has sung.

Ten tons of metal roll to a reluctant halt outside the dilapidated concrete station.

“Thank you for taking the Johana line today.”