Thursday 2 November 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 311

This week's picture prompt was taken by Julio Lopez Saguar, a photographer from Madrid. It was taken at Central Station at Koln (Cologne), Germany. As I have been there I can confirm that it is a huge station. I like the balance of the links above and below. 

Taking me a while to put this one together but I'm really happy how it came out. This picture always reminds me of the opening of Some Kind of Wonderful - if you are old enough to know that film! 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

Photo of multiple metal train tracks, and overhead all the power lines & pylons holding them criss-crossing with a block of flats on the left side. The tracks run away into the distance to a station, which is Cologne central station in Germany. Photo taken by Julio Lopez Saguar.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked these tracks. Back and forth all day long, checking connections, clearing out dirt, making them stable, fixing lines, defrosting signals, replacing lights, the list goes on and on.

There’s a thrill to it as you cross the live lines, and occasionally risk being squashed between two trains going in different directions. You don’t have to keep an eye out though, you can feel it through the ground: the tracks vibrating, shots of lightning dashing along the lines above your head. Trains have an energy, and the longer you work on the lines the more in tune with it you become.

No matter how busy the world is around you, all the rushing about people do: going to and from work, shopping, catching a show, out on the town; once you’re on the tracks all that disappears. You tune right out and into the frequency of that energy. Like hearing a tuning fork all day long. And you still feel it in your body when you leave at night.

Although I seem to have been here for ages today; longer than normal – at least it feels like it.

This morning I was busy chasing off some of those graffiti lot. They were over by the siding spraying their rubbish on anything they could find. There are some that call it art, but it’s not art, it’s indecipherable letters that only have meaning for them. Like some kind of turf warfare, where they are passing messages back and forth.

You never see their faces, always dressed in baggy clothing and several hoodies over their heads, and sometimes scarves to stop the toxic sprays from getting in their faces – though I always thought part of it was about getting high from the fumes.

But I’d been running them off, shouting and threatening to call the cops, and they ran out across the tracks, exactly where I didn’t want them to go.

The 5:15 from Doncaster was coming through, as was the 5:12 from Sheffield. They always crossed here. And I knew they were coming, I could feel it - had for a few minutes already.

Cleaning up the mess of people who get in the way of high speed trains is not fun at all, I can tell you. Plus it means stopping everything on the line for hours while the police come, and all the emergency services, and the reporters; it’s a complete melee.

Anyway, one of them went and tripped, didn’t he? Went down like a sack of potatoes, and didn’t look like he was getting up anytime soon. So I rushed over to him, and tried to bring him round, his mates looking on from safety on the other side. They could hear the trains coming too and weren’t going to risk coming back for their mate. Bloody numpties.

I was trying to get him up, trying to move him, and then my walkie-talkie fell out of my back pocket, didn’t it, and bloody smashed on one of the tracks, which meant I had no way of notifying anyone it wasn’t safe.

The energy was really ramping up now, like a high-pitched whine in my nerve endings, literally any second now they were going to be here. If you looked you could probably see them in the distance. But I couldn’t look, because I was too busy with this bloody vandal who’d gone and knocked himself out.

Then that sound, you know the electric one that shoots along the lines above your head, telling you they are on their way, and coming fast and I couldn’t seem to get a grip on this lad; his clothes were all loose and baggy and I couldn’t work out which way to get a hold on him. His mates were shouting now, they could see the trains, and I had to debate, stay or go, but I knew the mess it was going to make. If I could just shift him over a couple of tracks.

And then it was over.

He was gone. The vibration must have woken him and got him moving.

His mates were gone too. Probably didn’t want to stick around to see the mess if he didn’t make it.

But I’m here, wondering how I’m going to get the other mess, the one they’d made on the wall, off. But I can’t find my bucket, in fact I can’t find anything and every time I try I just seem to end up back here at this wall. 

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