The title is correct. I haven’t totally lost it. At least I think I haven’t.
First a bit of background. When I worked in the City (of London) I lived in Hove. Hove is about 5 miles along the coast to Brighton. My commute to and from the City was either on a semi-fast electric train from Hove or I could take the local to Brighton and catch the express electric (fast train). The distance from London to Brighton is 51 miles and back then the fast train took exactly one hour.
Once every two hours on the hour a Pullman (luxury) train – the Brighton Belle – would make the run. Very, very occasionally I would take “the Belle”. Why? In large part because there was a surcharge of seven shillings and six pence to ride her. For your seven and six you got an armchair seat and you could get food and drink served to you.
The food of choice (my choice) was welsh rarebit (for one shilling and sixpence) and a bottle of Guinness (one shilling and three pence). Welsh rarebit is an inch thick slab of brown (whole wheat) bread covered with half an inch of aged cheddar with a very generous dusting of cayenne pepper and a big dollop of worcestshire sauce heated under the broiler till the cheese runs down the side. Delish.
The 1960′s were the days of black and white TV and the only TV channel in England was the Beeb (BBC). The Beeb was not known for adventurous programming (Noddy and Big Ears?). The Beeb on one enlightened day decided to strap a camera to the front of the Brighton Belle. Thinking that the view of the tracks in front of the train for an hour would be a bit boring they speeded up the journey so that it took four minutes.
51 miles covered in four minutes means the Belle would be travelling at 15 times 51 miles in an hour – that’s 765 mph. The speed of sound at sea level 767 mph. As I said in the title – sit back and enjoy going at the speed of sound by train!!!!