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Ah, qu'ils sont beaux, les trains manqués! (The trains we miss are always so alluring)

As mentioned only a letter away, there's nothing like being taken somewhere for making you notice all the turnings you have to leave untaken. This is already the case when you catch a bus – how much more poignant when you catch the train. Points, signals, the sound of the wheels on the track …

Sometimes the line less travelled is much the same. Sometimes it's clearly different: rustier track, wooden sleepers, a general and enticing air of mild neglect. Sometimes it isn't there any more; only the fading scar that OS maps label curse of old railway curves off into the distance. Too late, too late.

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