When trains had windows on the inside

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The view from the front row of passenger seats in a heritage railcar (a British Rail Class 101) chugging through the North Norfolk countryside. Although the North Norfolk Railway is nationally famous for its collection of steam locomotives, these humble diesel multiple units (DMU) are an equally evocative reminder of past journeys.

A fundamental design feature of these trains (which was lost with the current generation of DMU trains) is the generous glazing between the driver and passenger compartments at either end of the two carriage train. While the family sitting beside me on this Sunday evening service might have regretted not being able to catch a “proper” steam train, everyone got to share an almost 300º view.

My first train ride was on just such a train, traveling from Brandon in Suffolk to Cambridge some time in the late nineteen-eighties. These trains, built by Metro-Cammell in the late fifties, were in service in parts of the UK until 2003.

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