Train journeys


One of the key aspects in the film “Her”, by Spike Jonze (2013), set in 2025, is the fact that by then –future yes, but pretty near– nobody will be wearing high heels: everyone will use orthopaedic footwear instead. One of the other things that also caught my attention –precisely what I’d like to comment on today– is the fact that, in ten years time, daily commute will be carried out using public transport when going on foot is not possible. In the imaginary city where the action takes place you can’t see any cars. The main character travels wherever he needs on outstanding trains, which look both confortable and fast.

Since 2025 is getting closer, I am trying to be aware of everything that might indicate Spike Jonze’s prediction could actually turn out to be true. As for the shoes, despite shoe shops selling pretty comfortable footwear, fashion designers are still trying to make us almost climb onto insufferable high heels. “No pain, no gain” they say. Obedient, we poor mortals get painful bunions and, in parades and weeding parties, we hobble along in a very non-elegant manner; whatever it takes as long as we look anything like the TV presenters that can proudly boast –while sitting down– about their top-notch high-heel shoes.

On the other hand, the process that should dignify public transport is moving on, although at a very slow pace. It effectively seems, in particular, that the transport system is getting updated to meet the Directive 2012/34 / UE of the European Parliament and Council, 21 November 2012, which establishes an integrated European railways area. This European disposition provides common guidelines towards aspects such as transparency and sustainability of the funding of rail infrastructures and the connection of railway companies with harbours and service facilities. It classifies railway services once again; it enforces the inclusion of investment and financing plans; it strengthens market regulatory agencies and it establishes new pricing rules. Europe believes in the train.

The new Law 38/2015, 29 September, of the rail sector, implemented in Spain by the above mentioned Directive, solemnly states the strategic importance of the rail sector and it recognizes its environmental benefits. Among other measures, it adjusts the rights of the users to Regulation (CE) 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and Council, 23 October 2007, which establishes an integrated regulation for the entire European Union in terms of rights and obligations of train users.

The fact is that people in Tarragona can make use of a central railway station that connects us to the world and, at the same time, connects the rest of the world to us. Indeed, Tarragona is the destination of many people that, after deciding to visit the city for work, culture, education or leisure reasons, make it peacefully by train into the city’s downtown. Some magnificent escalators take them to the Rambla without effort, while carrying their suitcases along. It is easy, very easy indeed. And peaceful. And safe.

Specially, if train users can eventually adapt to the fashion tips of the future and avoid high heels.

Isabel Baixeras Delclòs
@IsabelBaixeras on Twitter