Friday 30th January 2015
Get on track at the Outlet Centre with the Hooter Express!
I absolutely LOVE a miniature train – of any description – they evoke something so visceral. Whether they’re the ones you sit astride or the ones you sit inside.
In fact – extending the genre – wherever there’s a miniature train, a funicular, a monorail or even a cable car – I have to go on it. This might stem from childhood holidays in Butlin’s chugging round the campsite on Puffing Billy. Or perhaps it’s connected to being of a generation that can remember ‘proper’ trains. Y’know, with carriages, corridors and sliding doors and windows that opened so you could lean out and get soot smuts on your face. And the wonderful artwork and the luggage racks overhead in each compartment.
Oh those were the days – before Dr Beeching came along with his metaphorical axe and the car became king.
Or it could simply be because my inner-child is not just alive but positively flourishing. Mostly likely it’s a melting pot of all those things.
Came into service in 2014
Negotiations to install the train began in July 2014 and it began its service on the 12th December 2014.
Of course there are miniature trains like this one up and down the land. But it’s especially appropriate that there’s one in the Outlet Centre.
It’s the perfect addition to the building that is itself, a fabulous homage to the railway industry that pulsed within its walls and was the lifeblood of the new Swindon that grew up around it.
The train’s tooting good fun and an attraction for children. And it serves as a terrific way to get an overview of the stores. In much the same way as an open-top bus in a new city gives an overview of its attractions so it is with the train. Only it’s what might catch your eye in what shops and where they are.
It’s also a useful way of gauging the attitude and approachability of the personnel in the shops – the ones that engage with the train and its cargo of shoppers as it does its tour around the centre.