I've been using the train quite a lot lately not least because there is a very good offer by Scotrail for over 55's which means I can travel anywhere in Scotland for £19 rtn or if I push the boat out £26 first class. I've used this to venture up to Inverness on my theatre jaunts which means a journey of around 3.5 hours.
On these journeys I met some lovely people and had conversations which passed the time nicely. It made me think how easy it is sometimes to get into conversations where you find yourself sharing stories of being a grandma; work, living and travels. You might not share names but the conversation flows as if you had been friends for ages and not strangers on a train.
Sometimes though there are sad experiences and I remember many years ago travelling to Edinburgh for one of the international rugby games - this was in the days before the stand was built at Murrayfield. I found myself sitting next to a very well dressed older lady who was travelling with her husband who was sitting opposite. I was with a friend who sat in the seat opposite me. They were off to the rugby as well although joining friends in one of the corporate tents. I got into conversation with this lady and it soon became apparent that there was a very limited range to her conversation skills; it was as if she was speaking in a loop which went round and round the same few points. I now know that the woman had alzheimers but did not then. My friend was deep in conversation with this womans husband who shared this with him. Although it felt like a long hours journey I couldn't help but admire this woman's husband for carrying on and doing all the things they must have done before she became ill.
That's the beauty of train travel you can choose to be open to conversations or if your not inclined you can get the book out; stick the headphones on or doze as is your want. I would however make a plea for smiling at the stranger opposite you on your next train journey to see if a conversation opens up.