What do Sushi and Trains have in common?

Nothing, really. But how is that for a title? Perhaps an explanation is in order. 

At this moment I am on my way to the InnoTrans Messe (that is the huge railroad technology exhibition happening every other year) in Berlin, Germany. Well, sort of on my way. More precisly I am right now staying in London with a friend for just a couple of days. You see, I absolutely hate, loathe and detest (get my drift?) those overnight flights from the USA to Europe. However there is a day flight on United Airlines from DC to London. That's why I tend to do a sort of layover in that great city whenever I travel to the "continent". Probably to my friend's chagrin!

Surprisingly and to my delight, he is going to accompany me to InnoTrans in Berlin. I shall make a true "foamer" out of him yet...

In any event, I found myself at one of my favorite places for lunch today: the sushi restaurant at Westfield Shepherds Bush. It's one of those places were the small plates of goodies sort of trundle by and one's final bill is determined by the number of plates stacked up next to you. It is a dangerous way to have a meal. Before one realizes it, that stack of small plates has reached skyscaper proportions! 

Back on the doubledecker bus now, towards my temporary home. At the local train station I decided on a whim to just get off the bus and get my railroad fix. It is rush hour and the trains do come through at short intervals. This is SouthWest Trains Company territory and the line goes straight to London Waterloo via Clapham Junction. 

At a Greater London Train Station, operated by SouthWest Trains (Photo by Ralf Meier)

The Class 450 is SouthWest Trains work horse and ubiqitous. Siemens Transportation built the class: they are electric multiple units with third rail feed. They are air conditioned and comfortable enough for the ride to Waterloo. The British railway press calls them "lard butts". Apparently these vehicles are a bit heavy, not particularly fast in terms of acceleration and quite power hungry. Perhaps this is so. I am not privy to all the technical details, I just find them nice enough. They do sound weird on start up though: my comment always is that the Class 450 sounds like our DC Metro units, but on steroids. 

SouthWest Trains Class 450 EMU (Photo by Ralf Meier)

And on Thursday it's off to Berlin. Stay tuned!