Since Sheri and I moved to London (which is described here), I’ve been commuting by train from home to the office. This was our plan as soon as we decided to relocate. It figured in our search for a place to live. The SDL office is in Maidenhead, which has direct train service from Paddington Station to the Maidenhead station. As a result, we needed to live in a location that gave me easy access to Paddington – either by tube or by bus or by foot.
We ended up renting a lovely flat in Maida Vale, in a part of London known at Little Venice. It offers a wonderful blend of city life with a neighborhood feel that offers some peace and quiet. Maida Vale lies just to the north of Paddington and our flat is close enough that I can walk to the station. From there, I take the train to Maidenhead, which takes about 30 minutes (depending on whether I catch an express train or not). On the other end, I walk from the Maidenhead station to the office
Here’s a visual view of my commute – total travel time is about an hour and ten minutes (a little faster in the evening, if I catch the super-express 19 minute train back to London). Click on each map for a larger view.
- Walk from home to Paddington – 15 to 20 minutes – note than much of my walk is along the canals of Little Venice, which is pretty cool
- Train from Paddington to Maidenhead – 20 to 40 minutes
- Walk from Maidenhead Station to SDL office – 15 to 20 minutes
If I had a car, the commute would take at least as long – Google Maps estimates that the drive, with no traffic, is about 51 minutes. Naturally, my commute would almost never encounter “no traffic”.
So, what’s the effect on me of commuting by train? There’s no real impact on the time I spend commuting. I’ve lost some weight and am getting more fit, since I’m getting more exercise – it’s about 4 miles of walking per day: a mile to and from the train station, in each direction. In addition, I get to relax for the time I spend on the train – reading a book or a newspaper; listening to music or a podcasts; or just watching the scenery go by. Since we don’t have a car, we’re saving money on petrol (that’s British for gasoline, for my American friends), car insurance, parking, and maintenance. British trains are expensive, so the savings aren’t as significant as I would like, but we’re still better off.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this is working out. Check back in with me in January or February, after I’ve had a few months of the same commute in a rainy, windy, dreary, grey English winter!
For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:
Moving from a suburban to an urban life brings a lot of changes – transportation is one of the biggest. Take opportunities to change your approach.