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Capturing trains kissing is a precarious business. Watching it happen is all very well but if you’re a certain type of enthusiast, you want to share that moment with your peers, if not your nearest and dearest who may just look at you with that upturned eyebrow that interrogates you: just why would you want to?

Sharing will inevitably mean capturing the moment and this will involve a camera which has the facility to take short busts of images in a mini movie moment. Trouble is, there’s no guarantee you can capture the exact kissing moment if you randomly strike a pose on a platform and point and shoot.

More often than not, you’re going to get the pre-coital or post-coital kissing moment – and not the moment itself. To get the exact moment, you’ll need to know the net rate of approach of the trains (particularly complicated if one is decelerating whilst the others accelerating), the image capture rate of your camera and factor in the time at which you lift your camera to shoot. If you knew all these things, chances are you’d get the exact kissing coital moment.

The great unknown in all this though is the effect that the train timetable has on your calculations. It’s all very well knowing the net rate of approach if the trains are doing what they’re supposed to. But we’ve known since 1830 and the launch of the first intercity train between Liverpool and Manchester that the lack of punctuality is built into the rail network’s DNA – a late train is a normal train and the extent of that lateness is always 100% unpredictable.

So, for all your calculations of rate of approach, shutter speed and platform position designed to give you the optimum chance of capturing the coital train kissing moment, the behaviour of trains and the railways will always thwart your best intention. You may just as well curl up with that pre or post coital cigarette in resignation rather than stress out at your inability to capture the moment two trains kiss.