The Social Media Train?


This is a fanciful idea at the moment, but it may come to fruition.

The idea is this. To coincide (roughly) with the opening of the new station bar at Sheffield station (after a 40-year break without one) in December, we run a Social Media Train on the Penistone Line between Sheffield and Huddersfield.

The Penistone line is a beautiful scenic railway, which wends through Pennine countryside. But, I hate it, for three reasons:

1. It takes an hour and 20 minutes for a journey which, by road, is 26 miles and can be driven, at off-peak times in 40 minutes

2. It is populated by some of the oldest, dirtiest, most uncomfortable, rolling stock on the UK rail system; and

3. Although it runs through beautiful countryside – after dark, this benefit is lost completely, and, as much of the journey is through areas with no lighting, you can sit there for ages not being able to see anything outside the train. The experience of sitting on a dirty, rattling train, hurtling through total darkness, is what has led me to call it the Ghost Train.


The Penistone Line Partnership does a great job of making life a little better for the people who use the line, running music and beer trains on a regular basis. My idea (which is not really my idea, but taken from an original concept of @timdifford ) is that we run either a Social Media Surgery, or, perhaps a Social Media Cafe on the train one evening in December.

My concept was that we do this on the 18:36 from Sheffield; returning on the 20:13 from Huddersfield, and finishing up in the new Sheffield station bar.

Brockholes Station

What do YOU think?

16 thoughts on “The Social Media Train?

  1. Hello,

    I’m an Assistant Librarian working in the Electronic Service Development Team at Manchester Metropolitan University – I’d be really interested in tagging along on this if that’s ok!

    If you could let me know when you’ve sorted a date then I’d appreciate it.



  2. Like the sound of this. Will tweet it round and see if we can get a bit of a following. Should be a fun night.

    Is there enough slack in the timetable to make a pint (or two) in Huddersfield an option?

    Keep me up to date please @th3_kraken

  3. This idea seems to have got a lot more traction (get it?) than I ever expected it to.

    It looks like the idea of doing it before Christmas is not practical, so I reckon we’ll do it in January or February.

    To get from here to there, however, I want to do a few things.

    Number 1 – which will probably come last – is to arrange an date suitable for everyone who has expressed interest;

    Number 2 – is to get some sponsorship (at least £200), which I intend to use to purchase a couple of mifis ( and place one at each end of the train;

    Number 3 – is to think about organising an event for the day time. This is because there has been such interest in the idea from people who would be coming from afar, that I feel the need to make this more than just a train trip. I am thinking about an unconference, and there was a thought about co-inciding with the proposed Yorkshire & Humber localgovcamp; but the latter is now apparently going to happen in York, which is some distance from the Ghost Train / Penistone Line.

    I’d welcome any views / suggestions.

  4. Very interested in this and have been talking with colleagues about running more events in Sheffield so this could tie in nicely depending on the date!

    Keep me posted and meanwhile i’ll try and put some thoughts together 🙂

    Thanks, @leialai

  5. We are getting closer to realisation of this idea. We are looking at holding an afternoon unconference in Sheffield, followed by the evening on the #uktrain. Could you please indicate your availability here:

  6. Pingback: Preparing for the Social Media Train « John Popham's Random Musings

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