Train in vain

August 23, 2002

A late entry has arrived for The Diary competition to name the train on which vice-chancellors will travel to the annual Universities UK meeting in Aberystwyth next month.

Reader David Dunn reckons the occupants of the train know each other as "fallow travellers". The timetable shows the vehicle to be the "Leads slow train". The official announcement at the station reads: "This train has been chancelled."

Lecturers variously know the train as "a good idea for derailment", "going nowhere", "the immoral and the motionless", or "the lined and re-aligned".

Those old enough to remember comedian Will Hay's definitions (of teachers who train the mind and guards who mind the train) alternate between referring to vice-chancellors' travel as "training the mindless" or "trained minds and mined trains". Support staff refer to this particular choo-choo puff as the "2:2 prof".

Dr Dunn, an aspirant vice-chancellor himself, concludes: "Joking aside, everyone wishes the train and its occupants a safe and innocuous journey."

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