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  • feedwordpress 08:01:46 on 2016/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , cemetery, Graveyard Day, , , , , railway, trains,   

    “When you’re dead, they really fix you up”*… 


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    For 87 years, nearly every day, a single train ran out of London and back. It left from a dedicated station near Waterloo built specifically for the line and its passengers. The 23-mile journey, which had no stops after leaving London, took 40 minutes. Along the way to their destination, riders glimpsed the lovely landscapes of Westminster, Richmond Park and Hampton Court — no mistake, as the route was chosen partly for its “comforting scenery”, as one of the railway’s masterminds noted.

    How much comfort a route gives passengers isn’t a usual consideration for a train line. But this was no normal train line.

    Many of the passengers on the train would be distraught. The others — those passengers’ loved ones — be dead. Their destination: the cemetery.

    In operation from 1854 to 1941, the London Necropolis Railway was the spookiest, strangest train line in British history. It transported London’s dead south-west to Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, in Surrey, a cemetery that was built in tandem with the railway. At its peak, from 1894 to 1903, the train carried more than 2,000 bodies a year.

    It also transported their families and friends. Guests could leave with their dearly departed at 11:40am, attend the burial, have a funeral party at one of the cemetery’s two train stations (complete with home-cooked ham sandwiches and fairy cakes), and then take the same train back, returning to London by 3:30pm.

    The pairing of grief and efficiency may seem a little jarring. It did then, too…

    For the full story, hop aboard at “The passenger train created to carry the dead.”

    * J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

    ###

    As we struggle with our sugar hangovers, we might recall that today is Graveyard Day– or more politely, All Hallows or All Saints Day– a Christian celebration of all saints, “known and unknown.”

    “The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs,” Fra Angelico (c. 1423-4)

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:01 on 2014/06/10 Permalink
    Tags: , cemetery, frontier fiction, Hondo, , , , , western   

    “Going up”*… 


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    In special situations from ancient Egypt to modern New Orleans, the departed have been “buried” above ground.  But this seemingly minority practice may become mainstream…

    A skyscraper filled with corpses may sound morbid, but soon, such things may become a necessity. The earth is already packed with dead housed in oversized caskets that have been designed to outlive us all – so what are we going to do with the never-ending stream of human bodies as we face life’s greatest inevitability?…

    More at “Cemeteries in the Sky: 7 Compact Vertical Burial Designs.”

    * what Charon never had the occasion to say

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    As we reconsider that investment in air rights, we might spare a rugged thought for Louis Dearborn L’Amour; he died on this date in 1988.  While L’Amour wrote mysteries, science fiction, historical fiction, and non-fiction, he is surely best remembered as the author of westerns (or as he preferred, “frontier stories”) like Hondo and Sackett..  At the time of his death he was one of the world’s most popular writers; dozens of his stories had been made into films, and 105 of his works were in print (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction); as of 2010, over 320 million copies of his work had been sold.

    L’Amour was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery near Los Angeles.  His grave is marked in a way that acknowledges that death was able to contain him in a way that he successfully resisted throughout his life: while his body is underground, his site is fenced in.

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