Everyday hundreds of people travel back and forth on the Belfast to Dublin train, for work and pleasure, but as well as all the briefcases and handbags, what other 'baggage' is carried on board?
In this two-part BBC Radio Ulster documentary, John Toal assumes of the role of “Baggage Inspector” as he checks in with cross-border commuters travelling in both directions.
John embarks on a voyage of discovery, as he gets the inside track on passengers’ cultural experiences, day-to-day business and their views on north-south relations.
From Mary the cleaning supervisor who gives her regular passengers a daily warm welcome, to Paul on his first trip to Belfast only to collect DIY equipment and return to Galway with haste.
The opinions and perceptions of the commuters vary and John explores the wide range of views held about the border and about the cultural and societal differences found on either side.
John Toal says: “I enjoyed sitting down beside people and hearing their stories. Playing the role of Baggage Inspector gave me an insight into how people view the border and what relevance it holds to them today.”
“The majority of the cross-border commuters travelling south seem to come from Newry to work in the Financial Services Sector in Dublin, many of whom take the same train, at the same time every day. One of the things that struck me about the train is that many of the frequent travellers have created a community which is lovely to see, and have even created a social media page.”
“The main difference between the two journeys is that, on the train back, more people are travelling to the north for leisure reasons, some for the first time, compared to the regular commuters going in the opposite direction.”
Producer Louise McCreesh says, “The idea behind this ‘rail baggage’ is that we are trying to unearth some of the preconceived notions that many people north and south of the border keep concealed. In the course of inspecting the baggage, John provides ample opportunity for us to take a step back and laugh at some of these stereotypes.”
Presenter: John Toal
Producer Louise: McCreesh
Sound Engineer: John Simpson
Editor: Michael Tumelty
Rail Baggage is a BBC Radio Ulster production
Broadcast Mar 1st and Mar 8th, 2014 @ 6.05pm
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