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In praise of - coaches.

Often regarded as the grubby cousin of train travel, the humble coach has a lot going for it and this Christmas it is going to be a lifesaver for thousands who have had their travel plans thrown into doubt.

Perhaps it's the association with expeditions as opposed to commutes but I've always enjoyed the bus. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

While the trains are up tucked up in bed, hard-working coaches continue into the wee hours. Many a late night in a neighbouring city has been facilitated by the night bus. With the balls of your feet still burning from the dance-floor, what a treat to slink into a dark comfy seat. Unlike the fluorescent glare of the train which forces you to gaze at your own pale phizog, and those of your fellow passengers, the dimmed atmospheric lighting of the bus means you can watch the streets flash by.

I love the unexpected, non-sensical twists in the route. One minute you're thundering along the motorway, the next, you're lurching round an obscure housing scheme in search of a turning circle.

Bus travel engenders a feeling of all being in this together. Years ago I was on a coach from Glasgow to Aberdeen. It was the driver's first shift and, pre-sat nav, he was struggling to navigate his way round Dundee late at night. After several valiant attempts at finding the bus station, he stopped, turned to the passengers and asked if anyone knew the way. We sprang into action like a crack team of orienteers. A few got on their phones, another got out to grab a passing pedestrian and together we figured out the route. We arrived at the Granite City feeling that we had all grown a little closer. You never get that kind of team work on a train.

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