David Bowie hated flying but loved travelling by train and seeing the world pass by through a window. We celebrate his life on the rails on what would have been his 74th birthday…
Today, 8 January 2021, would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday. Born in Brixton London in 1947, he died in New York on 10 January 2016 aged 69. As one of the world’s biggest superstars he travelled the globe throughout his life, though his fear or flying, curtailed many journeys. Instead, he liked to travel by ship and especially by rail. So it’s not surprisingly that he named one of his most influential albums, Station to Station.
In April 1973, after finishing the Japanese leg of his Ziggy Stardust tour, David took a holiday with his childhood friend Geoff MacCormack on the Trans-Siberian railway from Vladivostok to Moscow.
Later he wrote, ‘I could never have imagined such expanses of unspoilt, natural country without actually seeing it myself, it was like a glimpse into another age, another world, and it made a very strong impression on me. It was strange to be sitting in a train and travelling through land so untouched and unspoilt by man and his inventions.’
David also loved travelling on the sleek futuristic trains in Japan, where he was politely greeted wherever he went. He and his backing band the Spiders From Mars frequently travelled from British city to city by rail.
In his final years, he lived a quiet life with wife Iman and daughter Alexandria between an apartment in Manhattan and a bigger house in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley. With a paper in his hand and a hat on his head, he was often seen on Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express boarding at Rhinecliff station on his way into the city.
David, it seemed, loved train travel as much as we do. So let’s raise a glass for the Thin White Duke today and remember the days he travelled by train around the world.