An old grump might suggest that two hours is precisely the right amount of time to spend in Singapore

As the first contentious summer of industrial action on the newly privatised railways shows, the train operating companies are desperate for profits. So don't be surprised to see the rail companies seeking sponsorship for stations.

Look at the rail map of Britain, and you see the process has already started: British Steel Redcar, Butlins Penychain and IBM (a station near Glasgow) are already getting free publicity.

The richest sources of future earnings seem to be car manufacturers, who may rush to sign up Ford (West Sussex), Vauxhall (south London) and Leyland (Lancashire).

Tourist boards could get in on the act, with Cumbria sponsoring The Lakes - though the station of that name is in Warwickshire. The Egyptians may snap up Alexandria, north west of Glasgow. The official Republic of Cyprus and the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus may squabble for Cyprus on the Docklands Light Railway; one of them may settle for London Underground's District Line, because - like the division running across the island - it is the Green Line.

Weight Watchers could sign up Broadbottom, and change the name of the Greater Manchester railway that runs through it to the Slim Line. The Church of England might aspire to Hope (Derbyshire) while Hope (Clwyd) would be the preserve of the Methodists. Scottish bed manufacturers might wish to settle down with Inverkip, unless the sleeper trains between England and Scotland are already in bed with this trademark.

Last week these pages were all about dream travels. My modest midsummer aspirations were achieved with a weekend of sea, sun and snowballs in Bergen. Even though I was 500 miles short of the real midnight sun - my budget wouldn't stretch as far as the real thing - I flew to Bergen in readiness for the midnight sunset.

Hitch-hiking through the mountains to the port of Flam was trivial, because at this time of year the entire population of western Norway is in a state of high jollity. The return rail trip paused long enough at the high-altitude station of Myrdal for a snowball fight, and deposited me back in Bergen just in time to see the huge amber globe plummetting magnificently into the glistening harbour at Bergen on the stroke of 12, while about a million spectacularly drunk Norwegians tried to focus on it.

Sea, sunset and snowballs, all in a single day. Bergen in midsummer is, indeed, a fine city, but I am not sure that anywhere in the world could live up to the accolade claimed for it. The next morning I climbed Floyen, the hill overlooking Norway's second city, and met the giant troll who greets visitors. Next to this absurd apparition, a plaque proclaims Bergen to be "A perfection-flooded home blending nature's beauty and tranquillity with humanity's kindness and openness ... renowned through the length and breadth of the entire world as a dynamic centre of internationalism". They don't write holiday brochures like that any more.

On the subject of thumbing rides: "Whatever happened to hitch-hiking competitions?" demands Paul Gunn of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Mr Gunn suggests that the youth of today is getting soft. He recalls his sixth-form days at John Smeaton School on the east side of Leeds, conveniently close to the A64 trunk road.

"On dull days, of which there were many, we had a game. After morning registration we would hop over the fence to the A64 and see how far we could hitch and still get back before afternoon registration. I managed Pickering, 40 miles distant. It may not sound much, but the downside of failing to get back for registration was so severe that you had to play it safe."

A copy of the Hitch-hikers' Manual: Britain for the longest journey made during truancy - a practice, of course, that this column does not condone.

After the bus tour of Vienna airport that I described earlier this year, Singapore airport has got in on the act. The airport authority has introduced two-hour coach tours of the island, available to any passenger with sufficient transit time to take one. An old grump (see picture, left) might suggest that, given the wealth of attractions elsewhere in Asia, two hours is precisely the right amount of time to spend in Singapore.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test