4 amazing Eureka moments to have happened on the bus and train!

12 September 2019


We’ve all sat on the bus or train looking out the window, letting our mind wander from one point to the next but have you ever had a Eureka moment? Here are some lightbulb moments to have happened on the bus and train which have led to some of the most amazing inventions, books, scientific breakthroughs and iconic songs in history.

Harry Potter 

Arguably the most successful book and film franchise of all time first came to the mind of JK Rowling when she was waiting for a train. Travelling from Manchester to London King's Cross in 1990, the boy wizard was born when she first thought of the idea for Harry Potter and the rest, as they say, is history, with over 500 million books sold worldwide, the franchise is valued at $25 billion and the books have been printed in over 80 languages across the world.

Why not sample a bit of Harry Potter magic? – You can visit Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London, catch the Hogwarts Express (the Jacobite Steam train) in Scotland or visit ‘Hogsmeade Station’, which is actually Goathland Train Station, in the North York Moors National Park. More info can be found here or stay local as there are many Harry Potter events from workshops, quiz nights to making your own clay sorting hat! Just google Harry Potter events in West Yorkshire.

Harry Potter is not the only book to have been born on the train, John le Carré, author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, used his commute to put pen to paper and write the first of his novels. If you think you have a book in you – try the Ilkley Literature Festival on 4th October for some inspiration and you could be the next best-selling author!

Theory of Relativity 

Not quite a Eureka moment on the train but after many months of trying to solve intense math problems, Albert Einstein let his imagination wander. After seeing a moving train get struck by two bolts of lightning at the same time, one at the front and one at the back, he then wondered if a person standing beside the track and a person on the train would see the strikes as simultaneous. In that instant, the theory of relativity was born. German-born, but lived most of his life in Switzerland and then the USA. Both countries have some amazing rail routes with the Glacier Express in Switzerland being one of the most awe-inspiring in the world. But local in West Yorkshire – you will be able to learn about all sorts of ground breaking science at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Here are the nearest bus routes that can connect you the museum.

Life on Mars? 

One of the most famous songs by one of the most iconic artists of all time was born, believe it or not, on a bus. David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars?’ first came to fruition on a bus to Lewisham in London when Bowie came up with melody. There are plenty of songs about buses as well, here are just a few: Magic Bus by the Who, Bus Stop by the Hollies, Get on the Bus by Destiny's Child and New York State of Mind by Billy Joel.  

Air Conditioning 

One night in 1902, an American engineer named Willis Carrier was waiting for a train, watching fog roll in across the platform, when he had a sudden lightbulb moment: he could exploit the principle of fog to cool buildings, from here air conditioning was born. The company he set up, the Carrier Corporation, is still going to this day as part of United Technologies, a 104 years later with a staff of over 45,000 people.

What’s your Eureka moment? Have you had any lightbulb moments whilst travelling on the bus or train, waiting for a bus, stood at the train platform. No matter how big or small, what brain waves have you had?  Need some inspiration why not visit Eureka in Halifax? 

Back to News
Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.