The following is the opening paragraph to The Girl on the Train:
She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn.
Is the word down necessary? What is its semantic contribution?
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It's telling us that the train tracks are "down" from the "here" of the narrator. Perhaps the downhill side of town, perhaps the old train tracks are in a railway cutting. It's giving us a sense of the physical geography and simultaneously giving us an emotional clue. It's not over towards the old train tracks: somewhere away from here, suggesting a distance. It's not up towards the tracks, suggesting effort to get there. It's down towards the old train tracks, a place you might fall to.