Monday, 13 March 2017

Back on track

I love railway stations.* I love the sense they always give me of setting off for somewhere; the potential for adventure.
When I worked in Huddersfield, which is ten years ago now, I would get the train to Victoria, and then the tube to Kings Cross. People from all over the world would be milling around, speaking dozens of different languages, both travellers and residents of the most diverse city in the world. But none of that gave me the same thrill as the broad Yorkshire accent of the red-faced guard, straight out of central casting, who was frequently in charge of the GNER train I was catching to Wakefield. It was that voice that told me I was going somewhere; somewhere new and different. I still love to watch the landscape changing from a train window, whether I am travelling north or south, but there is still something about the stations themselves.
I love the architecture and the engineering, living history in iron and glass.
And I'm sure it's wrought iron, too, in this one.
I love the prosaic exoticism of the lists of stations that I shall probably never visit, each of them home to hundreds of people I shall never meet.
I love the numbers and the patterns, the lists and the things you can remember. I could so easily have been a trainspotter, if someone had introduced me to it at an impressionable age.
And I particularly liked this announcement board at Leeds last night, which gave the time of the train at each intermediate station. I hope that's something that will be rolled out more widely.



*Except Birmingham New Street, of course.

4 comments:

  1. One of my best ever birthdays was my dad taking me on a magical mystery tour by train - from Ipswich to Peterborough to York to Kings Cross back to Ipswich. I'm not sure we even bought a ticket! If canals hadn't got me, the railways would have...I totally get everything you say. The only upside of going into London is Liverpool St station, which is quietly magnificent

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  2. Huddersfield to Victoria? That must have been an interesting route, unless you meant Manchester Victoria😀.
    I haven't seen those displays giving estimated arrival times anywhere but how silly not to give a time for what train guards often call "our final destination"
    I suppose bus stations just don't have the same appeal?

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  3. Having looked at that display again I wonder what time the rear coaches will arrive?🤔

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  4. Newhaven Town to Huddersfield Jim :-)
    Newhaven - Lewes - Victoria - Kings Cross - Wakefield Westgate - Huddersfield.

    And that was page one of two of the display so I expect it gave the arrival time at Birmingham at the end...

    Bus stations... well... I'm sure they would if I had more exposure to them!

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