Railway stations are odd places. There’s a necessary functionality about ‘em but at the same time there’s something romantic about the fact that people are travelling I know there’s a lot of business travel, but I’m ignoring that. I’m talking about the people who meet friends or – at the end of a stay with friends – leave them.
These are times of some pretty serious emotion. (I’ve got to be cautious here – if I’m not careful I’m going to sound like the start of Love, Actually.)
Perhaps it’s that fact – that train stations are places where people are so often so happy or so sad, that makes them (the stations, not the people) imbued with a romance far above the level they should have, given that, at they’re heart, all they are are places to load and unload boxes on wheels.
Or maybe it’s the sheer diversity of human life…
Two tables over from me at Costa is an old man, being handed over by his daughter to the passenger assistance team at the station. Behind me is a young, female student (I’m sure of the first too bits but the last bit is guess-work I must admit!).
Between them is a family of mum, child and pram. I think the pram has another child in it, but I can’t see from here.
The point is that if you sit and wait long enough, you’ll see pretty much everything.
The third option is that there’s simply the adventure element of train stations – when you’re there you are (almost always) travelling – off to places, activities and people new. And that, because it’s new, is exciting. Or is it just me that still gets excited like a child at the thought of seeing somewhere new or doing something new?
Perhaps, to be honest, it’s just the novelty of the chance to get away from responsibilities (did anyone say family?) and spend a few hours being self-indulgent… reading, snoozing, eating. Again, perhaps that’s just me but I find ‘downtime’ a rare and much appreciated commodity.
Maybe I’m just a selfish bastard, eh?