Railway stations … we were developing a fascination for them, and they seemed to enter our orbit more and more. But who can resist the pulsing life of them, the throng of people going somewhere, with purpose, with luggage.
“I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.”
― Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
People gazing up at departure boards, ticket in hand and a journey ahead. Each and every one, they have a place they need to be, have a reason to be on the move. The delicious intent and anticipation permeates the walls, the air, quickening your steps. There is no place for aimless wandering, no sauntering. They energize and invigorate.
The contrast of the busy city hub, coloured lines guiding passengers, myriad platforms, lunch counters, shops and bustle to the lonely windswept (yes, they’re always windswept, much like petrol stations) rural platform with a malfunctioning ticket machine.
They have an atmosphere, because a journey will begin there.
Many proudly boast architectural brilliance, others simple beauty. Some are left to decay, recalling days of former glory, others are purely utilitarian.
Stories of loss, tragedy, flights to a bittersweet safety, such as the kindertransport trains bridging Eastern Europe and London, commemorated by the bronze statues many travellers scarcely notice. “Trains to life, Trains to death” Stories of romance, reunion, of escape and of homecoming.