London’s 598 railways stations have made the capital what it is

I began this book waiting for a diesel train to Derby, under the windy, boxy, flat-roofed bit which one of Sir Norman Foster’s team added to the back end of St Pancras station. At around 7 p.m. on a weekday only a dozen or so people were travelling. In the arcade below — built by the proud Midland Railway, as Christian Wolmar reminds us, to the dimensions of the Burton beer barrels the space was designed to store — shops are being boarded up. No one buys a new wheelie case or jewellery before catching a Eurostar to Paris anymore. Among the many entertaining facts he has assembled, Wolmar calculates