Stations, according to Simon Jenkins, are the forgotten part of the railway experience. People love the trains, the journey, the passing countryside, the leisurely pace and the locomotives, especially steam ones. The stations, however, have been rather ignored. Sure, the ubiquity of Prêt, Upper Crust and all those coffee chains on station concourses has made the experience somewhat tawdry at times, but even the worst is better than an airport. Brief Encounter would not have worked in a departure lounge.
As Jenkins discovers, there is still plenty to celebrate and enjoy, and the modern disdain of stations is partly borne of our reluctance to linger in the face of modern life’s myriad competing demands. Linger, though, we must, to enjoy the variety of stations that have been left, largely by our Victorian forebears.