Monday, 19 January 2015

Day 19: The platforms that time forgot.

Monday morning commutes hold no joy for me, I'm not crazy about the other days either (especially super early Wednesdays) but the come down after the chilled pace of the weekend, is a wrench for sure. This morning as the crowded train coasted into Waterloo Station it was apparent that something was different. Since the middle of last year, very occasionally the train will creep surreptitiously onto platform 20, from whence the Eurostar formerly operated, and the passengers disembarking then have to nip through a handful of doorways, to access the adjacent platform in the rest of the station, and leave through the barriers there.

But today the train was boldly coming to a stop on platform 21 with no safety net of a neighbouring platform to disgorge the hordes onto. I felt oddly passport, no luggage. It occurred to me that the last time I was here I'd be catching a train to France. I think my last trip here was preparing for a long weekend in Lille back in May 2006, where somehow I'd only taken one pair of shoes and they were from entirely different pairs!

Waterloo stopped hosting the Eurostar in November 2007, when they upped sticks and headed for King's Cross St. Pancras. And possibly the last time ticket barriers were in operation. Though there's been some reenginerring as there are now only a few steps to get down from the platforms, and last time there were escalators zooming you up to ground level.

I did make one further visit to these elegant platforms though, even after the trains had gone. In 2010 the other J and I secured two front row tickets for a fabulous new adaptation of The Railway Children. They built the seats on the platform around the abandoned tracks. The piece de resistance was a real life steam train chuffing into view, billowing steam everywhere for the poignant and unforgettable "daddy, my daddy!" finale scene. Not a dry eye in the house, or should that be station?

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