Odd though it may sound these days, I actually enjoy rail travel. There is something about the challenge of getting from A to B (often via C) using the train. As well as the challenge, I like to sit and relax, gaze out the window at the ever changing landscape, the motion of the train, the sounds, and of course, the people watching.
One aspect of rail travel that I have only become truly aware of recently is the stations. Whilst it is true that many stations could not be described as magnificent, many are run down, cold and miserable. However, increasingly stations are being restored to their former glory.
It is sad that many people do not notice the environments that they pass through during the daily grind of a commute. What joy are they missing? What history are they missing?
My favourite, must be the London terminal of the Midland Mainline; London StPancras International.
The transformation that I have seen in this station in the years that I have been using it has been nothing short of incredible. The old station was so dirty, dark and depressing. The restored station is bright, beautiful and inspiring. They have utilised all the history to its best effect and it is almost a pleasure to wait for a train here. We are fortunate indeed that it was saved and restored.
Another station, that I have totally missed until this week, is London Paddington. Again, the beautiful preservation of historic buildings works so well.
I implore you to take a few seconds of your day to pause and look around you. Be amazed at what you see. Take it in. Above all, enjoy it.