"The Railway Station is my favourite place of underestimated beauty in Stoke-on-Trent. It is not merely a beautiful, solid, red bricked facade, but a building that palpably exudes feelings of collective (nervous) excitement and keen anticipation.
It is such an anachronistically civilised and comforting place - even at its Hen/Stag party worst!
All is possible as you wait at the platform, just around the corner, coming at you at high speed (late?). There are arrivals of friends/family/strangers and film-like, tearful goodbyes. You are never rendered quite do distraught saying goodbye to someone leaving by car! Oh, the romance! You see, it is less a building (which has barely altered through generations of family visits) and almost entirely the atmosphere.
A disparate collection of people sat waiting, feet twitching to leave/return, are afforded a rare chance to think - the chance to escape! There is nothing to do but wait, read a little and accept someone else's timetable for a while. It is an artificial world, a gateway, a place of limbo between cities, between lives.
Stations can be the coldest, most brutal places to sit, I admit. The wind slices through them and a maudlin, comforting melancholy often cuts the blood in your veins. Sat under a high, domed roof, in a little holding pen of hushed voices, suppressed emotions and averted gazes; waiting and hoping: what a comfortingly British experience!"