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24 December, 2003

To Wales

Warrington Bank Quay. Copyright NRT, 2003To Wales today, to spend a few days with my mother.  The trip was straightforward: 15 mins walk to the railway station, Virgin InterCity to Warrington, on to Shotton by a commuter train, 10 mins walk until my mother met me by car, then 5 mins to my childhood home; 100 miles (~165km) and 2.5 hours in all.

The photo (click to enlarge) is Warrington Bank Quay station.  Left to right are Platforms one to four; the two outer lines are Manchester-Wales, whilst the inner lines are the West Coast main line from Glasgow to London.  The yellow lines are painted a door's width in from the edge of the platform, but the risk isn't of being hit by an open door, as nowadays interlocking mechanisms prevent doors opening unless a train is stationary; rather it's the risk of being sucked off the platform by trains passing at full speed!

Over the past decade, I've spent a lot of time at this station, arriving from Lancaster at Platform 2, waiting up to 90 mins for a connecting train to Wales at Platform 1, then reversing the process a couple of days later, arriving at Platform 4 and onwards to Lancaster from 3.  I've been very bored here, very cold, and, on occasion, profoundly unhappy.  During the worst period of my PhD in the mid-nineties, I'd escape Lancaster for a weekend, then change train at Warrington on the dreaded trip back on a Monday morning.  Often I'd be sitting at Platform 3, watching a train back to Wales pull into, then leave Platform 1.  To my credit, I never boarded it.

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