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17 November, 2009

Worst?

It's a little startling to discover that four of the 'worst' railway stations are consecutive stops on the West Coast mainline in NW England – in fact, after Lancaster itself (not on the list!) three are those I pass through most often.

And I wouldn't say they're that bad. The assessment must include some size or passenger-traffic threshold (sort-of; see below), as I'd rate other, smaller stations as in greater need of investment and renovation.

Then again, the very fact that these are the stations with which I'm most familiar probably defines my expectations – compared to, say, Manchester Piccadilly or London St. Pancras, I'd have to acknowledge that Preston's fine Victorian vault could do with a little work, and the facilities are a bit haphazard. Not bad, though.

Glancing through the
report by the 'Station Champions' (FFS...), it seems the emphasis was less on the physical environments and visual appeal of the stations (hence no mention of Birmingham New Street...) than functionality and passengers' expectations, particularly in terms of access, information and facilities. 'Extra retail potential' is one criterion, but not one which would remotely interest me.

The approach was to categorise stations and define minimum standards for each class; the 'National 'B' Interchange' group seemed weakest so received greater attention. Hence, other stations in categories 'C'-'F' might be 'worse' than those specified, but the report simply doesn't mention them. Perhaps understandably, press reports don't quite convey the right message (The Guardian: "UK's worst rail stations named").


Interesting claim from the report: London Victoria, Liverpool St, Waterloo and Euston handle more passengers daily than Heathrow Airport – each.

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