Tuesday 6 February 2018

#436 Unexploited space

The waiting room on platform three at Peckham Rye Station was, without a doubt, a collosal waste of space. I'd been examining the children's drawings from a nearby primary school that hung on the wall because the rail company couldn't afford proper artwork. They were ok. They couldn't rescue the room though. The room was pointless. That much was clear.

I went over my argument. All around the country, there were hundreds and hundreds of stations that simply didn't have a waiting room so it was obviously possible to run a station without one. It wasn't as though fewer people would use a station if there was no waiting room. They'd simply wait outside. They wouldn't perish. They'd be wearing clothes. That's what clothes were for.

It might make sense if there were no other use for the room but it was easily large enough to rent as an office. The only way to access it was via the ticket barriers. This meant that the station master would have to print off a season ticket to the nearest station and give it to the office user but that hardly seemed like an impossibility.

Still three minutes to go until my train arrived. I turned back to the drawings. Mia, 8, had "designed" a chair with a special helmet that could give you any hairstyle. Joe, also 8, had drawn a machine that could make you any drink. I realised I must have forgotten how astonishingly limiting it must have felt to be a child.

Any adult would appreciate the pointlessness of investing heavily in technology just to replicate the function of a hairdresser or bartender. Yet the rail operators failed to appreciate the pointlessness of their waiting rooms. In this at least, they were hardly any smarter than the young children whose work adorned their walls.

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