Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Carry on loving train travel

I caught a saucy slice of Carry On Loving on Saturday.  There is a scene where Sid James is being followed by Charles Hawtrey.  Sid ducks into a railway station toilet in an attempt to shake Charlie off.  This for me is a highlight of the film as it is a tantalising glimpse of when railway stations had something about them.  Atmosphere that is.  Not necessarily charm but definitely atmosphere.

In recent years railway stations have been sanitised in steel, perspex and bland tiling - this one that Sid visited had wooden panels.  And it was shadowy.  It reminded me of the old St Pancras.  Much as I admire the spirit of this station's re-invention as a modern international travel terminal; and I'm pleased that the beautiful architecture hasn't been neglected or worse - I do miss that old booking office with its Gothic panelling.  Moor Street station in Birmingham is another good old girl that's had a facelift.  But the abandoned station which stood empty for years alongside the through lines looked more like a place where an interesting journey might start.

Imagine if Brief Encounter was to be remade for the modern audience.  Would it work amongst the ticket barriers and mini shopping malls of today? Somehow I doubt it very much.

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