Failing Railways: Filth and Squalor by the Sea

Article excerpt

THE INDEPENDENT'S appeal has exposed concern over the many stations, mainline terminals and unstaffed halts that have been deprived of cash for years.

Bournemouth, another historic railway building in a poor state of repair, was a close contender for the title. The station was nominated by Gordon Roe, former bishop of Huntingdon, in Cambridgeshire. "Scaffolding has been up for ever and fences off most of the few seats there are on the platform. When it rains the roof leaks everywhere and there is nowhere to hide. The loos are beyond belief, filthy, most of the cubicles boarded up, no adequate wash facilities and a pervading, repulsive smell," he wrote.

Railtrack said it was aware that Bournemouth, which has been under repair since the 1987 storms, was probably the worst station in the South-east. A spokesman said the company had agreed a pounds 6.7m package to restore the listed building by spring 2000. "This will reinstate the roof and really return the station to its former glory." A common thread running through the nominations was the feeling of fear and disgust that travellers felt while waiting for trains. St James Street in Walthamstow, east London, on the WAGN line to Chingford, was described as "crumbling, dirty, smelly, graffiti- covered and totally uninviting" by one reader who said that, for lone passengers, particularly at night, the perception is of a dangerous, insecure place. …