Roughly a year went by. The man felt compelled to go back there, even though he lived in a different city; the station had come to represent some compartmentalized off or sublimated part of his personality and identity. He HAD to know how it was doing.
He approached the same side entrance. Taken aback,he saw a large sign advertising “National Car parks”; he looked to his right and above this car park entrance: the whole hotel that had been built above the station had been demolished; all that remained were the roofless booths of the former booking hall, at the back of the car park entrance. A rudimentary shack housed the attendant. There was one old maroon sign stating “Trains to Wolverhampton”, but you had to walk through the incongruous carpark to get to through into the tiny, still functionning part of the station; there was the Wolverhapmton little dmu waiting like last year.
Again, memories of how Liverpool Central High level, Manchester Central and Liverpool Exchange stations had metamorphosed into carparks, some of them whilst still operating a skeletal local train service, were present, in some form, in his mind. The disorientating and unsettling fact was that the this particular hulk of the once-thriving station he was visiting again,was both a carpark AND a vestigial station;it seemed to cross boundaries of function and time; looking through the boards into the section of the station that had been wholy disused a year ago, he saw it full of cars: disconcertingly, they covered platforms and even the earthed over tracks between the platforms. It was as if some massive mistake or dissociation between two realities had occurred; a car park in a (just) working railway station.
Existential panic gripped the man; he had to leave the station; he knew, however, that he would have to return next year.. he would have to see what its next stage in dereliction would be
(To be continued)