Hardly having being out for months, on Friday, we went to London for an appointment – approved in the lockdown rules don’t you know.
What we experienced on a journey were a series of surprises, which I’ll describe.
We took the train from Woking Station to Waterloo and then to Islington. Arriving at Woking, the car park by the station was almost empty – just a handful of cars. Normally, even at £17.50 for a days parking, it’s full, hardly a space to be had. At the station ticket windows there were three windows open and three members of staff behind the windows. Train travellers from Woking will know that even in rush hour there was often just one ticket window open, resulting in long queues. Not a soul around the ticket windows or booking hall. It was midday, so not the busiest part of the day, even so to see so few people around was a surprise.
While waiting for our train a stopping at all stations train arrived at the opposite platform. I tried to count the number of carriages, and think I got to 13, could’ve been more. How often have the trains from Woking been short on carriages, and packed with passengers as a result.
There were passengers on our train, but when we arrived at Waterloo they soon disappeared into the concourse. With a little time to spare I did what I’ve done often, beginning in 2015, to take a photo of the station platforms converted from the old Eurostar platforms. [See HERE if you’re interested]. Not a passenger in sight, apart from a few station employees. My photo is shown below.
I hadn’t realised how long it’s been not travelling to London by rail. There’s still plenty of new building works on view pretty much everywhere on the journey. Can’t stop progress. Must say I’m not overly impressed with the skyscrapers and density of tower blocks at Nine Elms, maybe it’s better at ground level.
While there are, obviously, people around on London streets, and some traffic, it’s not the bustling, frantic, and buzzy London that we all know. On the way back from our appointment we wandered up a side street before we went to Old Street tube station to begin our journey home. I found the juxtaposition of old and new buildings more surprising than I’d previously considered. Everywhere there were new tower blocks, often in odd shapes, which doesn’t, for me, make them any more attractive. I’m more of a mansion block person, big, but not overpowering, and likely to be a more attractive design in brick or stone. Anyway, I took a photo looking up in Baldwin Street near City Road [see below].
Overall, pleased to see London growing, but would love to see the place back to normal.