My local station proudly proclaims its location on the ‘Sunshine Coast’ an idea from a long abandoned tourism campaign. I remember the sunshine coast, the holidays and the fun. When I first moved to this part of the country my local station had two platforms, a hotel and a bar. Trains would arrive in the summer full of tourists that flocked to the immaculate sands and lively pier.
I walked along the station this week and noticed that half way along the single remaining platform the mould and lichen are taking back over. Even in the peak of summer now there is no need for the 8 carriages the platform accommodates. The only feet that tread that end of the platform are those of maintenance gangs. The small ticket office is a modern addition, replacing the grand offices of this formerly busy station.
The hotel was long since converted to housing, not that the town could support its previous use now anyway. The large sidings, built to accommodate the high levels of tourism, are car parking now. The funny thing is that on a clear morning looking out over the backwaters I am sure you can still feel the delight of throngs of visitors. Still almost hear the giggles and shrieks of children tumbling over themselves to start their holiday.
I guess that were lucky that this small backwater even maintained a railway line through the Beeching massacre. I still miss the glory days, if for nothing else than for the emotions that they evoke. Slamming doors, whistles and horse hair seats so bouncy a small child struggled to stay seated, that was a way to travel to the coast. For me as emotive as steam in its day.