Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dear Trainspotter...

I hope you have a family that care for you, that you laugh and spend time with when you are not sitting alone on a bench in a smokey train station, writing numbers in your notebook and taking photographs of trains.

I hope you have a little garden or allotment somewhere that you enjoy pottering around in when you are not sitting alone on that bench in a grotty train station in a town which appears to have a record breaking crime rate.

In fact, I hope that your fellow 'spotters' come over and have a chat with you and that later you get home safely because in just two short hours in your town I witnessed more people being bundled into police cars than I have ever seen anywhere before.

...and if you haven't got a family or a garden, or even nice neighbours, I hope you enjoy your train spotting and that the drunks leave you alone.

I watched this lonely man at the station for half an hour. He wasn't like the other trainspotters who were so intent on recording and photographing that they barely noticed the presence of anyone else. The man on the bench discretely wrote down his numbers, took a few quick snaps and sat and watched and smiled at families passing by. I couldn't help but wonder if he had a family. I can't bear to think of older lonely people, especially in a town like the one I visited today. Within ten minutes of getting off the train a violent argument and fight had broken out between two young families. Police were quickly on the scene. A short time later I saw a man being frogmarched down the high street in handcuffs, his jeans barely holding up. He was very drunk. It was ten in the morning. Police were everywhere, and every shop was heavy on the security staff. It was quite an experience.