The silver arm of an electronic barrier replaces the guard who used to smile and twitch his white moustache as he checked your ticket. You could tell the time of day by the shadow of stubble on his face. The waiting room in the corner is now a glass cubicle and there’s nowhere to sit down. The old wooden bench used to be along that wall where they’ve mounted a computer screen. Rolling news flickers across the screen all day.
Bad news, mostly.
Before these changes happened a man with a coal black beard used to sit on the bench every morning and fill the waiting room with wreathes of pipe smoke. He wore a lopsided hat and a tweed coat with the elbows out.
His expression was one of pure abstraction: eyes glazed in a dream as smoke curled from the charred bowl of his briar, his mind travelling along glinting tracks that only he could see, his thoughts powered by the ghost of a steam engine that smoked in far off stations where the hills gradually became snow topped mountains and the carriages were as silent as a Halloween séance.
Thankfully, since the advent of austerity and the smoking ban such reckless behaviour rarely happens in public anymore.