Paddington Station vs Hipstamatic

What a terminus Paddintgon is. From the street there’s none of the show of St Pancras or King’s Cross – instead it skulks moodily behind a nondescript hotel, waiting for the unwitting visitor to stumble on it. The main entrance is a little road which cabs drive down from time to time, and vans use as a drop-off point for deliveries. So you walk down and then suddenly it hit you: one of Britain’s most awe-inspiring structures: Isambard Kingdom-Brunel’s gigantic glass roof. Higher than it needs to be, and all the better for it, light floods down in sunbeams illuminating the highly polished floor with spots of sunshine. 

Then there’s the station’s width, the vast expanse filled with platforms, each one the starting point for a journey to the deep south west on the line, that if Brunel had had his way, would have been smoother thanks to his wide-gauge track size. Sadly, that dream – and his idea for a rail link to America – was never fully realised, but his genius lives on in a station a thousand times more iconic than Heathrow Terminal 5 can ever be, even if the only country you can visit from it is Wales.


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