I get the train to Liverpool from Runcorn station every morning and the surrounding streets are always filled with commuters’ cars as they try to avoid paying the fiver per day to place their motors inside this beautiful architectural tribute to the Nazi death camps.
When the multi-story was constructed a few years back I assumed that the concrete and metal mesh effect was only temporary and that funky, multi-coloured cladding would be placed over the bare cement and terrifying metal but no, in a tribute to the brutalists of the 60s and 70s, this was the finished product.
With it’s eco-friendly sculpture/turbine powering the coffee machine and retro-futurist bike stand, Runcorn station is a mish mash of competing styles as if Albert Speer met Albert Steptoe somewhere on the Widnes Bridge.
Car crime used to be a problem round here but not any more, the car park and station has more cameras than Cannes. The message is clear; ‘you and your car are safe here.’ The station itself is still only a couple of platforms on the main west coast Euston to Lime Street line but sometimes celebrities of the stature of Cream’s James Barton, Brookside ice queen, Jennifer Ellison and the Everton Youth Squad can be found jibbing the first class lounge to mingle with the middle management mobile phone gobshites, wacky sweded students and weed addled scals.
It takes about 15 minutes on the Virgin Pendolino or 25 on the London Midland that stops at the super-funky new Liverpool South Parkway station (aka the former home of South Liverpool FC in Allerton). Call me old fashioned, but I much prefer the oppressive, grey pebble dash fascism of Runcorn to the shiny, utopian-consumerist, sterility of South Parkway any day. It’s the difference between the smell of piss and bleach.