ISSN : 2266-6060

Ghost railstation


Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon, June 2013

Finding the station has been easy, just follow the tracks going away from the village center. But once there, usual landmarks are blurred: the building that shall commonly be denominated “station” is walled on all sides. No window with a human officer or electronic compounds behind a touch screen to greet you and you have to go on the side to access platforms. They also look empty, no leaflets, no ads, or even typical station clocks. Only two signs indicate the main directions on either side of a track with easy access to go through. Once reached the opposite platform, an LCD screen that provides information to travelers can be seen, five meters above ground level, presumably to prevent degradation.
There, no more maintainers, or only occasionally. The station looks as deserted as towns after the gold rush. Yet trains pass by and even stop there, travelers go up and down. They are just no longer bound by the rules that exist elsewhere, where machines and humans guide, punch, control, say, prevent, warn, respond to their requests. And this sign is made to tell them that in the Wild West of small abandoned stations, there are no more sheriff than bank, you must get on the train even without composting, even without having a ticket, as when locomotives were using steam and cole.
But once installed, will there be a controller or will it also be a ghost train? When would you leave this world to join the one you were previously familiar with?