I’ve already praised the views within Rayners Lane. The views without are a different kind of treat:
The ticket hall resembles a ginormous cube, studded with dozens of neatly aligned rectangular windows running up each side. The building reaches to what could be described as a preposterously unnecessary height. I’m describing it as a preposterous necessity.
Not only is it stylish, trim and full of character. It also possesses Tardis-like qualities – and I mean that in the true sense of the word, family sci-fi fans.
In other words, when the ticket hall is viewed externally and then internally, it seems to exist in two different places at the same time. So much light pours in through what must number over a hundred individual window panes that, once you’ve stepped through the entrance, your surroundings seem more capacious than when you inspected them from the outside.
The grids within grids and cascades of quadrilaterals make it feel a bit like you’ve stumbled into a multi-dimensional sheet of graph paper.
Step back outside, and you wonder again how what you experienced a few seconds ago matches what you are seeing now.
If only Doctor Who had a spaceship that looked like this.
I’ve talked before of how some Underground stations, like all of us from time to time, feel better in the dark.
There are also parts of the network that are most flattered by light, specifically the arc of the sun. Obviously these stations are above ground, but they’re not always obviously candidates for celebration.
For much of the time, the most that can be said to commend the platforms at Rayners Lane are the flower beds:
But when the sun starts to set, there’s a clear sky, and you’re facing westbound, something rather beautiful happens.
The platforms are ideally aligned for what astronomers would call an “event”, though in this instance, it’s the juxtaposition of light and metal rather than any celestial bodies. An occasional passing human body won’t diminish the effect, mind:
Other stations undoubtedly play host to similar solar-kissed moments. But Rayners Lane is the most extreme, and the most magical, I’ve so far experienced.