Only at King’s Cross?

As my train pulled into King’s Cross, I spotted a serious-looking sign bearing the edict:

Electric Trains Only To Access Platform 0

A couple of questions struck me:

  1. Is King’s Cross the only station with a Platform 0?
  2. Why was my electric train (like many others) NOT pulling into Platform 0, disobeying the serious-looking sign?

It turns out there are other UK stations with a Platform 0: Edinburgh Haymarket and Cardiff Central at least.  But I’m fairly sure King’s Cross is the only station with a Platform 0 AND a sign for Platform 9 3/4.

As for disobeying the serious-looking sign, I reckon the train driver was right to ignore the Ministry of Signs’ half-baked wording.  Since Platform 0 is more enclosed than the other platforms, station management probably want to avoid pollution/fumes (e.g. from diesel trains) building up in the confined space.  So, they want to restrict Platform 0 for use by electric trains only, but not prevent electric trains from using the other platforms.  Sadly, the Ministry’s carelessly placed “only” fluffs both intentions.

A simple “Platform 0: Electric Trains Only” would have sufficed.  But the Ministry ambiguated, consigning the poor placard to an enigmatic existence.

Today’s wordsmithing lesson inspired by the Ministry of Signs:

Say what you mean, then check you mean what you say!

Update 29/06/2010: Stockport also has a Platform 0 (thanks Oli!)

2 thoughts on “Only at King’s Cross?

  1. Why is a train trying to access the platform in the first place? Surely the train is better off staying on the tracks by the side of the platform whilst the passengers access the platform in order to be able to board the train.

  2. Only Cardiff Central, Haymarket, King’s Cross, Stockport, (in the UK), Uppsala, (Sweden) and Lidcombe, Sydney (Australia) have a platform 0 (zero) [ Source: Wikipedia ]

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