The streets around the station are busy and intimidating.
The forecourt of the station is equally busy. It is filled with people. They are hauling suitcases and backpacks, and many look lost or agitated. Guard towers loom above the crowds and the uniformed guards look like they mean business. I want to take a photo of them but decide that I’d better not.
The front of the station is peppered with ticket windows. I’m here to pick up the ticket I bought online in New Zealand. But the signs all look similar and I’m not sure which lines are people waiting to buy and which ones are people waiting to collect.
I lock my bike up near the Luggage and Parcel Consignment Hall. It looks ominous. I’m still hoping that I can take my bike on the train with me tomorrow.
I pick a window and a line, and wait. After waiting a while I decide to check with a young policeman. Despite looking quite scary he is happy to help and sends me to the ticket office at the far end of the building. When I get there I see the huge ‘Ticket Office’ sign above the giant archway.
I pass through a security check, still wondering if I’m going the right way. Inside, I see many ticket booths. There is no-one at the sole English speaking counter. But I ask and, after a short wait, a man comes over. His English is not particularly good, but I have the handwritten note and I collect my ticket.
But he says that my bike is not allowed on this train and will have to travel separately. He sends me back down to the other end of the building.