A Guide to England's Railway Stations: Orlington
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Great Central Rail's weekend service from Durham to London King's Cross has many stops. The train careens from Northern England, through the Midlands, before arriving at the nation's capital, a little under 4 hours from initial departure.

At York, tourists bundle out of the train, with cameras in hand, keen to capture their visit to the city's historic streets in physical form. A handful of students from local universities board, with suitcases in hand, to return home for varying amounts of time. Not many, but a few, will not return at all.

At Cambridge, businessmen keen to escape the noise of London, yet shackled to the city by their career, return to their families. After spending the working week sleeping in a small flat near the office, they find a day of comfort and respite, before returning to London on Sunday night to repeat the cycle.

There are more stops than these. More travellers. More stories. Each station a nexus connecting communities. Except, that is, for the station at Orlington.

At Orlington, no-one leaves the train.

At Orlington, no-one gets on.

In fact, as the train pulls into this long forgotten station, no announcement is even made. Yet, for some unknown reason, the train still stops. Were the passengers to look up from their books or phones and glance out the window, they'd see a once bustling town now cloaked in shadow. They'd see the hills surrounding Orlington, peppered with the graves of derelict coal mines. And they'd certainly see the partially built power station — which was intended to, and failed to, reverse the city's economic woes — towering above the train station.

But, of course, the passengers never look up.

There's an innate impossibility in remembering when something was forgotten. For the residents of Orlington, it feels so much longer ago than it actually was. The mines closed first, followed by the high street shops, followed by the supermarkets. Eventually, schools, businesses, and all manner of services were boarded up, abandoned, and closed. Yet the station stayed open, offering a chance of escape to those left behind in the left behind city.

None of them took it.

None would say why. None would admit they were scared to leave.

With little to do, the inhabitants of Orlington wandered through the city like shades. Then, at some point now impossible to recall, simile became reality. Bodies lost their opacity. Sullen eyes turned to dim glows in the dark. What were once feet began to hover above the ground. They now drift between the locations they once visited in life, effortlessly passing through sealed up doorways, in an effort to regain any semblance of meaning. Their efforts to achieve this always fail. They long ago forgot the significance of any venue they visit.

And so the shades of Orlington aimlessly drift through the city; except for one recurring occasion which stirs a vestige of humanity. Except for the occasion when the Great Central Rail's Durham to London King's Cross weekend service arrives.

Each time a train arrives, a thousand beads of soft light, once pairs of eyes, dart towards the station. The shades experience the last remnants of their last emotion — hope — rising up within. Had they still mouths through which to speak, they'd beg for someone, anyone, to disembark. To acknowledge them, acknowledge their town, acknowledge what they have lost. They would beg for someone to see them.

No-one disembarks.

With a beeping of its doors, and a hiss from its brakes, the service departs from Orlington.

The train moves on.

The world moved on long ago.

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