February 17, 2009
No kissing allowed at Warrington station – it blocks the platform
By Mark Hughes
Lovers hoping to bid each other an intimate farewell will no longer be able to do so in certain areas of Warrington Bank Quay train station after "no kissing" signs appeared following concerns that embracing couples were causing congestion.
The signs were installed on Friday as part of a £1m refurbishment of the station and have divided the car park and taxi ranks into "kissing" and "no-kissing" zones.
They will mean an end to scenes like the one between Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in the 1945 film Brief Encounter, in which the couple share a passionate embrace at a station.
The idea of the "no-kissing" zones at Warrington station in Cheshire, was first mooted in 1998 by Colin Daniels, chief executive of the town's chamber of commerce. He came up with the idea after hearing that a station in Deerfield, Illinois, had used the signs to ease congestion.
But it was only last week, following the revamp, that the signs were put up because the station has become "increasingly busy" since the introduction of Pendolino trains between London and Glasgow and Super Voyager trains between Birmingham and Scotland.
Mr Daniels said yesterday: "It is a fairly congested station and ideally what we want is for people to come here, drop someone off and move on. But that wasn't always happening and people were lingering and causing delays.
"With these 'no-kissing' signs we are pointing out that we don't want people doing that right outside the front of the station. If they want to linger and say a longer goodbye they can do that in the 'kissing zone' where there is a limited amount of parking."
Mr Daniels said that the station would not be enforcing the zones too rigidly, adding: "It is a bit of fun, but it will be interesting to see if people observe it. They may seem frivolous but there is a serious message underneath."
And despite the timing of the signs appearing –one day before Valentine's Day – they are not, as some cynics have might suggest, a marketing ploy. Mr Daniels insists they are there to stay "unless someone nicks them".
At the station, commuters had a mixed view on the signs. Amy Swain, 21, said: "I don't see the point in the 'no-kissing' sign. I don't think it'll stop people. But the kissing sign is good, although it might be upsetting if you're single." But Ruth Hardman, 31, said: "They should spend the money on something more worthwhile."
A Virgin spokesman said: "It's just a quirky thing. It's nothing more than a light-hearted way of getting the message across."
Source: The Independent