A different train of thought

As president of the Halstead & District Local History Society, I would like to respond to Ian McKenzie’s strong criticism in last month’s issue of the wording ‘train station’ – rather than ‘railway station’ – used by Lidl with its superb tile mosaic on the outside wall of the supermarket group’s new store in the town.

As Geoff Courtney said in his article in issue 236, the mosaic, which is a photograph of an early 1900s scene at the town’s station, has attracted considerable interest and favourable comments, with an overwhelmingly positive feedback from residents.

What would Mr McKenzie rather have? A plain brick wall, or a large photographic mural proudly displaying our heritage? I know on which side of the wall I stand, along with, I believe, the rest of the population of our town.

Enjoy the view: The tile mosaic on the wall of the new Lidl store in Halstead (nearest camera), with another mosaic, far left, of the town centre. Railway artist Malcolm Root has hit back at criticism of Lidl’s use of the wording ‘train station’ rather than ‘railway station’, saying that enthusiasts should get pleasure from the mosaic rather than criticise. MALCOLM ROOT

This mosaic was a great and unnecessary expense by Lidl, which worked closely with the local council, the history society, and residents, to achieve an extremely pleasing vision of Halstead’s past. Visitors to the town comment that they would love something similar where they live.

How sad it is if railway enthusiasts cannot get pleasure from the overall picture, but instead find fault with the wording ‘train station’.

I heard train station mentioned in a conversation on television a few days ago and thought nothing of it.

I have had a lifelong interest in trains – or should I say railways – and am a professional railway artist, but I do find it understandable why we sometimes get saddled with the anorak image.

When an international company such as Lidl puts so much work into our passion, let’s just sit back, be grateful, and let our imagination take over.

Malcolm Root,
Halstead, Essex

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