Surbiton train station, westbound trains platform

This week some new photos from the upcoming Harry Potter film appeared all over the web. One photo features two of the characters in a train station that looked quite familiar. In fact, it’s the same train station that I use every day to go to London. I thought it would be interesting to take a photo of the platform for comparison.
Well, I don’t think this will make the station a point of pilgrimage for HP fans while visiting London, as is the case with King’s Cross 9-3/4 platform.

It’s interesting to see how the station was dressed up with additional light fixtures.




  1. onomontapeia says:

    Just out of curiosity and for a better understanding of the difference in cultures, please explain why it says “way out” instead of “exit”. And why is the “no exit” stairway so much smaller. We don’t have subways here and I’ve only experienced NY subways a couple of times.

  2. Buzz says:

    In England the language is …different. They say Way Out instead (“This is the” understood). If there’s a problem with that, you could always solicit The Queen to change things. I’m sure she will be interested.

    Our Latin Exit is more nominative, calling a spade a shovel. Which the British call a “Way Down.”

    Subways in London also are famously labeled with Mind The Gap along the edge of the platform, so you don’t accidentally try to fit your foot into the 40mm space between it and the subway car. None of this “Watch Your Step” stuff for them. They also say Mind Your Tongue and Mind Your Manners a lot. And when they want you to control your thoughts…

    In the LA subway system. There was a movement to have the labels say “Far Out” but nobody got the joke. In San Francisco, that’s what it says. But what do you expect from a city that names its system after a Simpsons character?

    I think they added all those fluorescent lights to create the bluish lighting that the movie camera needed to give the impression subways are inhumane.

    Turns out, lighting designers are inhumane. How long are we going to let them get away with this? Mind your eyes.

  3. WmDE says:

    There’s the “Way Out” and “No Exit” mixing two ways of describing exits.

    I suppose it is better for depressed people on a subway platform not to have a sign saying “No Way Out” with the means for suicide being so close.

    “No Exit” is less likely to give them ideas.

  4. WmDE says:

    onomontapeia asks why is the “no exit” stairway so much smaller?

    Assume that the train runs every 10 minutes.

    Assume an equal number of passengers boarding and leaving the train.

    Boarding passengers have ten minutes to pay their fare and descend the stairs.

    The passengers leaving the station all show up at the exact same time, with the train.

    Peak traffic for the “Way Out” crowd is always higher than peak traffic for the entering crowd. The average traffic is the same.

    Another reason is that panics to get into a subway are less likely than panics to get out of a subway.

  5. Jon says:

    One other point (since I used to frequent Surbiton fairly often)…

    It’s a train station, not a subway station. The UK has a lot of commuter railway routes and commuter railway stations. This is one of them. Something that North America missed out on with its love of the automobile. Of course London also has a lot of Underground stations (subway) but Surbiton just happens to be on a railway line.

    No definitive answer about the “Way Out” vs “No Exit” debate. Anybody that says Brits don’t say “No Way Out” or “Exit” is making things up and wrong. My guess (and it would only be a guess) is that “Way Out” was deemed clearer than “Exit” and “No Way Out” was deemed too long for the other sign.

    Before they switched to pictograms, emergency exit signs in the UK all said “Exit”

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