This French train station is located in a town renamed after the famed writer Marcel Proust's fictional name for the village.
On Christmas Eve 1956, writer Michael Bond happened upon a lone teddy bear sitting on a store shelf. After deciding to buy the bear as a gift for his wife, Bond was inspired to write a book explaining the stuffed animal’s origins. The book was titled A Bear Called Paddington, named for the famous London train station.
Known locally as simply Paddington, London Paddington is a London Underground station complex with close proximity to other tourist attractions such as Hyde Park, Regents Canal, and The Serpentine. The site has been the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the main line station, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, dates back to 1854.
In the 1920s, Paddington was used regularly to deliver mail. Over 10,000 parcels per day were shipped through Paddington, forcing expansions of new platforms in the 1930s which allowed the station to double its mail output. It was also at this time, after seeing a surge in London’s population, that new commuter rail services were being offered.
Those suburban services would turn from luxury to necessity during World War II when Paddington was attacked not once, but twice. In 1941, a parachute mine destroyed part of the departure side of the station, and in 1944, two bombs took out the roof between platforms six and seven. Passenger travel increased during this time to evacuate for the calmer Thames Valley.
On Friday evenings, you can hear the Great Western Railway Paddington Band perform in the station. The band was almost removed by holding company Railtrack in 1997, but they play on as the last railway band in England.
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