Caught by the River

The Station

7th October 2013

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Listen to The Station on the BBC iPlayer.

Sound recordist Chris Watson captures 24 hours in the life of Newcastle Central Station.

From the BBC website: A dynamic and powerful soundscape of Newcastle upon Tyne Central Station using location recordings to tell a story of twenty-four hours in the life of this station – from the spring solo of a robin at dawn on the street outside to the pounding roar of the heavy goods trains which thunder along the rails past deserted platforms in the darkness of the night.

The sound recordist Chris Watson, regularly travels to and from this station and became fascinated by the sounds and acoustics of the building, so when he was granted permission to record inside, he leapt at the chance, visiting at various times during both day and night over several months, to capture the sounds within; from the quiet crackle of the overhead wires on a misty dawn morning to the terrifying roar and clamour of footballs fans and police dogs when Newcastle were playing at home to Sunderland, and the chanting voices and shouts of the fans overwhelmed even the sounds of the trains.

Newcastle upon Tyne Central Station was designed by John Dobson and opened by Queen Victoria in 1850. Entering through a grand sandstone portico ” that would give dignity and certainly put Newcastle on the map” says building historian, Grace McCombie, one is immediately struck by the acoustics of this grand Victorian building. The great sweeping curve of the platforms and the vaulted roof above add to the visual grandeur and scale of the Station, “you stand at one end.. and your eye sweeps along the curves and it’s just beautiful… brilliant, brilliant design” says Grace “It’s like a huge concert hall” says Chris “and it stamps that acoustic on any sound that is generated within the station; the ebb and flow of people, the tide of trains, … everything that happens in there”.

Sound recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt.