It's Not a Train Station
In a very short space of time, a new grammatical irritation has gripped radio, television and the press in general — ‘train station’. Even the BBC has fallen for it.
A ‘station’ is a stopping point, a base or focal point, for people (members of staff and so on) or a centralized part of a particular infrastructure. Hence fireman and their equipment are based at a fire station. The fire does not congregate or meet there; a fire station is not somewhere one goes to get a fire.
Ambulance station, police station: they are for the ambulances and the ambulance staff, or for the police and their equipment. Bus station: where busman book on and off or a place to have as their base — they are ‘stationed’ there. In the army, one is ‘stationed’ at such-and-such barracks. It is the place of belonging for the staff and/or equipment associated with that place.
At the Boat Race, Oxford may end up at the Surrey Station — it is place at which they find themselves. It is not a station for Surreys.
A railway station is a point on the railway where staff work — a congregating point for the operations of the railway, a place to which passengers (not ‘customers’) come to join or leave the infrastructure of the railway. In literal terms, a ‘train station’ would be the point (on a train) where staff and the like might be based.
The root of the word ‘station’ is almost certainly the same as that for ‘status’, meaning a fixed point of reference — something static, in time or location, hence: statue, status quo, statute, statement, stationary and so on.
‘Train station’ is illiterate in the form that has become common usage in recent years and does not convey the meaning that is implied by most perpetrators of the expression.
I am no grammarian nor etymologist, but this recent fad is ignorant - unintelligently used by uninformed commentators who think they are somehow ‘correcting’ an obvious error. After all, buses serve a bus station, so trains must serve a train station. Wrong.
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