A feline trainspotter has become a celebrity among commuters at Hackbridge station.
The station cat is reminiscent of T.S. Eliot’s character, Skimbleshanks, who was brought to life in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Cats.
The tabby cat, thought to be male, appears in the morning to patrol the platforms before sitting on chairs next to passengers in the waiting room.
Tim Relf, community editor at Farmers Weekly, regularly uses the station. He hopes to get the cat officially recognised by the council and to see if the train operator will declare him station master.
Mr Relf, from Carshalton, said: "There I was, dashing platform-bound through the waiting room, when what should I see? A cat.
"It was a lovely specimen, sat on one of the chairs without a care in the world. It looked perfectly content.
"I was worried he was going to stray onto the tracks but, responsibly, he stayed behind the yellow line.
"Other people on the platform were similarly surprised."
The station cat has brought commuters together and helped break the stony silence which usually exists between commuters.
Mr Relf said: "We did that rarest of things for train travellers near London - we started talking to one another. ‘Where does it come from?’ we asked. ‘Does it live in the station?’ ‘Look,’ one person said, not quite believing their eyes, ‘a cat.’"
The tabby waits for school children to arrive and neighbours are known to put out water for him as well as bringing him salmon.
Mr Relf added: "It was a win-win situation. Stressed commuters got a distraction and the cat got lots of fuss. Every station should get one."
Hackbridge station users have now begun a search for a name of the cat who is become a regular feature at the station.
It is believed that the station cat lives nearby. Do you know the identity of the Hackbridge Station cat? Contact us on 0208 722 6358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .