Christopher realizes that the real train station has a different layout than the one in his train set. He’s frightened by all the people and by a tunnel, but he blocks out the noise and decides that he needs to walk through the tunnel to find somewhere to sit down. He concentrates on a sign at the other end and makes it through the tunnel. He ends up in the lobby of the station, sees signs all around him, and finds a chair to sit in. He feeds Toby and holds onto his knife while groaning.
Although Christopher felt relatively prepared for the train station because of the toy train set he used to have, his childhood fails him as the station looks different. Even so, he begins to find ways to navigate this unknown world, and even in his fear, he remembers to feed Toby, showing again how much he cares about this animal who is dependent on him for life.
To clear his head, Christopher does a math problem called Conway’s Soldiers. The problem involves a chess board that extends infinitely, with the lower part of the squares colored and the upper portion blank. The colored squares move by jumping over other colored squares, and the hopped squares disappear. In his mind, Christopher tries to get the colored squares as far as possible into the blank section of the board, but he knows that it’s impossible to get the colored squares more than four squares into the blank section.
Christopher has an impressive ability to focus. Even while being bombarded by sensory experiences in the train station, he manages to block everything out for the sake of an elaborate mental math problem. Even though he knows there are limitations to this problem, he still tries to find some way around them, just as he finds ways around his social limitations.
Christopher finally looks up to find a policeman talking to him. The man says that Christopher has been sitting in this café for two and a half hours. Christopher explains why he’s at the train station, and tells the policeman that he has a bank card. When the policeman forces him to admit that the card belongs to his father, Christopher is afraid that the policeman will arrest him, but instead he shows Christopher where the ATM is and helps him take out money for a ticket. The policeman is skeptical about Christopher’s ability to get where he’s going, but he shows him the way to the ticket office.
This is Christopher’s second run-in with the law. Although the policeman is kinder in this situation than in the first, his earlier experience has made Christopher more wary this time, particularly since he isn’t actually on the right side of the law anymore. However, the policeman proves friendly and helpful, and gets Christopher moving on his journey again.
A man with dreadlocks is buying tickets and is impolite to Christopher when Christopher interrupts. When the man leaves, Christopher pretends he’s playing a computer game to keep himself from being scared, and he manages to buy a ticket, though he doesn’t even know the difference between one-way and round-trip tickets. The man selling tickets gives him directions to his train. He imagines a red line across the floor, leading him where he has to go, and he follows the line, barking like a dog when people bump into him. He makes it to the train, watches a man open the electronic doors by pressing a button, and gets on the train himself.
Christopher continues to find little games to play with himself to keep himself from becoming too frightened to continue on. His ignorance about how to buy train tickets shows just how little he knows about how to take a trip in England, making his fear even more understandable. This is the first of a number of times that he barks when someone touches him, and it seems that he unconsciously does so in sympathy with Wellington. In escaping from Wellington’s murderer, Christopher feels a particular affinity with the dog.