If you think of the functions of a station these features reveal their necessity: a ticket counter, a waiting room, an office space for railroad agents, a safe, preferably roofed, platform waiting area, and a temporary freight storage space.
The Chatsworth station house had all of these features, although on a very modest scale. Probably the most typical aspect of our local station was the wide roof overhang that served to protect waiting passengers and freight on the platform from the elements, both rain and sun. Stations everywhere in the world share this element, probably because of the challenge to railroad managers of making the trains run on time. Even today, at still functioning railway stations, passengers have to expect schedule delays due to any number of excuses. Waiting many minutes, and sometimes, hours, for the train to arrive, is still a very high probability at every Amtrak station in America, for instance. It's no secret that European and Japanese rail services are much more predictably prompt. Experts explain that such efficiency is due to government subsidization of those foreign rail systems, but that conclusion is still a subject of controversy in our country.
Another common feature of old railroad stations in America, according to Bradford L. Gilbert, architectural historian, was the need of early railroad companies to spend the least amount of money building these auxiliary parts of rail systems. Much more capital outlay had to be made to purchase land, lay tracks, build bridges and tunnels, and buy the trains themselves. As a consequence, when the Central Railway of New Jersey gave up the operation of the Chatsworth Station, its new owners, conceiving of the building as a potential residence, had to make major investments to meet minimum levels of domestic comfort.
Finally, the conflict between passenger and freight utilization of rail facilities has left its mark even on small stations such as Chatsworth's. Old photos reveal piles and stacks of goods on the east side platform of the old station perpendicular to the platform area that was parallel to the tracks where passengers waited. The necessity to protect both people and goods waiting for transport may have been the motivation for the curiously prevalent roof designs used by early railroad architects. The four sided roof slopes rather than two sided slopes helped provide for the multiple functions of rail service.
In Chatsworth, the old station became a home, but in many communities around our nation, disused stations have been repurposed as everything from commercial enterprises to museums. It is hoped that these charming remnants of our historical heritage will enjoy a long preservation into the future.