Monday, 11 November 2013

Waiting For The Train

Berney Arms
In The Halvergate Marshes

Berney Arms is the smallest station in England. This is remote Norfolk; the nearest road is nearly six kilometres away and it is easier to reach the hamlet by boat this being the Norfolk Broads. Resembling something out of a child's train set, the platform is long enough for just one carriage and the shelter accommodates three passengers. Not that this is a busy station for the three trains a day bring only 1000 people a year, mostly ramblers and bird watchers. There was until the late sixties, a small row called Station Cottages. One room served as booking office, waiting room and post office. 

By the Lochside 

Lonely  Duncraig is  a picturesque little station on the side of Loch Carron in the Scottish Highlands. It was originally a private platform serving Duncraig Castle and was not open to the public until 1949. A single platform with a unique, octagonal waiting room, the station has views across the loch. There are just four trains a day from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and on an average day two passengers use the station. 

 The Extraordinary Station of Moreton on Lugg

The village of Moreton on Lugg lies just to the north of Hereford. Although the railway from Shrewsbury passes through the village, trains no longer stop here, the station having closed in 1958. When the railway was being constructed, a navvy made his home in a hollowed out tree. The trunk was equipped with a thatched roof, a brick chimney stack and even a door. When the railway opened in 1866, the navvy moved on but the tree which was known affectionately as "Eve" found a new purpose. The tree became a store house but when the station became part of the Great Western Railway it was converted into a ticket office. The tree, with a circumference of 19 metres was so large that on one occasion, 15 people were said to have taken tea inside.

Parsley Hey

Up In The Clouds

Parsley Hay was one of the highest stations in England with an altitude of 350 metres. In the remote hills near Buxton, it only saw three passenger trains a day and not surprisingly closed in 1954. The platforms were constructed of wood planks as were the station buildings. Until a signal box was built, the booking office served that purpose. One of the waiting rooms was furnished with pews for this was the village mission hall. The station harmonium provided the music.

The Comforts of Rural Essex

Passengers waiting for a train in the Essex countryside needed to be a hardy lot for the stations didn't always provide many comforts. Stane Street near Bishops Stortford didn't even have a proper platform whilst at Ashdon and  Henham, passengers were expected to shelter in crumbling old cariages. The original fittings had been removed and benches installed. That as Ashdon dates from 1916 and still exists although no trains have called since 1964

 Richborough Port - The train that never arrived
 The station at Richborough Port in Kent was built in 1925. Having been constructed, it was found that an approach bridge would not stand the weight of a train and consequently the station never opened for either passengers or goods. By the time the railway was built, the port near Ramsgate which  was also known as Sandwich Haven, was already in decline. The privately owned East Kent Railway hoped to use the port for coal traffic from the collieries that they served. The station platform hardly served a bustling community being in a bleak and remote location. Had the trains arrived, there would have only been two services a day. This was not a busy line and it was unusual for a train to carry more than one passenger, if any at all. Trains rarely ran to time and to make up their schedule, drivers often ignored stations even if there was a passenger waiting.
The line finally closed in 1951 although the section near Richborough had not seen trains for some years as part of the track was missing.

Also on this line was the strangely named Poison Cross station. Opened in  May 1925, there was for the first year a Saturday only service. The full, twice daily service only lasted two years and Poison Cross closed in October 1928. The train no longer ran to its destination at Sandwich Road.

From Shrewsbury's Other Station

The Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway wasn't allowed to run its trains into the principal station in Shrewsbury so it built its own terminus at Abbey Foregate.
The origins of this 20 mile line go back to 1861 when a rival route to Ireland was planned. It failed to receive its act of parliament but the scheme was revived with a proposal to build a line from the Potteries. It was completed in 1866 but only between Shrewsbury and Llanymynech. When the Board of Trade inspected the railway in 1880 they found that the track needed renewing. As the company could not afford this, they restricted the speed of trains to 25 mph. Even this move was unsatisfactory and the line ceased operations. All was left to decay until 1911 when a new company was formed. The infrastructure was repaired and second hand coaches and locomotives were obtained. A passenger service continued until 1933 although goods train continued to run until wartime when the War Department took over the line. It continued to operate until 1960.

A particular feature of the line was its quaint passenger trains. The lorry pictured above is hauling a railcar body mounted on an old tram chassis. More popular were the two old Ford buses which ran back to back on railway wheels.

No comments:

Post a Comment