Forums » Station improvements

Every Station has a Story

    • 8 posts
    October 8, 2015 9:23 AM BST

    Over the years I have found almost every railway station has a story or historical event attached to it.

    If your station has a story why not put it on here, there is nothing like some heritage to generate interest like the recent story about Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first meeting on Dartford Station (Allegedly). There was also a second Clapham Junction in the country and nowhere near the one in Battersea. Did any of the royals come to your station ?  

    Here is my own station story though not from this country.

    In 1944 my father was a PoW on a farm to the south of Dresden. As he spoke some German he was often sent with a guard to Freital station to collect Red Cross Parcels for the camp. One day he was left alone for a few minutes whilst the guard went off to the toilet. He was approached from behind by a well dressed man who spoke to him in perfect English telling not to look round but to put his hands behind his back. My father felt a cardboard box being given to him, the man wished him 'Good Luck' and  walked quickly away. The cardboard box was a packet of English Cigarettes . . ....   My father never did discover who he was and why he was there in deepest Nazi Germany, but the devastating air raid on Dresden did take place shortly afterwards . . . . . . .

    • 22 posts
    October 8, 2015 3:31 PM BST

    Hello, Martin, what an interesting story!  Sadly here in Mytholmroyd our station building has been closed now since the mid1980's. It was a very busy station up until then - with freight trains - famous all over the country for its day-old chicks from Thornbers, there was even a special chicken-sexer from Japan. The old goods yard is now destined to be a 100 space carpark allegedly starting in March 2016. We have recently been given/loaned a video from 1991 showing the buildings being dismantled. Some H&S methods shown in the film will make your hair curl.It is a fantastic video

    This post was edited by sue mitchell at November 2, 2015 10:15 AM GMT
    • 17 posts
    October 30, 2015 2:07 PM GMT

    On the Wherry Lines we have Englands smallest National Rail station, it has no road access, no houses, no population and the only building you can see is Norfolk's tallest windmill at Berney Arms. The station has a facinating history dating back to 1844 when the Norwich and Yarmouth Railway was being built. The railway needed to cross some rough boggy pasture belonging to one Thomas Tench Berney. Now the railway company were well aware of the local itinerant farmers and usually offered a pitance compensation for their bit of land over which the railway made it's way. However, Mr Berney was unusually well read and well informed and offered his stretch of land to the railway company at a huge cost - the railway refused and so an impasse occurred. The railway was being delayed by one 'rural bumpkin' was reported to the shareholders of the railway who promptly intructed the railway to come to terms with Mr Berney and proceed with construction of the line asap! The terms...Mr Berney gets his own station, a new house and out buildings receives an annual rent (his land was never sold to the railway company) and all trains are to stop at the station on his request! With the money from the railway Thomas bought his own coat of Arms which can still be see on the worn and battered pub of the same name on the nearby river bank.

    To this day Berney Arms station is unique, a pile of ash and clincker in the middle of one large bog in the Fens, boasting 4 trains each day and in the summer six on Sundays which still all call on request.   

    This post was edited by Ian Dinmore at October 31, 2015 12:11 AM GMT
    • 22 posts
    October 30, 2015 2:37 PM GMT

    Hello, Ian,

    What a wonderful story - and what a canny Norfolk farmer! He could even pass for a Yorkshireman.. He must have been an absolute thorn in the flesh to the railway. A proper entrepreneur, I can see all those Victorian businessmen jumping up and down with frustration! Thank you - made my day.


    • 20 posts
    November 1, 2015 8:50 PM GMT

    Even for those of us a long way from Norfolk, the story of Berney Arms - with 1,500 passenger journeys per year, is something of a lesson in what can be done to generate trafic at the seemingly least likely of locations.  Interesting question as to how traffic can be generated at even quieter stations (the ORR lists 9 with under 100 ticketed journeys per year)

    • 17 posts
    November 1, 2015 9:53 PM GMT

    [blockquote]Graham Ellis said:

    Even for those of us a long way from Norfolk, the story of Berney Arms - with 1,500 passenger journeys per year, is something of a lesson in what can be done to generate trafic at the seemingly least likely of locations.  Interesting question as to how traffic can be generated at even quieter stations (the ORR lists 9 with under 100 ticketed journeys per year)


    I think you really must find a reason for customers to go. the isolation of this location in winter is itself an attraction. Good footpaths, an RSBP sanctuary and the pub (when open) plus the tallest windmill in Norfolk! It may be in the middle of Nowhere but there are reason's for going :o

    • 22 posts
    November 2, 2015 10:12 AM GMT

    Thanks, Graham, those are also very good reasons to visit Berney Arms, as well as being intrigued by the intransigent farmer's tale. 

    Another place of interest to us is Dovey Junction in Wales - why there? Apart from providing the junctions between different lines is there a story behind this desolate placement? Another example of Victorian entrepreneurs hustling for business back in the 1850s?

    • 1 posts
    November 2, 2015 11:23 AM GMT

    A friend and I out winter walking a couple of years ago can claim to be two of a select few who have boarded a train at Dovey Junction - the train conductor was mildly surprised, we were told we were the first to board his train there for a week . . . but someone had alighted there the day before (-:

    • 20 posts
    November 2, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

    Ah - then I can claim personally to be one of a "select few" too, Peter.  Used (as I recall) as a railhead for Dyfi Furnace, promoted at {link} as "40 minutes walk from Dovey Junction".


    The Cambrian Coast line has been wonderful for me over the years - I've left and joined trains at so many of the little stations when out walking; the Penheligs and Tygwyns of this world, Morfa Morddach and Llanaber.  Such a shame to have lost the likes of Abertafol, Gogarth and Black Rock.   It shows what diversity we have in Community Rail and indeed in passenger flows we serve ... and makes our Wiltshire line with commuter-time overcrowding fell almost urban!



    • 17 posts
    January 16, 2016 7:54 PM GMT

    An update on Berney Arms, to increase the patronage over last year I've had a chat to the BBC (Bristol); and they will be visiting the BA marshes to do a short item for Countryfile at the end of this month. They will try to include the station and Wherry Lines but as they emphasise it is mainly the marshy agriculture and RSPB site they're interested in... I think this maybe a hard sell -update after the visit.  The pub has closed again and no one including Shane (the owner) knows if it will open again, as the overheads are way out of proportion to the business receipts :(


    • 22 posts
    January 17, 2016 11:47 AM GMT

    Thanks for the up-date, Ian - will remember to watch Country File, and well done for getting that far!

    Sympathys regarding closure of the pub - here in Mytholmroyd our pub was overwhelmed by the floods on Boxing Day - Lisa and Owen, new managers of the pub, had celebrated 12 months of their tenancy on Christmas Day only to be followed by 6foot of water bursting through the building the very next day!

    The pub over the last ten years, has a history of being very supportive of our efforts to restore and enhance the station embankments through community involvement. Previous publicans, John and Lyn Hartley led the way -  Owen and Lisa have continued in the same vein!

    Thanks to all - and we're waiting anxiously for that first pint - not just of water I might add!