Ghost trains?

15 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    On the train the other day I went through Polesworth station north of Nuneaton – looked pretty derelict – glance at the timetable revealed it only had one train per day.

    The fact that it seems to serve a place of some reasonable size, plus is immediatly close to an M-way and Jct that could lend itself to a ‘parkway’ style station to get cars off the road is of no interest to UK transport planners.

    Amusing that they stopped southbound traffic when they had to demolish the footbridge and did not wish to pay for a replacement – so if you get off – you have to wait 24 hours for the next train and can only carry on in the same direction!

  2. Tim says:

    ….and when you do the trip from Stockport via Reddish South to Stalybridge, I trust you’ll allow sufficient time to kick your heels whilst waiting for the Station Buffet to open.

  3. Ian Marchant says:

    Thank you for this Tim; really useful. We’re hoping to catch the Wandsworth Road/Ealing Broadway bus this time next month…

  4. Tim says:


    Another term for Ghost Trains is Parliamentary Trains, and I’ve borrowed this from Wikipedia:

    “Some modern examples of lines served only by a Parliamentary train include:

    The Chester to Runcorn (Main Line) route has one service per week on Saturday mornings, (summer only) using the uni-directional Halton Curve.[5]
    The Ellesmere Port to Warrington Line.[1]
    The Stockport to Stalybridge Line where just one train per week runs in one direction.[1]
    The Cleethorpes to Sheffield Section of the Sheffield to Lincoln Line where three trains per week run, all of them on Saturdays.[1]
    It is interesting to note that one of the stations on this line, Gainsborough Central, posted in 2006 lower passenger figures than Watford West – a station that is actually closed.[6]
    Lancaster to Windermere, via Morecambe.[1]
    The Crewe to Derby Line is franchised to go to Nottingham. However the only train to Nottingham is the last train on Sundays. Trains usually terminate at Derby.
    Alternatively, an individual station may get a parliamentary service, because the operating company wishes them closed, but the line itself is still in regular use (i.e. most trains speed straight through). Example of such stations are:

    Tees-side Airport in Teeside.
    Coombe Junction Halt in Cornwall.
    Pilning in South Gloucestershire, near Bristol.[7]
    Barry Links and Golf Street both in Carnoustie, Scotland.
    Manea in Cambridgeshire (between Ely and March on the Ely to Peterborough Line).
    Shippea Hill in Cambridgeshire and Lakenheath in Suffolk (both between Ely and Brandon on the Breckland Line to Norwich).
    Bordesley, one train a week (on Saturday), except when Birmingham City Football Club are playing at home, in which case certain trains stop to coincide with the matches.
    In an interesting example, British Rail was forced to serve Smethwick West in the West Midlands for an extra 12 months in the mid-1990s after a legal blunder meant that the station had not been closed properly. This meant that one train per week each way still called at Smethwick West, even though it was only a few hundred yards down the line from its replacement Smethwick Galton Bridge.[8]

    A variant of the parliamentary train service is the ‘permanent’ replacement bus service, as employed on the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway. This railway line in Hertfordshire was ‘closed’ in 1996, but to avoid the legal complications and costs of actual closure train services were ‘suspended’ and a bus service now runs between the stations, thus maintaining the legal fiction of an open railway.[9] The track and station structures are still intact, but are now heavily overgrown and damaged by lack of maintenance. The ‘rail’ service still appears on the national rail ticket scheme and on the National Rail online timetables, with an accompanying note informing passengers of the replacement bus. The Croxley Rail Link plan would see this parliamentary service replaced with a full rail service.”

    Not listed here is the link between Wandsworth Road and Ealing Broadway, which lost a rail service when Cross Country Trains stopped running through to Brighton. They never stopped at eaither of these stations, but the relevant legislation relates to services along the line, so first of all a weekly bus (unadvertised) but now, I believe, a weekly rail service runs.

    There are many other examples of services that do run daily, but very infrequently such as the direct Sheffield-York stopping service via Ulleskelf with just 2 services each way per day

  5. Tom Read says:

    Berney Arms in Norfolk receives only a handful of trains a week and has claims to being England’s most remote station. It only exists due to a legal quirk and the hassle of overcoming this.

    In a similar area Shippea Hill near Ely receives only one train a week (at something like 6.30am on a Saturday), whilst Manea Station (also near Ely) gets only a handful more. Any of these would be well worth a visit if you like that kind of thing!

  6. Ian Marchant says:

    Thank you for this!

  7. biancawinter says:

    Slight tangent, but a possible source of a ghost station or two: I recently watched Michael Portillo using an antiquarian Bradshaw to explore old favoured routes on the railways. He travelled from Buxton to St. Pancras, and being so inspired by his journey, I resolved to travel the first part myself (Buxton to Matlock). Much googling, however, has failed to reveal the exact route that Mr Portillo followed. How annoying. The only thing that comes close is the High Peak railway, that goes from Rowsley South to Matlock Riverside a few times a week (on a Sunday you can go for a cream tea jaunt). It’s such a lovely part of the country that it could be worth a little trip anyway 🙂

  8. Graham says:

    Ian. I bow to your superior knowledge. I paint with a very broad brush. The details tend to escape me. I sometimes sit on the pan & forget why I went into the lav in the first place. Syrah.

  9. Ian Marchant says:

    No my friend, no. Newhaven Marine different from Newhaven Harbour. And Bongville is the abandoned station at Tidemills. (Apologies to non-Newhaven readers)

  10. Ian Marchant says:

    Newhaven Marine is one of the great ghost stations, of course.

  11. Graham says:

    True, quite true. Newhaven Harbour as was. And I just remembered, Southease has ‘BONGVILLE’ as its Graffiti. The footbridge overlooking the Poo Farm on the path from Railway Road to Eastside and Tidemills is where it says STOP THE WAR. So many iconisc landmarks, so much natural beauty, so easy to get confused and lose your bearings. Bishopstone’s another lovely local station that wouldn’t be easy to confuse with somewhere that’s home to a seething mass of humanity. See yer mate.

  12. Graham says:

    Ah, trains. You know the local services around here Ian. It’s not entirely relevant to your request or maybe it is, but reading this reminded me of Southease Halt on the way to Lewes. But it isn’t really a halt on most services, is it? It’s more of a reluctant slight slowing down to acknowledge the fact that there’s a platform beside the line, where maybe once a month some confused rustic will attempt to stumble out and across the fields to the killing grounds.
    And I do believe that the hand painted ‘STOP THE WAR’ slogan is still there on the concrete. Yes, it’s about time Nixon got the boys out of the ‘Nam, don’t you think? Happy travels.

  13. Ian Marchant says:

    I want to go to Bordesley Green; and Pilning, in Bristol, which also only has one train a week.

  14. Martin says:

    I had not heard of this term before, but a quick surf revealed a ghost station not far from me; Bordesley Green in Birmingham. Only one train a week, except when Birmingham City play at home and other trains stop for the fans. Compare this to Coventry City’s stadium where there should be a station but there isn’t, despite it being built right next to the railway line. When planning permission was granted for the stadium, part of the proposal was for provision of a railway station. Once permission was granted and building started it was ‘discovered’ that it was going to be too expensive to build the station, despite the fact that changes to the road infastructure and car parking provision for the stadium were based on having the rail link.
    I guess this is getting off the topic, so apologies for my rant. Good luck with the project, I look forward to hearing more about it.

  15. Charlie says:

    I seem to remember Hatton was very quiet (inbetween Solihull and Warwick) – fairly near an old asylum. Or did you visit that one for Parallel Lines?

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