What is a request stop train station?
Many passengers might not even realise they’ve missed these stations. Very few people get on or off, and you have to flag down the train like a bus if you wish to get on. Some of these stops feel like they’re stuck in a different time.
Flag down a train with our pick of Britain’s best request stop railway stations
Lelant railway station, Cornwall
Lelant station (not to be confused with Lelant Saltings) overlooks the beautiful Hayle estuary and Carnsew pool in Cornwall. The station was opened in June 1877, but no goods sidings were built at the station, so it was probably intended to be a smaller station right from the start. There is just a single platform with no permanent staff, and the original station building has been converted to private accommodation.
Dunrobin Castle, Inverness
Dunrobin Castle railway station was originally a private station for the castle and its occupier, the Duke of Sutherland. It is still used by the Sutherland family, but it is open to anyone that requests to get off the train. A lovely black and white cottage greets those that do. The station is on the Far North Line in Scotland, and it is usually described as a summer station seeing as it is only open from April Fool’s Day until 15 October.
Nowadays, the town of Conwy is a World Heritage Site, but it’s probably lucky it wasn’t a couple of centuries ago. The large arch, part of the castle wall, was only adapted when Robert Stephenson crashed his train through the wall. The railway is laid adjacent to the castle, making for quite a sight. Conwy station was closed as part of Dr Beeching’s infamous cuts, but was reopened in 1987 as a request stop.
Duncraig Castle, West Highlands
Another private railway stations, Duncraig is near to the shore of Loch Carron on the Kyle of Lochalsh Line, and features an octagonal waiting room, the likes of which you’d struggle to find anywhere else in the country. The station was closed in December 1964, but reopened eleven years later because local train drivers refused to acknowledge that it was no longer a station.
Thornford station serves the small village of the same name, located near Sherborne, Dorset. It provides an almost completely exposed view of blanket fields and rolling hills, and it was opened in March 1936. Thornford is one of three request stops in a row on the Heart of Wessex Line; the other ones being Yetminster and Chetnole.
Newton Dale Halt, North Yorkshire Moors
Newton Dale Halt station sits in the middle of the North Yorkshire Moors, so unsurprisingly it’s a hit with walkers. There are a number of walks leading to and from the station, varying in difficulty and length. The halt was opened in 1981, and the nearest main road is a significant distance away. That’s another reason why it’s used by walkers, then.
Like many request stops, there’s no station building at Llandecwyn , just a small shelter against the elements. And with the platform facing the estuary of the Afon Dwyryd, it’s probably likely that it can get a bit bleak when the wind is facing the wrong direction. In the mid-1990s, the station was a scheduled stop on just two northbound and three southbound services.
Sugar Loaf, Monmouthshire
Large train stations welcome a vast number of commuters through their entrances; many see thousands of visitors a month. Sugar Loaf station tends to serve a grand total of… 5 passengers a month. Watch for queues. It’s the least requested stop on the Heart of Wales line, in which 17 of the 32 stations are request stops. With no immediate vehicular access, the station is only used to get to the Sugar Loaf viewpoint (no, not the one you might have heard of, a smaller one), and there are the foundations of the four cottages it used to serve.
Berney Arms, Norfolk Broads
Sugar Loaf has competition for one of the remotest stations in the country. The road network is sparse around Berney Arms station, in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. The nearest is 3 miles away, and there are no houses visible. Berney Arms is Britain’s smallest station, with a platform of just one carriage length. It was built in the middle of marshland, and serves only walkers and a pub of the same name a short walk away.
Penhelig station is located on a short length of track between two tunnels, on quite a tight corner. Many images seem to include some patches of grass in the middle of the track, hinting at how regularly (or not) it’s used. It’s near the seaside village of Aberdyfi, and serves its eastern fringes.