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An eccentric look at lost Britain through its railway request stops. Perhaps the oddest quirk of Britain’s railway network is also one of its least well known: around 150 of the nation’s stations are request stops. Take an unassuming station like Shippea Hill in Cambridgeshire – the scene of a fatal accident involving thousands of carrots. Or Talsarnau in Wales, which experienced a tsunami. Tiny Stations is the story of the author’s journey from the far west of Cornwall to the far north of Scotland, visiting around 40 of the most interesting of these little used and ill-regarded stations. Often a pen-stroke away from closure – kept alive by political expediency, labyrinthine bureaucracy or sheer whimsy – these half-abandoned stops afford a fascinating glimpse of a Britain that has all but disappeared from view.There are stations built to serve once thriving industries – copper mines, smelting works, cotton mills, and china clay quarries where the first trains were pulled by horses; stations erected for the sole convenience of stately home and castle owners through whose land the new iron road cut an unwelcome swathe; stations created for Victorian day-tripping attractions; a station built for a cavalry barracks whose last horse has long since bolted; and many more.
Dixe Wills will leave you in no doubt that there’s more to tiny stations than you might think.
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