There are 2563 mainline railway stations in Great Britain, and a couple of people are on a mission to visit all of them this year.
All The Stations is a project by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe. They’re spending three months travelling by train to every single railway station, and documenting it with a series of YouTube videos. Funding was as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, and enough money was raised to have a team of people professionally edit and upload the videos. They’re aiming to post four videos a week during the project, plus some Instagram stories, and some live events on Facebook and Periscope.
As of yesterday, Geoff and Vicki have made it to 1,594 stations, and are closing in on being two-thirds complete. They started in Cornwall, made their way back to London, and then worked through east and then west Midlands before completing Wales.
The rules are that they must be on a train that calls at every station, but not necessarily get off. Having to get on or off at each station would probably extend the project significantly, especially on rural lines with limited service. This is different to how Scott covered Northern’s network, where he did get on or off at every station.
Since I wrote about Scott’s project three years ago, he has completed the Northern network map (having also completed Merseyrail), and so he is now getting his teeth into Manchester Metrolink.
Some stations that Geoff and Vicki need to get to have a very restricted service. They made headlines when visiting Shippea Hill, which is a remote rural station in Cambridgeshire and is served by two trains per day, on request. Last year, only 12 people bought tickets to/from Shippea Hill; Geoff and Vicki arranged to travel with 19 people on one day.
Others, like Teesside Airport and Denton, have one train a week – this hasn’t changed since I wrote about it in 2009. And some, like the station platform at Old Trafford football stadium, are only open for special events like football matches. That one required a special, out of sequence trip to Manchester.
The project is supported by the Rail Delivery Group, an umbrella body of train operators and Network Rail, and the footage will be donated to the National Railway Museum. It’s hoped that the videos will provide a snapshot of the current state of the UK railway network, which has already experienced a lot of changes in the 20 years since British Rail was privatised. And more change is to come – over 5000 new carriages are on order, to be delivered before the end of 2020, and work will soon begin on building Britain’s second dedicated high speed railway line, HS2.
There’s still several more weeks to go, as Geoff and Vicki make their way through Northern England and up into Scotland. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of their videos.