diamond geezer

 Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photographic interlude: Berney Arms station



It's the remotest station in Norfolk, quite possibly in the whole of England. It's in the middle of a broadland fen, accessible only via footpath. It's a couple of miles from the nearest public road. It's named after a nearby pub that you can't reach by road either. Hardly any trains stop there, except on summer Sundays. Its single platform isn't even as long as a carriage, let alone a whole train. It's used by less than two thousand passengers a year. It's Berney Arms, and yesterday I was one of the station's handful of visitors.

You have to pick your train carefully. A couple of departures from Norwich in the morning, and a couple from Great Yarmouth in the afternoon. Most other trains between the two termini take the direct route, but these four journeys divert south via Reedham, including a long run across the marshes. Nobody lives here, nobody at all, so it's incredible that this railway line has survived into the 21st century unchopped. It's only here in the first place because the original landowner insisted that a station be built in return for selling the necessary thin strip of land. He was Thomas Berney, the nearby pub is named after him, and so the station that serves nowhere is named Berney Arms.

You have to warn the driver that you want to get off, otherwise they won't stop. Travelling west that means popping up to the cab window on the platform at Great Yarmouth, while travelling east there's a longer run-up so the guard can warn the driver on your behalf. She seemed surprised, but not overly so, that our family party wanted to alight at the request stop in a field. Maybe we look like the sort of eccentrics who'd get off five miles before the seaside so that we could walk there instead. As the train rumbled ever closer to our destination, she called over the train intercom for passengers for Berney Arms to move to the very rear of the train. We wandered back past scores of holidaymakers and daytrippers, to join the other rambling party by the rear doors. But no, we weren't going out that way, because these modern trains can't cope with selective door opening for half a carriage only. Instead we were led out via the rear driver's cab, stepping carefully across the gap to the stunted platform alongside. There were even four folk waiting to climb aboard, and they entered the train via the same unusual route. Rush hour at Berney Arms, mind the gap. [photo]



As the train slowly disappeared along the arrow-straight track, we were left to stand on a most unusual platform [photo]. One modern station name sign and one old, the latter reminiscent of an era when a steam train might have pulled alongside [photo]. One tiny wooden shelter, of a size to protect only two waiting passengers from driving rain, containing a map of the local area (mostly empty) and a telephone number to call 'to advertise here'. One help point, consisting of a button and loudspeaker on a stick, plugged in goodness knows where. A cycle rack, with space for only two bikes, although goodness knows who'd be able to ride out this far to use it. And a ramp down to ground level, leading to a crossing point over the track and a short path down to the station 'entrance' [photo]. It's this ramp and flat path which allow Berney Arms to be described as a "step free station", although this accessibility triumph is somewhat hollow as no wheelchair users could negotiate the stiles and kissing gates required to make a getaway.

The next train wasn't due for another 3¼hrs, so we had the choice of holing up in the nearby pub for several pints or walking our way back to civilisation. Civilisation was just about visible on the horizon, across miles of flat marshland, in the form of miniature rooftops and tiny traffic on the distant A47. But closer at hand the only other visible lifeforms were grazing cattle, spread out in herds across a patchwork of squelchy grass and drainage channels. Nobody ever comes here by accident. Indeed, just five minutes after the train had departed, it was easy to imagine that nobody ever comes here at all.

Berney Arms - the website
Berney Arms - the Wherry Lines train timetable
Berney Arms - the newspaper article
Berney Arms - the walk I'll tell you all about tomorrow


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Great British Carnival
Sunday 27 July (noon-9.30pm)
Halfway between London 2012
and Rio 2016, a carnival in
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
tired of london
thelondonphile
in the aquarium
christopher fowler
thamesfacingeast
one bus at a time
london daily photo
london reconnections
uk general election 2015

read the archive
Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv