Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations in Suffolk | 8 – Wickham Market

The station was opened in 1859 by the East Suffolk railway, although this would be almost immediately amalgamated into the eastern counties railway the same year.  Eventually like all along the line it would become part of the Great Eastern railway in 1862.

A branch line to Framlingham carried freight and passengers from Wickham Market station, up until 1952 when it was closed to passenger traffic, and the line was fully closed in 1965. However the branch line platform can still be seen at the far end of the current platform towards Ipswich.

The station was quite popular right up until the late 1950’s, it even boasted a WH Smith bookstore.  A level crossing went over the tracks at the north end of the platform, but was replaced by road bridge in 1902, and the current bridge was erected in 2005.

The most important thing about the station however is that it not actually in Wickham Market, but in a small village called Campsea Ashe.  The reason for this placement was all due to the river Deben, which had a tendency to flood around the village.  Also the village was also on a gradient, so the decision was made to build it on this current site.

It does however take around 45 minutes to walk to Wickham Market from here. As there are no direct paths over the river.  A taxi will take 10 minutes.

The station building has had a chequered history.  Designed by Francis Thompson, it is very striking and quite large for a station of this size.

It had largely laid dormant since 2005, but in 2013 a charitable community benefits society was set up to regenerate the building.  Called “Station House Community Connection LTD” its aim was to refurbish the station and bring it back to life as a community hub.

After a lot of fundraising efforts and a lot of dedication, the fully refurbished building re-opened in 2017.  It shows off not only the buildings history, but combining it with a community function.  The very impressive canopy on the platform was re-instated, with a complete recasting of the colonnades, based on the original 1880 design.  This was carried out by Hargreaves foundry in Halifax.

Benches on the platform still contain the Great Eastern Railway insignia, and are also lovingly restored.  On the walls can be seen two plaques commemorating the regeneration of this fine building.

Entering the building you will see an electronic information board, as well as interactive screens telling you about the history of the station.  A small lending library is near the doors, and disabled lift is also here to get you up to the second floor meeting areas.

To the rear is a fantastic café, with both indoor and outdoor seating.  A good variety of drinks, cakes and sandwiches are on offer, and it is a very pleasant place to spend a while whist waiting for your train.

On the walls are pictures about the stations history, with a few dedicated to the refurbishment.  Various rooms are available for hire and the whole project is a testament to all involved.  It just goes to show what can be achieved if everyone pulls together.

The station building does not have a booking desk though, so buying a ticket must be done via the electronic machine on the platform.  Other facilities include information boards, timetables and a small bike rack on the platform.

At time of writing, one hourly passenger services (in each direction) are provided by Class 755 Bi-Mode units.

I really enjoyed this station, the staff were very helpful in telling me the history of the station, and the care and attention to detail is to be commended.  A good place to visit for a drink and snack and a must to see the platform with the excellent restored details in place.

A link to a Vlog I filmed in 2020 is here :

A link is here to the station building :

Station House Campsea Ashe for Community and Business

And also to a video showing the colonnades casting :

Casting the colonnades (stationhousecampseaashe.co.uk)

Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations in Suffolk | 9 – Darsham

Darsham was opened in 1859 by the East Suffolk Railway Company, which was soon taken over by the Great Eastern Railway.

It boasted several sidings in its time, and these remained until 1966 when they were closed due to lack of traffic.  It was also at this time that the station became unmanned, like most adopting the ‘Pay-Train’ system.

Luckily however the station building still stands today.  It is not however in use as a booking office, but is used by the Darsham Country centre, a subsidiary of the Woodcraft folk.  It is let out to groups, and has accommodation available. It is however great to see the building still being used, and hopefully this will continue for many years to come. 

Next to this is the only remaining level crossing on the A12 between London and Great Yarmouth.

Of interest on platform one is what seems to be either an original or at least early 20th century shelter.  It is quite a structure, and as the main station building great to see it still intact, and not demolished for a more modern design.

The station has help points, new electric information displays and an electronic ticketing machine. There are no booking office or toilet facilities.

A view here gives us a look at the line as it goes towards Lowestoft.

And here is the view of the line as it curves away in the direction of Ipswich.

Passenger entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 61, 534 .

Darsham, although not that well used, still retains a lot of the charm of a rural station.  Both the main station building and the shelter on platform one are in very good condition, and I do hope this remains the case as it gives this station a lot of character.  The sight lines are excellent for the enthusiast, however the noise from the A12 does impair sound for video recording, but if its photography you are after it’s a great setting.

Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations in Suffolk | 10 – Elmswell

A large village between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmonds, Elmswell is certainly deserving of a station with a rich history of manufacture.

The line was opened by the Ipswich and Bury railway company in 1846, serving the towns of Bury St Edmonds and Ipswich. A lavish station building on the Ipswich side was built and opened at the same time.

The station passed onto the newly formed Great Eastern Railway in 1862, who added a waiting room and toilets on the Bury St Edmonds side of the station.

In the early 1900’s, a line ran from the sidings to the west of the station to the Woolpit Brick Company, which famously produced white bricks. It used three steam locomotives. Other companies which used siding space during the 1900’s were a bacon factory, Beer & Sons and St Edmundsbury Co-op. Due to lack of traffic, the yard closed in 1964.

Elmswell became an unstaffed halt in 1967, and ‘Pay-Train’ working was to be introduced on the line. Unfortunately the main station buildings on the north platform were demolished in 1974 and the signal box succumbed to the same fate in 1986.

However, the buildings on the other platform remain. These still retain the Great Eastern Railway marking on the canopy steel works, and look to have been freshly painted when I visited in 2021.

The actual building is being let out as business space, and I was pleased to see them being used.

Behind these buildings is a very small car park, perhaps for only 3 or 4 cars. The level crossing has for some time been fully automatic. The rest of the station has small waiting shelters, help points, regional and local maps. There is even an amazon pick up point on platform one. Flower boxes enhance this little station, and it is clean and tidy throughout.

Passenger traffic at time of writing is provided by class 755 Bi-Mode Units. There is quite a lot of freight based traffic to and from Felixstowe also, mainly hauled by class 66 Locomotives.

Entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 71, 050.

Elmswell is a functional station, and even if the main station building has gone, the other smaller building complete with its nods back to the past helps keep the history alive

Below is the vlog I shot for this series, there is a link at the end to the playlist for the whole series, I hope you enjoy watching it.

2022 on Rainham Rail Enthusiast

Well, here we go again, let us hope for a better year out on the railway. Signs are that as we go through this year, more may be achievable.

I am hoping to continue with my along the railway line series on my YouTube channel, as well as importing ones I have already done to this Blog at some point. This will be a time consuming job, but it would be nice to have both a print and video version of these station looks. So what’s in store for 2022?


ALONG THE RAILWAY LINE SERIES

Regarding this series, the lines I am aiming to do are :

Medway Valley Line – looking at the stations which were not visited in the Least Used railway stations in Kent series.

Ashford to Ramsgate Line

Maidstone East Line

Doing those would almost complete the lesser used stations in Kent, the rest I will probably ‘mop up’ in 2023.


TOP TEN LEAST USED STATIONS IN…..

Another instalment in my Top Ten Least Used Station series will take me up north, to Merseyside!! Looking forward to really getting out of Kent, and seeing some Northern Stock.

Worth noting that I will still be using 2019 / 2020 ORR statistics for the passenger numbers. This is because they are the most recent accurate figures available. Because of the pandemic, later figures are very skewed, and so I will use these until the situation becomes (fairly) normal again.


OTHER SPECIALS

The most obvious railway line to visit will be (if it opens!!) the core section of the Elizabeth Line, from Abbey Wood to Paddington. I would love to be on the first train, but nevertheless I will showcase all the stations on this central core of the line.

These are the main points of the year, other surprises may pop up, you never know!! I am also trying very hard to keep this Blog site up to date, and hopefully push the YouTube channel up to that magical 1000, so that I can monetize and help fund my trips out and about.

So may I wish all that read and follow me both here and on YouTube a very Happy new year!! And If you are new to the blog and channel, please enjoy my content, and a happy new year to you too.

Just leaves me with my tagline:

If you can, get out there, get on the railway, and see where it takes you

Top Ten Least Used Stations In Kent : 3 – Beltring

Beltring was opened in 1909 by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway as Beltring and Banbridge halt. These small stations were put along the line mainly to serve small rural locations, which would only be served otherwise by local trams.

railway station

Station buildings on such halts did not exist, but they did provide waiting shelters on both platforms, and their modern equivalents are still provided today.

railway station

A small siding for local goods produced by farmers was placed behind the London bound platform, and existed right up until 1961 when the line was electrified. Where the siding once stood, a farm exists today.

sheep in fields

The only way to cross to either platform is by the road level crossing. Along the platforms, many posters can be seen and some detail the Kent Rail Partnership and walks which can be taken from this station.

level crossing
notice board railway

Being one of the most rural stations on this list, the nearest housing estate being 20 minutes away, Beltring is certainly a niche station. However, it does provide fantastic straight line views both up and down the line, allowing enthusiasts good photographic opportunities of both passenger and freight services which frequent the line. Just remember that as with the majority of these smaller stations, there are no toilet facilities.

uk train

Here is a video of Beltring, made as part of the “Least used stations in Kent” series I produced on my YouTube channel.

Many thanks for reading, and if this has interested you, please feel free to view other sections of my Blog, or even give my YouTube channel a visit. Thank You.

Top Ten Least Used Stations In Kent : 4 – Kemsing

Kemsing Railway Station

Opened in 1987, Kemsing has always been a small unassuming station. With only two brick built shelters, it lacked a proper station building, due mainly to the fact that the surrounding population was small.

The station certainly didn’t lack in goods facilities however, with a large six siding yard placed on the London bound side, one of which went through a good shed.

Kemsing Railway Station

Not much of note happened until 1939, when the concrete footbridge was erected, mainly out of necessity as the line was being electrified. The platforms were also extended at this time. By the end of the 1960’s, the goods yard was gone, and by the end of the 1980’s, the shelters were demolished. These were replaced by bus shelter type designs.

As well as all that, the footbridge has also been replaced, leaving only the railings as an original feature at the station.

Kemsing Railway Station

Statistics for Kemsing are as follows:

Opened : 1874

2 trains per hour each way at peak times, 1 train per hour each way off peak and weekends

Entry and exit figures for 2018/2019 were 22,476

It is mainly served at the time of writing by class 377 Electric Multiple Units, and freight is seen a little on the line also.

Kemsing Railway Station

With sparse platforms, Kemsing is a remote station backed with good views up and down the line. For the enthusiast, weekday freight trains are an added bonus.

Many thanks for reading this blog. If you want to view a Vlog about Kemsing, please click on the video link below, thankyou.

Top Ten Least Used Stations In Kent : 5 – Bekesbourne

Opened in 1861 by the London Chatham and Dover railway, Bekesbourne is to be found on the Dover branch of the Chatham mainline. The station building was located on the London bound platform, and was similar to that at Shepherds Well.

It had a goods shed located on the same side, albeit smaller than other locations along the line having only two lines. A footbridge was installed in 1911, and was the last notable addition to be seen here.

The goods yard was removed in 1961, and the small signal box suffered the same fate in 1964. Eventually all the buildings were demolished in 1970, the shelters being replaced with rectanguar ‘bus shelter’ types.

Currently the station is served by class 375 Electric Multiple Units. These serve the station with 2 trains per hour each way on the weekday peak, reducing to 1 train per hour off peak and at weekends.

Bekesbourne may have had its charm removed, indeed it is quite a bleak station, but for the enthusiast good views can be had down the line. It is however a mainly passenger service line, freight locomotives being only used during any engineering work.

If you wish to see more of Bekesbourne, my Vlog is below. This is part of a series documenting the top ten least used stations in Kent.

Many thanks for reading this Blog. Please visit my channel on YouTube, or drop by on my Instagram or Facebook pages, just search for rainham rail enthusiast. I shall write again soon, see you then.

Top Ten Least Used Stations In Kent : 6 – Dumpton Park

Opened in 1926, the station was opened to facilitate a reduction in lines between Ramsgate and Margate. The station was quite a lavish affair, identical to that at Broadstairs. The station platforms were reached by use of a covered walkway, which lead to a lift down to the platforms. The space for the lift can still be seen in this photograph:

In 1936, close to the station, the line down to Ramsgate harbour was re-opened. This was commonly known as the ‘Tunnel Railway’, and helped boost passenger numbers to Dumpton Park. However with its demise in 1965, the fate of Dumpton Park seemed to be sealed. I will cover the tunnel railway hopefully later this year (2021).

Once the Tunnel Railway closed, passenger numbers steadily dwindled at Dumpton Park. The station building was un-ceremonially demolished in the early 1970’s, and soon after the lift shaft and canopy roof over the bridge disappeared.

What is left today is a pretty sad mono-platform, only accessible by the steps off the footbridge. It does have an electronic ticket machine, posters and a help point, but all of the charm has gone. A housing estate now surrounds the entrance, which is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.

Towards Ramsgate

Towards Broadstairs

Stopping passenger traffic is (at time of writing) class 375 Electric Multiple Units. There are various through trains throughout the day (mainly Class 395 ‘Javelin’s’). Freight is mostly non existent, with some engineering trains mainly during the weekend, if work is going on in the area.

A video from my YouTube channel is below, if you wish to view.

Many thanks for reading. Please visit and subscribe to my sister Vlog channel on YouTube by searching for rainhamrailenthusiast.

Top Ten Least Used Stations In Kent : 7 – Adisham

Adisham was opened in 1861 by the London, Chatham and Dover railway. The station building was a virtual replica to that found at Sole Street, with an all over white paint finish. Situated on Dover “Down” side of the line, it still sports its original and unusual Chimney vents, as can be seen below.

There was a small shelter put onto the London bound side. A goods shed was put to the south of the main building on the “Down” side, a structure which still stands today (in the middle to the right in the picture below), although it is now used as business premises.

A signal box of grand design was put on the “Up” side around 1878. Being of a timber construction, it was higher than the main building, and was quite an unusual design. Unfortunately it was removed in the early 2000’s, a casualty of the re-signalling of all the line.

The station used to be quite busy, being on the line which served many of the Kent Collieries. But with the closure of these in the late 1980’s, passenger traffic has substantially declined, but it still regularly commands passenger entry and exit numbers of between 25 and 27 thousand per year.

Saying that, here are the figures for Adisham. The station at time of writing gets 2 trains per hour in peak hours, and 1 train per hour off peak and at weekends. Freight or engineering trains are rarely seen. According to the ORR figures of 2018/2019 it had 27,600 exit and entry’s. Stopping services are provided by class 375 Electric Multiple Units.

A video about Adisham can be found on my YouTube channel, which you can view by clicking on the link below :

Many thanks for reading. Please visit and subscribe to my sister Vlog channel on YouTube by searching for rainhamrailenthusiast.

Top Ten Least Used Stations In Kent : 8 – East Farleigh

The station is situated on the Medway Valley Line, and was opened in 1844, with the current layout of two staggerd platforms, separated by a level crossing.

The goods shed once stood on the Maidstone “up” side of the station, opposite the Paddock Wood “down” side platform. The current car park being where this brick built shed once stood.

Access to both platforms can be made via the original South Eastern railway footbridge, which is still here and can be seen above.

A station building was opened on the Paddock Wood side in 1846, it being the first timber building built by the South Eastern Railway. The signal box arrived in 1892 next to the station building, and both at time of writing are still here.

Traffic on the line is both passenger and freight, the passenger traffic being formed of 3 car class 375 electric multiple units (at time of writing).

If you exit the station and go a short way down the hill, you will come to a bridge across the river Medway. Constructed around the 14th century, it is grade one listed and well worth a look.

The station at time of writing gets 2 trains per hour in the peak, and 1 train per hour off peak and at weekends. Freight is seen quite often, mainly on weekdays however. According to the ORR figures of 2018/2019 it had 35,742 exit and entry’s.

A video of this station is on my YouTube Channel, and is below if you wish to view.

Many thanks for reading. Please visit and subscribe to my sister Vlog channel on YouTube by searching for rainhamrailenthusiast.