Railway Travel And Train Stations In The UK

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I prefer travelling by train to buses and coaches in Britain because apart from being a quicker journey I find it relaxing once I’m settled on a train. I can read, play games on my Kindle, doze if it’s a long journey or people watch. No bumps in the road and no sharp corners that almost throw you off your feet.

There are many different size train stations in the UK. The largest and busiest with 22 platforms is Waterloo station in London. The smallest according to Wikepedia is Beauly in the Scottish Highlands with 1 short platform. At 1150 feet above sea level the highest railway station in the UK is Dent Station on the Carlysle to Settle line. I’ve caught a train there and the views were absolutely amazing even for a cold rainy November day. On the right of the below photo is a small shelter for waiting and on the left is the old station house which has now I believe been converted to a guesthouse.

Dent station

Dent Railway Station Photo from By RuthASOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

On Saturday November 5th I used 3 different railway stations on my West Yorkshire journey with Northern Rail from Keighley to Fitzwilliam via Leeds. Prime examples of the variance of railway stations.

Keighley railway station has 3 platforms, one with trains going in the direction of Leeds. Opposite that is platform 2 with trains travelling in the direction of Carlysle. The third platform is for the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway a heritage line for old steam trains going to and from Haworth and Oxenhope.

Although the whole of Keighley train station which was built in 1883 has character the steam train platform has added character with an old red telephone box on the quite pretty platform. There used to be lots of those phone boxes around but you don’t see them often as nowadays.

Keighley railway station

Keighley Railway Station

Keighley station has a small newsagents kiosk which isn’t always open, 2 ticket seller windows and a machine that sells tickets or prints out tickets that you can buy online. Close to the town centre there are plenty of places for refreshments and a cafe on the steam train platform. There are waiting rooms and seats on each platform so you can wait in relative comfort.

The Leeds train stops at 3 stations during the 20 minute journey to Leeds. All of which are smaller than the one that I’ve set out from. My mid afternoon train was unusually almost empty which meant that I could take my pick of the seats and I could keep my case with me instead of lifting it up to the overhead rack. A conductor comes round selling and checking tickets and like all of the other conductors that I’ve met was personable and polite.

Leeds railway station is enormous in comparison to the ones that I’ve passed through. With 17 platforms and all of them split into a, b and c it’s the 13th largest railway station in the UK. Leeds train station has quite a few shops, cafes and fast food joints – the normal suspects, Boots Chemist, WH Smith, Subways, McDonalds, Burger King, Costa coffee etc. The station also has a small Sainsbury’s supermarket which I fnd very useful when I’m on my way home late Sunday afternoon when the supermarkets are shut in Keighley.

 

Leeds Railway staton

Leeds City Railway Station By Tejvan Pettinger – https://www.flickr.com/photos/tejvan/11309773625/, CC BY 2.0, Link

I don’t have long to wait for my connection to Fitzwilliam, but if I have to wait longer for a connection or for a while to be picked up I might sit in one of the 2 bars to be found at the station. It was very busy on Saturday, but I don’t recall Leeds station being anything but.

The last stage of my journey was from Leeds to Fitzwilliam which is on the Doncaster route. That train was very busy in comparison to the Leeds train but I still found somewhere to sit in comfort. 30 minutes later I arrived at Fitzwilliam railway station on one of the 2 platforms. Both platforms have a small shelter and not much else.

Fitzwilliam train station

Fitzwilliam Railway Station By Ian Kirk (Zath Ras) – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link

You can see from the photo that the embankments at either side are sloped and covered with trees and bushes. I don’t normally like to arrive or leave from there when it’s dusk or dark, that station can be quite and lonely. It’s not much better when you go up to the road, there isn’t a taxi rank as you would get with a bigger station and there are no houses to make you feel safer waiting, just a training centre opposite.

That was my Saturday train trip. It only took 1 hour 13 minutes altogether, and during that time I was able to take advantage of the free wifi available to update my blog. I’ve travelled to a lot of places in the UK over the years and despite some people moaning about the services I think that they are great.

One journey was to and from York for a weekend stayover. I was meeting a disabled friend who was travelling on her own from Liverpool. The guards helped her by being ready with ramps and making her comfortable for the journey. Excellent service.

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