Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fame again for Shippea Hill


Last January I wrote (here) at possibly excessive length about my membership of that select club of 22 people who, in 2014-15, had  found (or concocted) a reason to use Shippea Hill station in Cambridgeshire.   So select was this club that, in the annual statistics of passenger usage at British railway stations that year, Shippea Hill came lowest.

Now the station is in the news again:  according to this year's statistics it has retained its position of honour, having attracted a total of twelve passengers.  It might seem natural to ask why so few people should use it, but, when it comes to Shippea Hill, as I explained last year, the question is really why the figure is as high as twenty-two or even twelve!  For Shippea Hill is notable for having purported to serve, since 1845, a blank, unpopulated fen and a patch of land which qualifies as a hill only by lying not quite below sea level.  As for the trains, there is a single service per week-day, in one direction only: it calls on request only and is unsupplemented and uncomplemented by any bus or even a practical service at the next station, Lakenheath.  There is no pub, shop or phone box; there is only the unchecked wind, the uncompromising Fenland horizon and the small bluish vessel of Ely Cathedral, eight miles away.

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