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Trains making unadvertised/off-station stops

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On an old thread I read something about trains sometimes making unadvertised stops on request, in locations where there were no stations.
Don't know if this counts, but up until the 80's I heard that some Kyle line trains would stop on request anywhere west of Dingwall, but looking at the old working timetables from the 70's and 80's it had a note underneath timetable which said "On Saturday Train sets down Crossing Gates Operaters Wife at Dingwall no.2 level crossing". It also had other other calling points which weren't stations. Passengers in the know could also alight at Clunes up until the 80's, as there was a signal man, and some trains had to stop to obtain tokens before RETB.
I can't imagine that this still happens but was this a common practice? I've heard stories of unscheduled stops for crofters children, shooting parties, estate workers etc in various places in the Highlands, but they're mostly anecdotal and there's little in the way of evidence I can find. Most of the accounts are from the 60s at the latest too.
 
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Class800

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I have an account from a friend's father - it was also from the 1960s into early 1970s. In the North Nottinghamshire (Bassetlaw) area - it was I believe a semi-official pick up point that was always served if people were there. I don't know exactly which line it would be on, and I think the line in question no longer exists - but it was in the Carlton-in-Lindrick area - and they got off to go to the cricket at Headingley - not sure if they used Leeds station, Headingley station, or somewhere else.
 

SeanG

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This image cropped up recently on Facebook - look at the Note for train 1982 at the bottom...
 

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30907

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Stops away from stations - for passengers or even water supplies - weren't that uncommon in rural areas and were shown in working timetables. However I am sure the stop to set down I experienced on the Alston branch one afternoon in the 70s wasn't timetabled!
 

Mcr Warrior

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Was once on a late running (75 mins +) WCML service from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston which got authorisation to make an unscheduled call at Wembley Central to allow numerous passengers (attending a sporting event at Wembley Stadium) to alight.

They would otherwise all have missed the kick off had the service non-stopped to Euston.

Undoubtedly a good call as it would have avoided a raft of complaints and delayed journey claims.
 

steamybrian

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Do you also include stops at stations and platforms for railway staff only. Here in the South East there have been several- Hoo Junction, Shakespeare Cliff, as well as former stations at St Leonards West Marina, Folkestone East and Hothfield for which (parts of) the platforms remained for many years as required for staff . There is the specially built short platform for Durnsford Road, (Wimbledon).
 

Bletchleyite

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Was once on a late running (75 mins +) WCML service from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston which got authorisation to make an unscheduled call at Wembley Central to allow numerous passengers (attending a sporting event at Wembley Stadium) to alight.

When I was commuting to London some time ago I was headed to Bletchley via an MKC doubleback (I tended to get an MKC season so that was legit) due to disruption, I suspect on the then 1813 off Euston, though heavily delayed. It stopped unannounced at Bletchley and the doors were released, so I got off and saved 20 minutes or so :) I believe the stop was for crew relief due to the delay, and it wasn't advertised or on the PIS - I'm not quite sure why the doors were released, possibly the outgoing guard just did it without thinking, but it was useful :)

Of course "back in the day" of no central locking you had the old adage of "Sir, this train doesn't stop here"/"It's OK, I didn't just get on" :) Drivers I believe made considerable effort to coast very slowly up to red signals to avoid an actual stop.
 

Shimbleshanks

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Back in the 1970s or 1980s I recall a footnote appeariing in the public timetable for the Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth line detailing a list of places where the train would stop (I think mostly passing loops at closed stations). It was only there for one year, I recall.
CL
 

ChiefPlanner

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The Gatwick Express (when it was a proper express) used to occasionally call at Selhurst for train crew "set downs" , until the day the General Manager of the Southern happened to be on board...
 

RT4038

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An overseas example, from Timetable no. 162 of the South African Railways dated 7th December 1964, on train no. 189 8.30pm Johannesburg to Durban and train no. 34 11.20am Durban to Mooiriver:

'Stops on request at level crossing opposite Fernhill Farm Hotel (near Tweedie)'
 

LowLevel

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You can still do it now if you have good reason or ask control nicely. I once picked up a military man at Ely on Sunday night heading home to Stamford on leave on the last Norwich - Nottingham. He had come from Bury St Edmunds way and misread the endless engineering work on the Anglia route and arrived in Ely too late for the last train to Stamford. He was going to go to Peterborough and pay for a taxi to take him home.

As it happened my train was diverted via Stamford and Loughborough to Nottingham non stop due to ECML works so I called control and they were quite happy to give us permission to make a quick stop to drop him off - he was over the moon.

Done the same on an evening peak train out of Manchester heading east - had a commuter call at Chinley then RA Dore. No screens in those days and a chap with a bike got on. Went to do his ticket and he wanted Bamford. 2 hourly stopping service at the time and we were booked to cross in Totley Tunnel, he would have been 3 hours late and in the dark.

Again, quick call to control and we were authorised to set down at Bamford and drop him off. Still arrived 1 early at Dore!

If you have the right traincrew and controller it is perfectly easy. They know me and they know I don't ask for things that would cause undue delay or disruption so if I do ask there is a good chance they'll say yes.
 

Djgr

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Stops away from stations - for passengers or even water supplies - weren't that uncommon in rural areas and were shown in working timetables. However I am sure the stop to set down I experienced on the Alston branch one afternoon in the 70s wasn't timetabled!
I can also vouch for the Alston branch, although I believe it was at least semi-official!
 

Shimbleshanks

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The Gatwick Express (when it was a proper express) used to occasionally call at Selhurst for train crew "set downs" , until the day the General Manager of the Southern happened to be on board...
Unadvertised stops at Selhurst for train crew still happen to this day on Victoria-East Croydon services...
 

Journeyman

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Whitrope Sidings on the Waverley Line never had a station but set downs and pickups for those that lived in nearby cottages were common. Whitrope was (presumably erroneously) listed as a station on the official closure poster.
 

APT618S

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In the 1980s I have seen a couple of mainline passenger trains stop on the Up Fast adjacent to Tyne Yard and drop off train crew.
 

WesternLancer

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This image cropped up recently on Facebook - look at the Note for train 1982 at the bottom...
Do you think you had to prove you were a wife :lol:

On an old thread I read something about trains sometimes making unadvertised stops on request, in locations where there were no stations.

I can't imagine that this still happens but was this a common practice? I've heard stories of unscheduled stops for crofters children, shooting parties, estate workers etc in various places in the Highlands, but they're mostly anecdotal and there's little in the way of evidence I can find. Most of the accounts are from the 60s at the latest too.
I recall reading drivers carried on stopping at Duncraig when asked to do so after closure - and this led to re-opening - seems to be ref'd on wikipedia when I look.

The station was built as a private station for Duncraig Castle[4] by the Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway) opening on 2 November 1897.[5]
It became a public station in 1949. Duncraig was closed between 7 December 1964 and 5 January 1976;[2] it was reopened after local train drivers refused to acknowledge the station's closure for the intervening 11 years.
[6]
 

Sprinter107

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I can also vouch for the Alston branch, although I believe it was at least semi-official!
There is a pic on the dusused stations site of a woman at trackside on the Alston branch, either just about to get on or off a Metro Cammell dmu. She's standing at the side of the track
 
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An overseas example, from Timetable no. 162 of the South African Railways dated 7th December 1964, on train no. 189 8.30pm Johannesburg to Durban and train no. 34 11.20am Durban to Mooiriver:

'Stops on request at level crossing opposite Fernhill Farm Hotel (near Tweedie)'
Request stops at level crossings (and sometimes in other places) were common for railcar services on the County Donegal and parts of the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) and Dundalk, Newry & Greenore too.
 

Ianno87

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This image cropped up recently on Facebook - look at the Note for train 1982 at the bottom...

I see why "the railway" is traditionally stuck in the "run by men" mindset....

When I was commuting to London some time ago I was headed to Bletchley via an MKC doubleback (I tended to get an MKC season so that was legit) due to disruption, I suspect on the then 1813 off Euston, though heavily delayed. It stopped unannounced at Bletchley and the doors were released, so I got off and saved 20 minutes or so :) I believe the stop was for crew relief due to the delay, and it wasn't advertised or on the PIS - I'm not quite sure why the doors were released, possibly the outgoing guard just did it without thinking, but it was useful :)

Of course "back in the day" of no central locking you had the old adage of "Sir, this train doesn't stop here"/"It's OK, I didn't just get on" :) Drivers I believe made considerable effort to coast very slowly up to red signals to avoid an actual stop.

I've seen trains stop at Cambridge North in error (When not booked to), doors released and passengers board. I waited for the booked call a few minutes behind, and a much bigger choice of seats as a result....
 

Journeyman

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Blake Hall station, on the Epping to Ongar branch, was even less busy than the other stations, and closed in 1982, twelve years before the rest of the line. For some time afterwards, drivers would still stop for pick up and set down. When management got wind of this, the platform was demolished to stop it from happening.

For a while, Blake Hall held the record for being the least-used station on any metro system in the world.
 

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About 1981 a blizzard hit the west of England one weekend: as the roads were blocked the Up sleepers stopped at the signal box where I worked to drop me off. The box should have been closed until midday and the roads might have been cleared sufficiently by then for me to get in, but Control decided to keep the box open continuously. The lift was authorised as there was no chance of the roads being cleared in time for me to get in and relieve the night man at 06.00.

On one occasion I had to stop Up and Down Class 1s by signal as Control had decided that the train crews needed to change over there. Quite why they had to change at a country signal box I never discovered.
 

Cheshire Scot

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Back in the 80's 90's it was not uncommon for an up local bound for Buxton/Stoke/Crewe etc to stop at Longsight Staff Platform to drop off a driver - presumably to the pick up an ECS for Piccadilly. This of course required the train to be on the up fast (which routinely a train out of the shed would be but may on occasions have required some signaller co-operation). I have no idea if this was 'official' in respect of being authorised by Control e.g. Staff Minibus running late or not running, or just an arrangement made between drivers.
I don't however recall any stops on the down slow to pick up in the other direction.
 

Class800

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If we are including calls at actual stations that weren't originally intended, I have plenty of examples - e.g. a delayed Glasgow to Euston that made additional calls - I think it was Penrith North Lakes and Rugby (at least - can't remember what happened vs what was being discussed - the Train Manager was sorting out extra calls for whoever needed them as it was pretty much last train of night and everything was running out of sequence, I think we didn't take Crewe in the end, as he radio'd another Virgin train (it was in those days) that was following close behind that was taking Crewe, and arranged a passenger to be transferred from ours to theirs. The Rugby one was to return a young girl up the line if I recall - she'd got on in wrong direction or something. Too long ago to recall details.

But I think the thread is mainly about calls at places other than stations.

Apart from my Carlton in Lindrick 'sidings' pick up stories, I have heard in the past of many of the 'remote' Scottish lines dropping at least some well known regulars off at specific points, such as at the bottom of a particular loch!
 

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Overseas again, I seem to remember reading some years ago that VIA Rail specifically advertised that on some of their routes through the wilder parts of Canada you could arrange to be dropped off or picked up, with your canoe if appropriate, at locations other than stations. I remember seeing some people disembarking in this way on my Canadian train trip in 1990 (they didn't have canoes, but were met by someone in a boat). However I don't see this option on their website now, although that isn't to say that it doesn't happen unofficially. On a more recent trip to North America, when my Amtrak train broke down a few miles outside Seattle some people with a cruise ship to catch were transferred to a taxi on the adjacent road.
 

MotCO

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Blake Hall station, on the Epping to Ongar branch, was even less busy than the other stations, and closed in 1982, twelve years before the rest of the line. For some time afterwards, drivers would still stop for pick up and set down. When management got wind of this, the platform was demolished to stop it from happening.

For a while, Blake Hall held the record for being the least-used station on any metro system in the world.

Wasn't the nearest building to Blake Hall Station the next station down the line?

Was once on a late running (75 mins +) WCML service from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston which got authorisation to make an unscheduled call at Wembley Central to allow numerous passengers (attending a sporting event at Wembley Stadium) to alight.

They would otherwise all have missed the kick off had the service non-stopped to Euston.

Undoubtedly a good call as it would have avoided a raft of complaints and delayed journey claims.

Who would have initiated this? Would the train driver or train manager be aware of the implications of the delay so decided to drop passengers off, or would control have asked for this? Can a driver unilaterally make an unscheduled stop, or would this result in a tea without biscuits meeting?
 

Mcr Warrior

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Who would have initiated this? Would the train driver or train manager be aware of the implications of the delay so decided to drop passengers off, or would control have asked for this? Can a driver unilaterally make an unscheduled stop, or would this result in a tea without biscuits meeting?
Imagine that the train manager would have initiated this, probably would have been asked by numerous passengers as the train got increasingly delayed.

He did announce (to loud cheers) after passing Watford Junction that he'd managed to obtain special permission from control for the unscheduled stop at Wembley Central.
 

Taunton

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Overseas again, I seem to remember reading some years ago that VIA Rail specifically advertised that on some of their routes through the wilder parts of Canada you could arrange to be dropped off or picked up, with your canoe if appropriate, at locations other than stations.
Alan Whicker, longtime BBC TV travel journalist in the 1960s, discovered that the Alaska Railroad had the same approach on the Anchorage-Fairbanks train, and actually went into the wilds with his film crew and did so. Uncertain how to flag it, it was quite a scene, main line train, 3 x F-units and about 8 secondhand streamlined cars, the locos whistled and rolled past him, came to a halt with the conductor hanging out of the last car to see they all got on board.
 
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