What is the largest town in the UK that has a heritage railway station, but not a station on the national rail network?

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778

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I am sure that the largest town without a railway station has been dealt with on this forum, but what is the largest town in the UK that has a heritage railway station, but is without a station on the national rail network?

I think it could be Rawstanstall (population 22,000) on the East Lancs Railway. Bury (population 80,000) also on the East Lancs Railway, does not have a station on the national rail network, but does have a metrolink station, so I am not sure that should count.

Does anyone on here, know of any others?
 
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AlterEgo

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Derry is the largest city in the UK with no National Rail station, and a heritage railway station. The Foyle Valley Railway is well worth a visit.

I claim my £5 8-)
 

Steddenm

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Derry is the largest city in the UK with no National Rail station, and a heritage railway station. The Foyle Valley Railway is well worth a visit.

I claim my £5 8-)
Derry has a national rail station as part of Translink Northern Ireland Railways with services to Belfast and Newry.

1584289745328.jpg
image shows the platforms at Derry - Londonderry railway station in Northern Ireland with two CAF DMUs.
 

AlterEgo

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National Rail does not operate in Northern Ireland. I am correct. 8-)

It does have a public railway of course, NIR, but that wasn’t what was asked!
 
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We had a thorough discussion of this last summer in the Other Railways & Nostalgia section under "Largest town to have NEVER had a railway service".

To define a 'town' I used the following criteria:
I have a copy of Bartholomew's Survey Gazetteer 9th Edition which has Great Britain 1931 Census/official estimate populations. It lists what then was county boroughs, municipal boroughs, metropolitan boroughs and urban districts in England & Wales and cities & burghs in Scotland. This was (probably?) at the peak of the passenger railway network.

At first this brought up the following suggestions from other members:

Canvey Island 7,000,
West Bridgford 23,000
Chadderton 30,270
Shaftesbury 3,093
Arnold 19,000

Then fellow member JohnGriffiths suggested Houghton-le-Spring.
Looking in my Gazetter it had a population of 30,241 in 1931 Census.
It pips Chadderton because Middleton Junction was just within the Chadderton Urban District boundary.

So althrough you are looking at towns with a heritage railway, I SUGGEST THAT HOUGHTON-LE-SPRING IS THE LARGEST TOWN NEVER TO HAVE HAD A PASSENGER RAILWAY STATION.
 
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61653 HTAFC

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By definition if a town has a heritage railway station it must have had what we now call a National Rail station in the past. The discussion of the largest place that never had one is entirely separate.

Without looking up the populations (and just going with my gut) the ones that spring to mind would be Bridgnorth, Minehead, and Pickering which are all somewhere in the vicinity of 10k.
 

61058

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Hythe ,Kent 14520 population 2011.The mainline station closed in 1951
but the RHDR station is still there since 1927.
 

A0wen

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Rushden, Northants - population (according to Wikipedia) 29,272 in 2011 census and there's been a chunk of housebuilding since then.
 

30907

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Rushden, Northants - population (according to Wikipedia) 29,272 in 2011 census and there's been a chunk of housebuilding since then.
Beats Rawtenstall, but I didn't know it had a heritage railway.

Rawtenstall is the clear winner so far, and Ramsbottom isn't far short at 18k.

BTW Swanage is in the 11k with Minehead etc mentioned upthread.
 

Cowley

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If Leek gets reconnected to the Churnet Valley railway that’ll be quite far up the list with a population of nearly 21k.
 

Chorley Cake

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Heywood, where I live ? Population of 28,205 on Wikipedia. At the other end of the ELR from Rawtenstall.

Must be the worst connected of all Manchester satellite towns as no tram or national rail.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Heywood, where I live ? Population of 28,205 on Wikipedia. At the other end of the ELR from Rawtenstall.

Must be the worst connected of all Manchester satellite towns as no tram or national rail.

Bury Bolton Street?
 

AM9

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National Rail does not operate in Northern Ireland. I am correct. 8-)

It does have a public railway of course, NIR, but that wasn’t what was asked!
The OP's question was really poorly constructed for any sensible response. It should have said the largest town in Great Britain, rather than including a nation that couldn't meet the criteria.
 

bramling

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The OP's question was really poorly constructed for any sensible response. It should have said the largest town in Great Britain, rather than including a nation that couldn't meet the criteria.

Depends if one counts NIR as part of the national rail network. The answer to that would appear to depend on whether you write national rail or National Rail!

It’s a bit of a point of pedantry though, and shouldn’t devalue what is an interesting subject.
 

Grumbler

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Dereham on the Mid-Norfolk Railway had a population of 18,609 ten years ago but has expanded since.
 

AM9

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Depends if one counts NIR as part of the national rail network. The answer to that would appear to depend on whether you write national rail or National Rail!

It’s a bit of a point of pedantry though, and shouldn’t devalue what is an interesting subject.
I agree, but it was a pedantic argument that was brought up on the Derry station suggestion. I was pointing out that the original question, although interesting, was effectively creating a contradiction if the term "the national rail network" (note the use of lower case) doesn't allow the rail network in the nation of Northern Ireland to count. Even 'mainland Britain' would have been better than UK, - unless the aim was to catch somebody out of course!
 
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willgreen

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By definition if a town has a heritage railway station it must have had what we now call a National Rail station in the past.
Not necessarily! Some heritage railways are built on the trackbed of industrial lines - the Tanfield Railway for one (though admittedly these are the exception to the rule).
 
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Oswestry 17k

Not the largest town with a heritage station but no mainline station, but a chunky enough town nevertheless.
 
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